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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 29, 2002

29 November 2002
Shaimiev Denounces Cyrillic-Only Bill...
Speaking at the 28 November session of Tatarstan's State Council, President Mintimer Shaimiev said that the draft amendment to the law on Russia's peoples languages "violated the principle of dividing the fields of jurisdiction between the regions and the federal center," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The State Duma and the Federation Council have passed the amendment introducing the mandatory use of Cyrillic script for the state languages of all republics (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 November 2002).

Shaimiev added, "It is unlikely that someone would question that the language is, at a minimum, a subject of joint jurisdiction and because of this such a law must be adopted cooperatively, taking into consideration the republics' opinion." Shaimiev also noted that this case could also have some effect "on other issues lying in the joint jurisdiction of the regions and the federal center."

...As Does Parliamentary Commission Chairman
State Council Committee on Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues Chairman Razil Weliev told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin "still has time to reject the script amendment...but knowing the attitude to non-Russian peoples in Russia, there is little of hope that he will do so. If Putin endorses the draft, we may appeal to the Russian Constitutional Court and later to the international court [on human rights.]"

Tatar Parliament Passes Draft Budget In First Reading
The State Council passed the draft republican budget for 2003 in the first reading on 28 November, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The draft expects that average monthly incomes (including salaries, pensions, and other social subventions) will increase by 20.4 percent and reach an average of 3,603 rubles ($113). An average working person will reportedly earn 4,650 rubles per month, which is 19 percent higher than in 2002. Meanwhile the annual inflation rate is expected to be 11 percent.

Tatar Finance Minister Radik Gyizzetullin told the parliament that republic-level budget will take 77 percent of Tatarstan's total budget, although the previous plan set that number at 68 percent, with the rest designated for local budgets. The State Council is to enter its amendments to the draft budget by 10 December, after which the budget will be discussed in its second reading.

Researchers Gather In Kazan For Discussing Russian Federalism
Tatar presidential advisor on political issues Rafail Khekimov told an interregional conference devoted to federal relations in Russia and its division into federal districts involving political-science experts from Tatarstan, Moscow, Nizhnii Novgorod, Samara, and Izhevsk on 28 November that "Russia will inevitably choose the path of federalism for its development. In the current complicated period when federal relations are put to the test, many researchers think that Tatarstan should stand not only for its position in this issue but also for federalism in Russia as a whole."

Last Member Of 1999 Sabotage Group Given 15 Years In Prison
On 28 November, Tatarstan's Supreme Court sentenced Ramazan Ishkildin -- the alleged leader of the sabotage group responsible for several explosions at the Perm-Nizhnii Novgorod sector of the transnational Urengoi-Pomari-Uzhgorod gas pipeline in the Quqmara region, Tatarstan, on 1 December 1999 -- to 15 years in prison, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 23 July, 12 November 2002). Ishkildin received the longest sentence of the convicted members of the group.

KamAZ Shareholders To Gather For An Extraordinary Meeting
The KamAZ automotive concern announced on 28 November that the company will hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on 17 January 2003 in Chally. The meeting was reportedly initiated by Russia's Vneshtorgbank, which owns 19.59 percent of KamAZ shares and will push for the re-election of its board of directors. Vneshtorgbank will reportedly seek the introduction of its new representatives to the board, because its former representatives have already been withdrawn from the bank's staff.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi