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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 27, 2002

27 December 2002
Government: Much Is Yet To Be Done For A Bilingual Society In Tatarstan
Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva presented a report on the implementation of the law of Tatarstan's peoples' languages and a similar governmental program on 24 December, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

Welieva's report implied that the federal government is refusing to finance the teaching of Tatar in the republic's universities, and also that the local media has failed to maintain a balance between Russian and Tatar-language broadcasting. She said the Tatar government planned to use its own money to sponsor Tatar-language studies in higher education institutions and introduce tax breaks along with other forms of support to promote Tatar-language media. In response, the State Council officially asked the cabinet to prepare a list of amendments to a law adopted in 1992 and the government program from 1994 that aimed to boost the number of media outlets using Tatar.

KamAZ Worried About Negative Impact Of An Attack On Iraq
The managers of the KamAZ automotive concern are preparing for possible difficulties in exporting its trucks to the Middle East in early 2003 in the case that there would be military action in Iraq, Rosbalt reported on 26 December, citing Deputy-General Director Ildar Khalikov. After a long pause in trade, KamAZ trucks re-entered the Iraqi market in 2002 by selling 2,500 heavy trucks to Iraq within the framework of UN sanctions. Khalikov told the agency that while KamAZ "still hopes" that no attack on Iraq takes place, it is preparing to compensate for the possible loss in sales to Iraq by increasing sales to its traditional customers, Vietnam and Kazakhstan.

Government Wants More Secular Teaching At Islamic University
Tatarstan's governmental Commission on State and Religion Affairs recommended that the Kazan-based Islamic University upgrade its teaching staff by attracting more people with academic degrees and expanding the range of secular subjects in its program, reported on 25 December. The commission also called for closer interaction between Tatarstan's Education Ministry and its Muslim Religious Board in supplying the university with literature on nonreligious subjects.

Tatarstan's Air-Traffic Controllers Take Part In Nationwide Strike
Some 69 air-traffic controllers at airports in Tatarstan joined this week's nationwide hunger strike called by their trade unions, which ended on 25 December with a compromise agreement between the unions and the Russian Ministry of Transport, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Following the example of their colleagues, Tatar air-traffic controllers refused to eat, forcing doctors to restrict them from performing their jobs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Hunger-Striking Air-Traffic Controllers Reach Deal
Air-traffic controllers in Bashkortostan have stopped the hunger strike they began on 23 December, RosBalt reported on 25 December. Fourteen members of Bashaeronavigatsiya, the republic's air-traffic-control company, joined other air-traffic controllers across Russia in their hunger strike to protest low wages, Valentin Osadchenko, deputy chairman of Bashkortostan's Union of Air-Traffic Controllers, told RosBalt. The strikers were backing demands being made by the Federation of Unions of Air-Traffic Controllers for a 30 percent increase in wages and the dismissal of the heads of the state air-traffic-control organization. In addition, Bashkortostan's air-traffic controllers also demanded that Article 52 of the Air-Traffic Code, which prohibits air-traffic controllers from striking, be abolished.

Bashaeronavigatsiya Director Ivan Andreev said the hunger strike ended on 25 December when workers received word that the Russian Transport Ministry and the Federation of Unions of Air-Traffic Controllers had reached an agreement satisfying the strikers' demands. Under the agreement, employees at the state air-traffic-control organization will get a pay raise of 16 percent, while air-traffic controllers will get a 27 percent increase and will also maintain their social benefits.

The current average wage of the 140 air-traffic controllers at Bashaeronavigatsiya is 6,000-7,000 rubles ($188-$219) a month, while the average wage in the republic as a whole is 3,600 rubles a month.

Republic Selects Jurors, Gets Set For New System Of Jury Trials
Ildar Kanbekov, chairman of the Judges' Board on Criminal Cases of the Bashkir Supreme Court, told RosBalt on 26 December that the republic has randomly selected 24,000 potential jurors to hear jury trials set to begin in the republic next month. The new system of jury trials is being introduced in January in Bashkortostan and about a dozen other federation subjects, while another dozen subjects will begin jury trials in July, and others will begin the process in 2004.

Salavatnefteorgsintez Issues Bond
The Russian Securities Commission has registered a three-year bond issue from the petrochemical company Salavatnefteorgsintez with a value of 300 million rubles, Bashinform reported on 26 December. Zenit bank is handling the issuing of the bond, which is intended to raise funds to finance a project to increase production of styrene.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova