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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 31, 2001

31 January 2001
Shaimiev Responds to Seleznev�
In his interview with NTV on 30 January, President Mintimer Shaimiev responded to Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev's comment that "some regional leaders want to rule forever" by saying that "I think Gennady Seleznev is precisely the one who is in charge of the State Duma for life. Tatarstan's people and its voters are the ones who should decide who rules the republic."

�Takes Part in State Council Land Reform Discussion
Shaimiev then took part in the Russian State Council presidium discussion of land reform on 30 January. Before departing for Moscow, the Tatarstan leader said that he personally supports the idea of private property in land.

Tatarstan Takes Hard Line with Kiriyenko
Tatarstan harmonization commission co-chairman Marat Galeev said on 30 January that Tatarstan had taken a hard line in its negotiations with Russian Presidential Envoy Sergei Kirienko. He said that Tatar negotiators had insisted that "federal laws on power-sharing, organization of legislative and executive bodies of federation�s entities, liberty of conscience and religious unions do not take into consideration the federative nature of Russian Federation and infringed on the powers of Russian regions including TR." The negotiators also complained about protests by the Russian prosecutor general and the failure of Moscow to consult with Tatarstan's harmonization commission. The two sides did agree to submit their disagreements to the Duma, particularly their dispute on the format of new passports.

Three Killed By Minzele Chemical Plant Explosion
Three people died in an explosion at the Tatazot chemical plant in Minzele region of Tatarstan on 30 January.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Russian Prosecutor Praises Bashkir Harmonization Efforts
President Murtaza Rakhimov met visiting Russian deputy general prosecutor Alexander Zvyagintsev on 30 January. According to the presidential press service, the two discussed intensifying the struggle against crime and corruption and improving the efficiency of the Bashkir court system. They agreed that the process of forming a common legal space in Russia required joint efforts by the federation and its entities. Zvyagintsev praised the work of Bashkir legislators in this area and said that "the new relations between BR and the federal center already showed positive results."

Presidential Staff to Poll the Republic
The information and analysis section of the presidential staff is conducting a comprehensive poll on attitudes and interethnic relations over the last decade, Bashinform reported on 30 January.

Ufa Wants Regions to Regulate Land Ownership Questions
Ivan Khokhlov, the first deputy chairman of the Bashkortostan land resources committee, told on 30 January that a new land code should provide general rules within which the federation's subjects can make their own choices. He argued that there should be "no haste" in introducing private ownership of land, and he suggested that the free sale of land would only mean an increase in the amount of abandoned land.

Oil Dominates Bashkortostan's Exports
Eighty percent of Bashkortostan's export trade was in the petroleum sector, the foreign affairs and trade ministry announced on 30 January. Sales of machinery and transportation items actually fell during 2000, the ministry said.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi