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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 11, 2001

11 October 2001
Official Warns U.S. Against Sending Land Forces To Afghanistan
Timur Akulov, Tatarstan's Foreign Affairs Department chief, said, "U.S. land-troop operations would have low efficiency in Afghanistan. Significant losses will force Americans to stop the operation and try to defeat the Taliban via the forces of the Northern Alliance." He said America risks a return to a situation similar to the one it encountered in Vietnam.

Tatar Pilots To Stay In Pakistan
Azat Khakim, general director of Kazan's Tulpar airlines, told reporters that 56 of the company's pilots and air hostesses working in Karachi, Pakistan, will be evacuated if they appear to be in danger. Otherwise it would be premature to leave Pakistan, he stressed, where his company earns $500,000 per month, republican media reported on 10 October.

Nationalists Oppose U.S. Actions In Afghanistan
A Tatar Public Center statement distributed on 10 October opposes U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, suggesting that they "violated international law by striking Afghanistan before bin Laden's guilt is proved." TPC also decried America's support to Israel, urging that it should "call Israel to order in its relations with Palestinians." The nationalist TPC warned, "Afghanistan is impossible to conquer and the USA will not be an exception. Muslims will win."

S&P Raises Tatarstan's Credit Rating
Standard & Poor's international rating agency upgraded the Republic of Tatarstan's long-term hard-currency credit rating from "SD" [selective default] to "CCC+" for the first time since the financial crisis of August 1998, AK& reported on 10 October. The republic reportedly managed to restructure its $100 million foreign debt and paid the interest with the help of 700 million rubles [$23.8 million] worth of bonds. Tatarstan's state debt is currently about 2.68 billion rubles [$91.16 million].

Government Sued For Already Abolished Tax
Tatarstan's Supreme Court has put off its hearing of a suit filed by accountant Ramil Nurutdinov against the republic's government, republican media reported on 10 October. Nurutdinov claimed the republic's tax for a ramshackle-housing program introduced in 1996 violated federal laws by obliging taxpayers to fund the government's efforts to hand out free apartments to residents of rundown urban areas. The hearing was postponed due to the absence of a representative from Tatarstan's State Council, which endorsed the tax. According to previous reports in the Tatar media, the State Council recently replaced this tax with a "volunteer payment" following pressure from the federal prosecutor's office.

Tatarstan's Air-Traffic Controllers Abstain From Strike
The republic's air-traffic controllers declined to support a hunger strike by their counterparts in 42 Russian cities on 10 October, Tataraeronavigatsia company chief Yuri Kuzmin said on 10 October. He added that his subordinates "couldn't allow themselves such tough actions, because it concerned the safety of flights." Nevertheless Kuzmin conceded that strikers' demands were "understood" by Tatarstan's air-traffic controllers.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Says Restriction Of Republic's Sovereignty Threatens Russia's Integrity
President Murtaza Rakhimov says Bashkortostan's declaration of sovereignty is a document of "great historical importance" and the logical continuation of Russia's sovereignty declaration, according to an interview published in "Trud" on 10 October. He says that in the early 1990s there was a real threat of Russia's disintegration, adding that treaty-based relations have resulted in more efficient use of resources. Rakhimov says any discussion on the existence or non-existence of Bashkortostan's sovereignty is incorrect and the refusal to recognize sovereignty in fact threatens Russia's own integrity. He says the republic's leaders support the current course of strengthening the state, but he noted that the effort should not restrict regional powers. He stresses as well that harmonization must be a two-way street, as some regional legal acts are better developed than federal ones and federal laws sometimes contradict each other and the Russian Constitution. Federative Russia can be democratic only if federal entities preserve their statehood, he says.

Russian Official Greets Bashkortostan On Sovereignty Jubilee
Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko attended celebrations marking the 11th anniversary of Bashkortostan's sovereignty declaration on 10 October, Bashinform reported. She passed along greetings from President Vladimir Putin. Matvienko said that the "wise course of the republic's leaders resulted in good achievements." She praised the republic for its political and economic stability. Matvienko said the Russian government highly regards the efforts of Bashkortostan's authorities in the social and health sectors.

Bashkreditbank Officials Join Kuzbassugol Board
Four representatives of Bashkreditbank were elected members of Kuzbassugolbank's management board, Finmarket reported on 10 October. One of those representatives, Bashkreditbank Vice President Anatolii Abrosimov, said Bashkreditbank plans to maintain Kuzbassugolbank as an independent legal entity and turn two of its affiliates in Kemerovo Oblast into Kuzbassugol branches.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova