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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 15, 2001

15 November 2001
Shaimiev Says Merged Unity, Fatherland, And All Russia Is No 'Ruling Party'
President Mintimer Shaimiev told Interfax on 14 November that he categorically disagrees with speculation that a merger of Unity, Fatherland, and All Russia means the appearance of a "ruling party," calling such thinking "illusions."

"We should not expect any advantage or exclusive attitude of the country leaders toward our party," he said. The new group must elaborate its program, develop its structure, and propose attractive ideas in order to become a party, Shaimiev said. Only then, he stressed, will the party be able to bring its members to power through participation in legislative elections. If we enjoy people's support, we will be able to propose our candidate in presidential elections, he said.

Shaimiev noted that the new party can promote its ideas in the current Duma through the creation of an inter-factional union of Unity, Fatherland, and Regions of Russia. He said Russia needs a stable multiparty system rather than smallish parties, hastily created before each election.

Mukhametshin Says Tatarstan Constitution Withstood Constitutional Court Scrutiny
The Russian Constitutional Court on 12 November heard a claim against the Tatarstan Constitution by Marsel Salyamov, who was refused registration as a candidate for the State Council in the 1999 parliamentary campaign.

State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin told Tatar-inform the next day that contradictions between the republican constitution and federal electoral laws appeared after the Tatarstan State Council elections, and no federal or republican body or person had questioned the legitimacy of the Tatarstan Constitution before the campaign. He said the court stressed that the case does not affect other candidates and deputies elected to the State Council. Mukhametshin said many positions in Salyamov's claim will be eliminated once the republican constitution is brought into line with the Russian one, adding that the court "mainly agreed with our position." Mukhametshin said that Aleksandr Salii, a Duma deputy and the leader of Tatarstan's Communists who was in attendance at the hearing, sought to criticize all paragraphs of the constitution but was urged by the chairman not to deviate from Salyamov's appeal. Mukhametshin said the legitimacy of numerous paragraphs of Tatarstan's constitution was confirmed at the process and a bulk of them meet international legal standards. "Our constitution proved its vitality," he stressed.

United Technologies To Deliver Engines For Tatarstan's Helicopters
Visiting Kazan on 14 November, the chairman and chief executive manager of U.S.-based United Technologies, George David, met with President Mintimer Shaimiev to discuss joint projects, reported. David said following the meeting that his company will deliver engines for Tatarstan-produced Ansat and Mi-38 helicopters. He also said that production of 25 percent of spare parts for engines at the Kazan engine plant as well as a joint project by Sikorsky and the Kazan helicopter plant on the sale of Ansats on world markets are being negotiated.

Turkish, Tatarstan Archivists To Boost Ties
The Turkish General Board of State Archives and Tatarstan's Chief Archive Board signed a four-year cooperation protocol in Istanbul, Tatar-inform reported on 14 November. The document became the third such bilateral cooperation agreement. Tatarstan's National Archive has received 150 documents on the history of Tatars and other peoples of Russia from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as documents about the history of Volga Bulgaria and the Golden Horde. The general manager of the Turkish Archives Board, Yusuf Sarynai, said that a catalogue of documents related to trade, cultural, and diplomatic ties between the two peoples is being prepared for publication in the Turkish, Tatar, and Russian languages in Ankara.

Tatarstan Trade Unions Join Russia-Wide Protest Action
Tatarstan workers on 14 November staged a meeting to support a Russia-wide action by trade unions for workers' rights and social guarantees, reported. Participants carried slogans demanding that minimum wages meet subsistence levels, and protesting a unified social tax and united education and medical insurance. Republican trade union leader Tatyana Vodopyanova said that one in five Tatarstan residents receives 1,500 rubles ($51) or less and subsequently lives on the brink of poverty.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russia To Divide $700 Million In Extra Budget Revenues Between Ufa and Kazan
Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin told Interfax on 13 November that next year's federal budget will allocate 20 billion rubles ($673.4 million) in surplus revenues to Bashkortostan and Tatarstan in order to assist the current transition period, when both republics are increasing their share of tax revenues sent to Moscow.

Ufa Among The Most Polluted Cities In Russia
The federal Environment Ministry placed Ufa in 10th position among Russia's most-polluted cities, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 14 November. According to the ministry, oil and chemical waste represents the majority of the Bashkir capital's air pollutants.

Editor Unable To Resume Work After Vindication In Court
Although the editor of Bashkortostan's "Molodezhnaya Gazeta" newspaper, Viktor Saveliev, won a wrongful dismissal suit against the republican government, he has not been allowed to resume work, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 14 November. Saveliev was sacked in February 2001. Before he was dismissed, "Molodezhnaya Gazeta" was widely regarded as a state mouthpiece frequently publishing articles critical of Bashkortostan's authorities.

Saveliev had to defend his right to work as a youth paper's editor twice after he was fired in February and after he was dismissed by for the second time in July. Republican ministries, which established "Molodezhnaya Gazeta" explained the second expulsion by saying that Saveliev misused funds in 1998. The Lenin district court in Ufa obliged Saleviev's employers to pay roughly $3,400 to compensate for moral damage, but he has not managed to retake the editor's seat.

Ethnic Minorities Conference Prepared Under Government Oversight
Resuming its work with public organizations representing ethnic minorities living in Bashkortostan, the republic's Cabinet of Ministers is arranging a conference of the Belarusian ethnic-cultural center to be held in the Iglin Region, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 14 November.

Writer Comments On Tatar Publishing In Bashkortostan
Reshit Sabit, a Tatar writer residing in Bashkortostan, said on 14 November that only 10 Tatar books were published in the republic between 1996 and late 2001. He claimed that Bashkortostan's state publishing company had about 60 manuscripts offered by Tatar writers for printing.

BBC Holds Human Rights Seminar In Ufa
A BBC education and development center is holding a seminar called "Journalists Talk About Human Rights" in Ufa, RFE/RL reported. The event is sponsored by the British consul in Ekaterinburg and is to take place 14-16 November.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi