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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 23, 2002

23 December 2002
Tatar Parliament In Session...
Tatarstan's State Council began a plenary session on 23 December to consider the protest of Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev regarding the 2002 edit of Tatarstan's Constitution, draft laws on privatization, the management of state property, a government's report on the implementation of the law on "Tatarstan's peoples' languages," and the state program for preserving, studying, and developing these languages, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today.

...As Deputies Suggest Expanding Budget Expenses...
Besides the aforementioned items on the State Council's agenda for 23 December, the deputies will also discuss the draft republican budget in the second reading, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. After discussing the draft for the first time, deputies have made some 250 suggestions regarding the document, most of which request an increase in budget expenses. However, this request is likely to be ignored by the government, because the current draft already stipulates a 9.7 percent deficit, while according to Russian law, the maximum possible budget gap allowed for the regions is 10 percent. The republican budget reportedly lists 36.65 billion rubles ($1.15 billion) of expected income in 2003, while expenses are budgeted for 39 billion ($1.22 billion), which is a result of this year's redistribution of tax revenues giving 54 percent to Moscow and 46 percent to Kazan.

...And Question The Prosecutors' Commissions Regarding Constitutional Affairs
Speaking with on 23 December, State Council chairman Farid Mukhametshin said that the Tatar parliament "was unable to issue a final verdict on the protest" of the Russian deputy prosecutor-general regarding the alleged contradictions between the republican and federal constitutions "before the Russian and Tatar Constitutional Courts issue their rulings on this matter." He added that there was a possibility that parliament would end its current session, postponing the deliberations on the protest until the next session, because the Russian Constitutional Court would begin considering the appeal by Tatarstan's deputies questioning the powers of the federal prosecutors to demand the abolition of articles within the constitutions of Russia's entities only in January. In their appeal, State Council deputies insisted that only the constitutional courts of Russia and Tatarstan are eligible to consider the lawfulness of constitutional provisions, while the regular proceedings of the Russian Prosecutor-General's office included appeals to the supreme courts of Tatarstan and Russia, which are the courts of common jurisdiction.

KamAZ Accredited As An Official Supplier To The UN
KamAZ automotive concern was accredited as an official supplier to the United Nations, the concern's press service reported on 20 December citing recent talks between UN transportation officials and representatives of Russia's major truck producer. The accreditation will allow KamAZ to take part in the UN-run tenders without interference of any governmental bodies or mediators. Andrei Surnichenko, KamAZ's deputy general director in charge for special projects, said that "it was both a great honor and great responsibility" for his company, admitting that the new duties will bring the issue of quality of KamAZ products "to a brand new level."

POZIS Factory To Cooperate With Major Military Russian Aircraft Maker
The POZIS ammo factory of Yeshel Uzen, Tatarstan, signed a cooperation agreement on 20 December with the Russian State Aviation Military-Industrial Complex Sukhoi (AVPK Sukhoi), the major military aircraft producer in Russia, famous for its Su series, to supply POZIS squibs for use with Sukhoi's ejection systems, Tatnews reported the same day. The Yeshel Uzen plant remains the only manufacturer of such products in the CIS.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

The RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir reports will not be published from 24-26 December but will return on 27 December.
Monitoring Committee Says Shady Bookkeeping Cases On The Rise
The Bashkir State Monitoring Committee has returned 500 million rubles ($15.7 million) -- about 10 percent more than in 2001 -- to budgetary and nonbudgetary funds as a result of 911 audits performed in the republic in 2002, committee Chairman Petr Bobylev told the committee's annual meeting on 20 December, Bashinform reported the same day. Committee officials revealed that in total 900 million rubles allocated by the republican budget was used improperly. Bobylev said the number of cases in which budgetary funds were misused decreased by 50 percent in comparison with the previous year, while violations of the republican law on fighting corruption increased by 50 percent, and cases of embezzlement doubled. Bobylev also said that the amount of money in state institutions on which taxes were not paid increased sixfold. As a result of the audits, 165 heads of executive bodies, companies, and institutions were dismissed, Bobylev added.

Four In Ten Companies Unprofitable
About 40 percent of republican companies lost money in 2002, which was about 3.3 percent less than the Russian average, RosBalt reported on 20 December, citing the Cabinet of Ministers press service. In particular, losses in the republic's construction sector doubled to 519 million rubles in comparison with 2001. About 40 percent of construction-materials companies and 60 percent of woodworking firms were also loss-making.

Independent Tatar Newspaper Gets A Fresh Start
Bashkortostan's independent Tatar-language newspaper "Idel-Ural" has published its first issue in more than two years, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 December. The issue was printed in Kazan with a circulation of 3,000 issues. The paper originally stopped publishing for financial reasons but has been restarted with the sponsorship of Tatar businessmen. The editor in chief of the paper, Qederle Imametdinov, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 20 December that the paper will write about the lives and problems of Bashkortostan's Tatars and will promote their spiritual revival. He also said that in the republic's official Tatar newspapers, "Qyzyl tang" and "Omet," reporting about the Tatar civic movement in Bashkortostan or even using the word "Tatar" are forbidden.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova