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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 17, 2001

17 January 2001
Tatarstan Court Say District Official Violates Russian Constitution
Tatarstan's Constitutional Court on 16 January sharply criticized the activity of the Russian Deputy General Prosecutor in charge of the Volga Federal District, Nizhny Novgorod telegraph agency reported. In an official statement, the court said that he had illegitimately appealed to the republic Supreme Court concerning several sections of the republic constitution. The court noted that Article 125 of the Russian Constitution and the third paragraph of the federal law on the Russian Constitutional Court prohibit such actions. The Kazan Court commented that "the order of contesting the Tatarstan Constitution chosen by the federal official undermines principles of constitutional legality in the Russian Federation [and] violates principles of Russian federative state and constiutional system of Tatarstan."

Iranian Firms Seek Cooperation with Tatarstan
An Iranian delegation on 16 January met with Tatarstan Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Kogogin to discuss the possibility of joint construction projects, Tatar media reported. Russian State Construction Committee chairman Anvar Shamuzafarov accompanies the Iranians during their four-day visit. The delegation also discussed preparations for an official visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Tatarstan.

Man Behind Explosion Surrenders
The man who had owned the explosives which killed two people in Kazan on 16 January surrendered to police. He said he had found the explosives and asked his wife to keep them safe. The republic's interior officials said that the man, who had been released from prison three years ago, stands accused of illegal possession of explosives and that they are considering other charges as well.

By Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Firms Among Largest in Volga District, Russia
Bashcreditbank has tenth largest capital reserves and sixth largest profit rating among Russia's major banks, Bashinform reported on 16 January. Meanwhile, the Bashkir Fuel Company tops the Volga Federal District companies with sales of 58 billion rubles ($2 billion). And the Ufa engine plant is seventeenth on that list with sales of 3.7 billion rubles ($130 million).

New Justice Minister Nominated
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 15 January named Yuri Spele, 31, republic Justice Minister, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service reported. He had been a judicial department chief at the Real Estate Bureau.

TPC Concerned about Tatar Language
A 15 January board meeting of Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center concluded that the state of Tatar language use in the republic is unsatisfactory and resolved to sue media and educational outlets to force them to use more Tatar, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service reported. TPC members are slated to hold a joint meeting with the educational commission of the Bashkortostan Tatars Congress to discuss making a common effort in this regard.

Ministry Sponsors Charity for Sick Children
Bashkortostan's Healthcare Ministry attracted some 5 million rubles and some 1 million rubles worth of valuables in its capacity of sponsor of various institutions which seek to help sick children, Bashinform reported on 16 January. The ministry conducted its charity action "Help an ill child" over the past six months.

By Gulnara Khasanova