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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 9, 2001

9 April 2001
Speaker Backs NTV
Speaker Farid Mukhametshin told IMA-press that he supports NTV journalists because he wants to defend his own civil rights at a time when "freedom of speech and democracy are under threat."

Deputy Envoy Says Moscow Turning Away from Federalism
Mikhail Stolyarov, Tatarstan's first deputy representative to the Russian Federation, said that Moscow is turning ever more away from the federal principles of the constitution, "Respublika Tatarstan" reported on 7 April. He was especially critical of the Russian government's growing propensity to violate power-sharing treaties.

Parliamentary Reform Plan Announced
State Council secretary Valentina Lipuzhina announced that the commission on parliamentary reform is proposing a bicameral legislature in the republic, news agencies reported on 6 April. She noted that there is an alternative proposal for a unicameral legislature that has been offered by deputy Aleksandr Shtanin. In other comments, she said that harmonization had exhausted itself "morally and psychologically" because many of Tatarstan's laws are more progressive than Moscow's.

Chernobyl Disaster Victims Move to New Apartments
The cabinet on 6 April said that 21 invalids who had been involved in the Chernobyl cleanup have been given new housing and that 175 more are waiting for it. Some 600 Tatarstan residents participated in the cleanup.

Opposition Weekly Editor Fined
A Kazan court has fined "Novaya Vecherka" editor Igor Durmanov 2,000 rubles ($70) for violating electoral laws, "Zvezda Povolzhya� reported on 5 April.

Consumers Unhappy with Tattransgaz Initiatives
The state consumers rights committee called on the Gazprom republic branch Tattransgaz to revise changes in its payments system because they violate consumer rights, "Vechernaya Kazan" reported on 7 April.

Common Economic Space Slows Decision-Making
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Kogogin on 6 April told that Tatarstan had faced delays in decision making after joining the common economic space in Russia and that this was having an adverse effect on the republic's economy.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Calls for Support of Putin�
In his annual message to parliament, President Murtaza Rakhimov on 7 April called on the deputies to support the ideas of President Vladimir Putin for restructuring the economy. At the same time, Rakhimov said that the inclusion of the power-sharing treaty between Ufa and Moscow into the republic constitution was very important for the harmonization process.

�Meets Belarusian Diplomat
Rakhimov on 6 April met with the head of the Belarusian Embassy department in Ufa Aleksei Spizharny to discuss trade and economic cooperation, the presidential press service reported.

Ufa, Chelyabinsk Sign Cooperation Protocol
Officials from Bashkortostan and Chelyabinsk oblast signed a cooperation agreement on copper extraction and processing, Ural-press reported on 6 April. Under its terms, Bashkortostan will increase deliveries of copper ore to Chelyabinsk in exchange for tax breaks from the oblast.

Switzerland Funds Environmental Projects in Urals
Anvar Ayupov, the head of the Worldwide Wild Nature Fund in Urals, told on 6 April that the Swiss government has allotted $350,000 for the creation of the national natural park Qryqty and four reservations in Bashkortostan.

Mounting Wage Arrears Worry Unions
At a republic conference in Ufa, trade unions announced that they would seek to eliminate wage arrears and otherwise defend workers' rights, Bashinform reported. At the same time, the unions represented expressed their support for republic President Murtaza Rakhimov.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova