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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 3, 2001

3 October 2001
Federal Prosecutor Files Suit Against Tatarstan's Constitution
Tatarstan's Supreme Court in its session on 2 October was expected to consider a suit by Volga federal district's prosecutor, Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, challenging a number of provisions in the republic's constitution that allegedly contradict Russian laws, "Vechernaya Kazan" reported. Earlier this year the State Council and the Supreme Court of Tatarstan Republic turned down a similar protest explaining that Zvyaginstev had no commissions for enforcing the constitutional amendments. Recently the Russian Supreme Court upheld the prosecutor's claims by obliging its subordinates in the republic to consider the case.

Some 3,500 TR Recruits To Join Army
The Military Commissioner's Office in Tatarstan announced on 2 October that about 3,500 recruits are to be drafted from within the republic this fall, pledging that no first-year recruits would be sent to serve in Chechnya. According to an official statement, only servicemen with more than six months of army experience can be sent to the breakaway republic -- and only after having handed in a written voluntary application. Some 742 recruits are currently avoiding the draft in Tatarstan.

Federal Treasury Expenditures Equal Its Incomes In TR
The Federal Treasury Office branch in the Tatarstan Republic collected 12.6 billion rubles ($428 million) in revenues during the first nine months of 2001, while its expenditures within the same period reached 11.8 billion ($401 million). Expenditures reportedly consisted of allotments for federal organizations in the republic, federal programs on agriculture development, and the maintenance of roads. Some 750 million rubles ($25 million) was reportedly spent on recreating the historical center of Kazan and 142 million [$4.8 million] for subway construction in the capital.

American Diplomats Meet Tatar Officials
Two officials from the US Department of State's Russian Affairs Department, Peter Mizell and Kelly Kivler, met the chief of Tatarstan's Trade-Industrial Chamber Shamil Ageev on 2 October to discuss potential areas of business for American investors in the republic, Tatarinform reported. They also met an adviser to State Council Chairman Gulnara Shaykhutdinova and Deputy Marat Galeev to hear about the current situation regarding harmonization of the republic's laws with Russian ones and the future transition to Latin-based Tatar script.

Tatarstan's Industries Listed Among Russia's Most Influential Producers
Six industrial companies from Tatarstan were among the top 100 of Russia's most influential producers published by AK&M agency on 2 October. Tatneft oil company occupied 12th position in the rating chart; Tuben Kama Chemical Company was in 20th position; KamAZ trucks concern was 28th; Tatenergo heat and power company 32nd; Kazan Organic Synthesis Plant 38th; and Tuben Kama Tires Plant was 63rd. The list was topped by Gazrom, Russia's United Energy Systems, LukOil, Yukos, and Norilsky Nikel.

UNESCO Peace Culture Institute To Open Branch In Bauli
The Peace Culture Institute will launch its representation in the Bauli region of TR this week as a part of a UNESCO program called "On The Path To Culture Of Peace." The opening activities would involve seminars on the nature of conflicts and peacemaking.

Tatneft Gradually Gains Output
Over 2 million tons of oil was extracted by Tatneft oil company in September 2001, reported. By October the company's output for the year had reached 18.4 million tons, roughly 500,000 tons more than the previous year's figure for the same period.

Kazan Motors Plant To Work For Aircraft Industry Again
The Kazan Motors Plant is working on a new engine for equipping the Tu-324 and Yak-38 aircraft, "Respublika Tatarstan" reported on 2 October. Meanwhile the plant will also maintain the production of compressor installations for natural-gas-extracting companies in Siberia, which are expected to order them for the next 20 years.

Tatar Farmers Revive Ancient Traditions
Farmers of the Baltach and Archa regions of TR revived the ancient tradition of donating 10 percent of their harvest to mosques and Moslem schools this year, reported on 2 October.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Federal Inspector Speaks Out On Media Freedoms In Bashkortostan
"Noviye Lyudi" (New People) newspaper was established in the Volga federal district to cover events in Bashkortostan, RFE/RL reported from Ufa on 2 October. The paper will be distributed only inside the republic. In his first interview with the paper, Chief Federal Inspector Rustem Khamitov complained that local press and TV "seemed to be prohibited from interviewing him or letting him join live TV programs, so that his speeches cannot be cut." The federal inspector noted that he didn't approve the employment policy of Bashkortostan's authorities, arguing that "representatives of Turkic ethnic groups dominated the highest posts in the government." Nevertheless, in Khamitov's words, "official status given to the Bashkir language in BR is a positive way to preserve it."

Government To Introduce More Realistic Housing-Services Tariffs
Bashkortostan's Cabinet of Ministers said that the republic's residents will have to cover 75 percent of the cost of housing services in 2002 instead of the current 50 percent, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 2 October. The cabinet also pledged that housing services would not exceed 25 percent of an average family's income.

Tatar Cultural Autonomy Denied Registration In BR
Zahir Khakimov, president of the Tatar national-cultural autonomy in Bashkortostan, said in an interview with RFE/RL on 2 October that his organization had for two years been denied registration by justice authorities in Bashkortostan, despite the fact that the Kirov District court of Ufa issued a ruling on satisfying its request.

Draft Official Says Recruits' Health Deteriorates With Every Year
Some 6,500 recruits will be sent for Russian Army service from Bashkortostan this fall, Chief Military Commission Rim Musin said on 2 October. Musin added that "although the number of recruits is increasing every year, their health condition is constantly deteriorating."

Bashkir Scholar Makes Controversial Statement On Ethnic Content Of Republic's Government
Ildar Gabderafikov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 1 October that he "disagreed with some of the Russian media accusations against Bashkortostan which said that there was an ethnocratic regime in the republic." Gabderafikov conceded that while Bashkirs represents only 22 percent of the population -- versus Tatars' 30 percent and Russians' 40 percent -- Bashkirs occupy 60 percent of the official posts in BR and the remaining 40 percent of posts are divided equally between Tatars and Russians. "But," he said, "for calling it an ethnocratic regime there [must] be an official policy to protect the domination of some single ethnic group over the others."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi