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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 11, 2001

11 September 2001
Roundtable Says Shaimiev Had No Opposition During The Vote...
CEC Deputy Chairman Minfayek Vafin and representatives of both federal and republican media in Tatarstan held a roundtable on "The role of mass media in election campaigns" on 10 September. Meeting discussed the recently published book called "Tatarstan's Choice," which contained the major share of media coverage of presidential elections of March 2001, including critical articles about president Shaimiev. Reporters and political scientists reached the conclusion that the result of elections were not as easily predictable as reported by the Moscow media. Nevertheless it was acknowledged that there was a problem because of the lack of any "real opposition" to president Mintimer Shaimiev's government.

...And Avoided Dirty Campaigning Tactics
RIA-Novosti correspondent Vladimir Shevchuk told the roundtable stated that Mintimer Shaimiev "avoided prepaid publications, although it was possible" and did not hire any public relations agencies. As a result, the campaign remained relatively clean.

Tatarstan's Parliament to Begin Drafting New Constitution
Tatarstan's State Council speaker told RIA-Novosti on 10 September that the next session of republican parliament would form a Constitutional Commission for elaborating the new draft of republic's fundamental law. He admitted, "correcting of the Constitution is a major issue on Tatarstan's political agenda." In Mukhametshin's words, deputies have not yet considered amendments to this document, because they worked on bringing minor legal acts in conformity with federal laws. He said that the Constitution article saying that Tatarstan was sovereign state, associated with Russian Federation came into existence after the referendum of March 1992 would be dropped.

New Oil Tax Affair Indicates Clash Of Moscow and Regions' Interests
Tatarinform on 10 September quoted oil industry experts of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan as saying that the new federal tax on oil extraction "had a financial impact" on their regions by making oil prospecting less profitable there. The new universal tax didn't meet the expectation of oil companies in the to republics because it didn't take into consideration the conditions of oil extraction and was based on the world oil prices. Previously representatives of Tatneft oil company and Tatarstan government had suggested that Moscow should impose different taxes on oil producers in different regions of Russia, based on geological peculiarities of each one. Meanwhile, "Finansovaya Rossia" wrote on 6 September that director of the Moscow Institute of Globalization Problems Mikhail Delyagin had said that federal government "intended to use the new tax for abating the separatist ambitions" of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

Heat Consumers Urged To Create Emergency Alternative Reserves of Fuel
Tatarstan's government, Tatenergo and Tatgazinvest companies are urging the major energy and heat consumers to complete preparations for the upcoming heating season and create reserves of alternative fuels for cases of extremely low temperatures, AK&M reported on 10 September. Kazan Department of Gorky Railroads, Karpov Chemical Plant and Kazan Compressor Plant, and the Krasny Vostok beer factory reportedly failed to fulfill this requirement so far.

Bangladesh Ambassador Visits Kazan
The new Ambassador of Bangladesh Republic to Russia Shardjyl Khasan met State Council chairman Fait Mukhametshin on 10 September and called for expanded cooperation between his country and Tatarstan, local media reported.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Government Discusses Five Year Economic Development Plan
A meeting of Bashkortostan�s Cabinet of Ministers on 10 September chaired by Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov discussed the draft federal program on republic�s social economic development till 2006. Economy Minister Valery Vlasov presented the draft elaborated according to the request of president Vladimir Putin and said that it aimed on �ensuring increasing life level of Bashkortostan�s residents and bringing the republic into the unified legal space of Russian Federation.� Baydavletov said told the meeting that the program needed further elaboration �for abolishing numerous ambiguities in the document.�

Moscow Names New National Bank Chairman
The Russian Central Bank issued a decree on replacing the head of Bashkortostan�s National Bank Mukhamet Sagitdinov with his former deputy Rustem Mardanov, AROMI reported on 10 September.

Expired Medicines Used For Treating Patients With Deadly Virus
The State Control Committee reported that doctors of Bashkortostan�s republican anti-AIDS Center used expired medicines for treating their patients, Bashinform reported on 10 September. Republican media suggested that this was the result of the dramatic rise in the number of HIV infected people, up some 30-50 a week.

Parliamentary Speaker Visits Penza Oblast
State Assembly speaker Konstantin Tolkachev visited Penza oblast on 7-8 September to take part in a meeting of legislative bodies heads from the Volga federal district, the presidential press service reported. He met Penza governor Vasily Bochkarev to discuss ways for expanding the cooperation.

Harvesting Nearly Completed
Grigory Gorobets, Minister of Agriculture said on 10 September that 2.5 million tons of grain [76% of the planned amount] have already been harvested in BR.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi