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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 16, 2001

16 October 2001
State Council Countersues Moscow
Tatarstan's State Council has appealed to the Russian Supreme Court against the decisions of a court commission on civil affairs in Tatarstan's Supreme Council, which declared a number of articles in the Tatar Constitution illegal, "Vremya i Dengi" daily reported on 16 October. That commission was adjudicating a suit by Russian Deputy General-Prosecutor Aleksandr Zvyagintsev. The State Council claimed that Tatarstan's supreme court didn't take into account Tatarstan's status as a state, declared in a federal constitution, and the power-sharing treaty signed by Moscow and Kazan in 1994.

Government Sticks To Low-End Oil-Price Forecast
The cabinet on 15 October agreed to lower the expected price of oil extracted in the republic by $2 per barrel for purposes of the 2002 draft budget. Some of Tatarstan's media suggested the same day that the relatively cheap price -- $20 per barrel -- will allow Kazan extra budget revenues if world oil prices are above the government's expectations.

Controversy Grows Around Tatneft Share Purchases
Senior managers at Tatarstan's major oil producer, Tatneft, may be involved in buying up their own company's shares, reported on 15 October, quoting internationally backed financial analysts. The agency reported a general decline in the combined stake owned by foreign investors and employees, while more than 10 percent of the shares were redistributed to unidentified owners.

Victor Gorodnii, Tatneft's deputy general director, reportedly explains the current process by saying that some unknown domestic investors are becoming more interested in Russian companies. He "advises" foreign investors to do the same. Nevertheless, cast doubt on Gorodnii's statement "because it's impossible for a company of such scale to remain unaware of who is accumulating its shares in such volumes."

Army Faces Problems With Recruitment In Tuben Kama
Ilshat Khalitov, chief military commissioner of Tuben Kama, told Efir-TV on 15 October that the draft "is about to be derailed because 90 of 470 future recruits didn't show up for medical examinations." He accused detectives in the Tuben Kama military of "failing to organize effective searches for the missing draftees," while militia chief Albert Khabibullin claimed that the military commissioner's office was ineffective. Meanwhile, some 1,500 young people are reported to be dodging the draft in Tatarstan.

New Center For Human Rights Protection Set Up
A group of volunteer experts in law and law-enforcement practices opened a Human Rights Protection Center in Kazan, Tatarinform reported on 15 October. The center is expected to provide free legal counseling and represent the interests of those who complain of infringements on their civil rights.

Industrial Output Grows by 7.1 Percent
Tatarstan's industrial sector increased output by 7.1 percent so far in 2001 compared to the previous year, the State Statistics Committee reported on 15 October. The increase is mostly fueled by developments in the machinery, oil-chemical, fuel, and construction-materials industries. Energy production dropped by 2.4 percent. Local vodka producers saw a more serious decline of 32.9 percent.

Tatenergo Sues Kazan To Retrieve Debt
Tatenergo announced on 15 October that it has lodged a suit with a Tatarstan arbitration court against Kazan's city administration for forcing the repayment of 151.7 million rubles [$5.16 million] owed for electricity and heating consumed by Kazan residents.

Tatarstan's Chemical Industry To Expand In Southeast Asia
Tuben Kama Oil Chemical Company presented its production at the International Oil and Gas fair in Shanghai, China, Tatarstan's media reported on 15 October. Company representatives said TKOCC got offers from potential partners in Southeast Asia.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov On Inspection Trips To Ufa, Karaidel Region
President Murtaza Rakhimov visited the construction sites of Bashkortostan's National Museum, city art gallery, and the future studios of the republic's state film company to discuss current problems with construction officials at each location, his press service reported on 15 October.

President Rakhimov on 13 October paid a visit to Bashkortostan's Karaidel Region for the opening of a new bridge over the Karaidel River and to stop in at a local school in the village of Karayar.

New Pro-Government Party Opens Branch In Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan's branch of the Narodniy Deputat movement has transformed itself into a branch of the Russian People's Party, Bashinform reported on 15 October. Leaders of the party, which has not reported membership figures in the republic, complained that "all the good mottoes were already taken by the Communists," adding that the new party "firmly approved of the course of President Vladimir Putin and Murtaza Rakhimov."

BR Maintains Close Cultural Ties With Chuvashia
"Days of Bashkir Literature" began in Cheboksari in the Chuvash Republic on 15 October within the framework of cultural ties between Chuvashia and Bashkortostan. The program includes exchange tours of national theaters and folk-song contests.

Militia To Help Cattle Breeders Prevent Theft
Bashkortostan's interior bodies launched Operation Block, aimed at preventing the theft and illegal sale of cattle in winter, Bashkir State Radio Reported on 15 October. A similar operation conducted earlier this year was credited by authorities with averting the theft of 1.1 million rubles [$37,000] worth of cattle.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi