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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 24, 2001

24 July 2001
Minnikhanov Calls for Cutting Red Tape
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told his cabinet on 23 July that the government must reduce red tape and end the duplication of government activities. He said that the powers and responsibilities of each body at all levels must be clearly established as well.

Journalists Discuss Differences between Moscow, Republic Legal Codes
Representatives of Tatarstan's media, law experts and Journalist Union officials gathered on 23 July in Kazan to discuss differences between the charters of the republic's media outlets and the Russian Civil Code. Because all the outlets must now undergo re-registration, these differences create problems for all involved. Journalists' Union chairwoman Rimma Ratnikova noted that "Kazanskiye Vedomosti" had acted in ways violating the rights of its journalists.

Mediaunion Branches Merge
Tatarstan's regional branches of the national Mediaunion organization met on 23 July to elect a chairman and solve the problem of two existing union branches headed by the editors of Respublika Tatarstan and Vremya i Dengi papers Yevgeny Lisin and Yuri Alayev respectively. The meeting elected chief editor of major Tatar newspaper Tatarstan Yashlere Ismagil Sherefiyev the branch chairman. During the event attended by Mediasoyuz leaders Andrey Shamray and Vladimir Torin, three reporters Alexander Postnov [Rossiyckaya Gazeta, correspondent], Jaudat Aminov [Tatarstan State Radio, reporter] and Gennady Naumov [Kazanskoye Vremya weekly, chief editor] demonstratively walked out. Alayev and Lisin were appointed members of Mediaunion board in Tatarstan, together with the director of commercial Efir TV Andrey Grigoryev, Tatarstan State TV chairman Ilshat Aminov, Interfax agency reporter Sergey Fedotov.

Shaimiev Upbeat about Cooperation With Samara
President Mintimer Shaimiev met Samara governor Konstantin Titov on 21 July in Kazan to discuss plans to expand economic cooperation between the two regions. Tatarinform on 23 July quoted Shaimiev as saying that the ideas of social democratic party led by Titov "were not something alien to people of our republic."

Social Democrats Gather in Kazan
The Volga district branches of the Russian Social Democratic Party and Russian United Social-Democratic Party led by Samara governor Konstantin Titov and former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev respectively, held a joint conference in Kazan, Tatarinform reported on 23 July. This is the fourth regional conference of the two which plan to unite by November-December 2001.

Tatenergo Begins Paying Off Debts for Gas
Tatenergo will hand over 300 million rubles [$10 million] worth of Tatarstan's farms electricity dues to the state fund for gas networks development, Tatarinform reported on 23 July. This is part of the Tatenergo debt restructuring program to Tattransgas company, which is owed over 4 billion rubles for gas supplies. In order to prevent the growing dues of farms, Tatenergo plans to accept 50% of electricity payments in the form of agricultural products.

Tatneft Takes Over Hydrocarbon Producer
Tatneft will become a strategic investor of Transuglevodorod company, which is the major extractor, transporter and keeper of hydrocarbon in Tatarstan, State Radio reported on 23 July. Although 90% of Transuglevodorod's transportation pipelines are worn out, it is a constant raw material supplier to the chemical factories in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

Crime Rate Up 7.6 Percent in First Half of 2001
Interior Minister Asgat Safarov said on 23 July that the crime rate increased by 7,6% during the first half of 2001 to a total of 36,621 crimes. Safarov said that his ministry plans to solve the problem of staff shortages by "implementing automated information systems."

Shaimiev Leads Top Lobbyists Rating
The Russian Economic News Agency and Nezavisimaya Gazeta published a rating of political figures, acknowledged most successful in so-called "civilized lobbying" on 23 July. President Mintimer Shaimiev led the list of most efficient lobbyist among regional leaders, reportedly for managing to settle the financial issues with the federal government.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Environmental Situation Reported 'Stable' in Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan�s environmental services chiefs met in Beloretsk on 23 July to discuss environmental protection in industrial centers of Bashkortostan, reported. They agreed that conditions were stable but called for additional monitoring.

Rakhimov�s Weekend Trip
President Murtaza Rakhimov visited Chishme, Davletkan, and Ayurgazi, over the weekend, his press service reported on 23 July. He inspected a number of collective farms to check on preparations for harvesting and on the costs of consumer goods. He stressed that prices needed to be kept down.

Neftekamsk RR Station to be Rebuilt
The Neftekamsk city administration plans to reconstruct the local railroad station, which is reportedly about to be abandoned by the rail services. City officials told Bashinform on 23 July that they plan to establish regular train service between Moscow and Yekaterinburg after they purchase the necessary equipment.

Cabinet Administration Becomes Cabinet Staff
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 23 July issued a decree renaming the Administration of Bashkortostan�s Cabinet of Ministers the Cabinet of Ministers� Staff.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi