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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 24, 2001

24 December 2001
TNV Remains Independent Political Movement
Some 550 delegates took part in the fourth congress of the republican public political movement Tatarstan � New Century (TNV) headed by Tatarstan State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, reported on 22 December. President Mintimer Shaimiev appealed to the participants calling the congress an event of great political importance for the republic. Shaimiev stressed that the appearance of TNV has become a symbolic move in the formation of civil society in Tatarstan. The congress voted for TNV to remain an independent political movement able in the future to form blocs with any political parties depending on their promotion of Tatarstan�s interests.

Mukhametshin in his speech cited a pre-congress poll results according to which 70 percent of those questioned consider socio-economic situation in Tatarstan successful, the same part support Russia�s development as a federative state, and 65 percent believe that treaty-based relations between Kazan and Moscow should be maintained.

Presidential Adviser Criticizes �Vertical Power Campaign�
Presidential adviser Rafail Khakimov on 22 December criticized Moscow�s policy of strengthening vertical power calling it �archaic.� Speaking at a congress of the Tatarstan � New Century movement, Khakimov said that strongly centralized system of authority in such a big country like Russia proved to be inefficient and incompatible with market economy and democratic principles. He said the population of federation members in a federative state must be equal source of law alongside people of the country as a whole. A federation cannot exist without shared sovereignty and treaty-based relations, he stressed, adding that �if we promote federalism in Russia, we have to defend Tatarstan�s sovereignty.�

Khakimov criticized �gigantomania� in Tatarstan�s economic policy and called for the support of small businesses as a basis of economic sovereignty. He said creation of civil society needs the development of legislation reflecting interests of different nations, religions, strata, rather than sensational PR-actions.

Tatarstan�s Harmonized Constitution To Maintain Bilateral Treaty, Statement Of Sovereignty
Marat Galeev, the head of the Tatarstan constitutional commission, said at a Tatarstan � New Century congress on 22 December that Tatarstan�s power-sharing treaty with Moscow is a basic document specifying the republic�s status, so that treaty must become a ground for Tatarstan�s edited constitution. Tatarstan should maintain its statehood and elements of sovereignty within the framework of its powers given by the power-sharing treaty, Galeev noted. Tatarstan always promoted the integrity of Russia but on democratic, federative principles, he stressed.

Galeev said those federative states in the world that were formed �from above,� like Russia, face crises from time to time, and the USSR had even disintegrated. Tatarstan promotes establishment of the federation �from below,� through sharing of powers, he said, adding that the republic developed much more dynamically after it signed the power-sharing treaty with Moscow comparing to other Russian territorial entities. Galeev said the new edition of the republican constitution follows requirements of federal legislation about strict division of executive and legislative branches of authority and provides a completely professional parliament in the republic in place of current semi-professional. He backed the idea of a bicameral parliament in the republic � with the lower chamber representing the whole population and elected on a majority principle and the upper chamber consisting of deputies representing cities and raions. However, he said, that system does not meet the requirement of equal electoral districts, and ways to solve this problem still are to be found.

Kabardino-Balkaria Supports Tatarstan�s Initiative On Double Citizenship
Kabardino-Balkaria�s Council supported a legislative initiative of Tatarstan�s State Council that proposed the State Duma to include a paragraph on citizenship of the republics within Russia into a federal law on citizenship of the Russian Federation, reported on 21 December citing Nalchik�s �Gazeta Yuga.� Tatarstan deputies stressed that the new federal law passed in its first reading does not provide republican citizenship while the corresponding federal law being currently in force does provide it. The Russian Constitution as well specifies a constitutional-legal status of republics to be states, deputies said.

Marii El Looking Forward To Celebrating Anniversary Of Joining Russia
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 20 December published a decree by Marii El President Leonid Markelov on the �celebration of 450th anniversary of Marii Krai�s joining the Russian state� in 2002. Before �joining the Russian state,� the Mari people lived in Kazan Khanate and lost many its representatives during the conquest of Kazan Khanate by Ivan the Terrible.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Parliament Appoints Federation Council Members
The State Assembly on 21 December appointed Aleksandr Yakubov, 41, Federation Council member representing Bashkortostan�s executive authority, Bashinform reported. Yakubov is the deputy general manager of Moscow�s Trade House Transneft and in 2001 was an adviser to the Bashkortostan presidential chief-of-staff. The legislature as well elected Igor Izmestyev, 35, its representative to the Federation Council. Izmestyev is the chairman of Nizhnii Novgorod�s Sudokhodnaya kompania Volzhskoe parokhodstvo and in 2000-01 � an assistant to the Bashkortostan State Assembly chairman. commented that both are almost unknown in Bashkortostan. Yakubov said despite the fact that he always lived and worked in Moscow, he has �a clear view of Bashkortostan�s economy and several times promoted interests of republic�s largest companies, Bashneftekhim and Salavatnefteorgsintez.� Izmestyev said he will use in his work the experience of his predecessor in the Federation Council, President Murtaza Rakhimov.

Ufa Marks Eighth Anniversary Of Constitution
President Murtaza Rakhimov greeted republic�s people on the eighth anniversary of the Bashkortostan Constitution being marked on 24 December, Bashinform reported on 21 December. Rakhimov said Supreme Council deputies who adopted the republican constitution showed their political wisdom and laid a ground for Bashkortostan�s stable development within Russia.

The Constitution provided favorable conditions for the development of treaty-based relations with Russia, Rakhimov said. The 1994 power-sharing treaty has become an important step in the strengthening and development of the Russian Federation and legally fixed the fact of mutual recognition of the constitutions of Bashkortostan and Russia, he stressed.

Bashkortostan�s Court Satisfies Part Of UES� Claims Against Bashkirenergo
Bashkortostan�s Arbitration Court charged Bashkirenergo to pay Russia�s United Energy Systems 182 million rubles ($6 million) of subscriber�s fee for 1998, Kommersant-Daily reported on 21 December. The court, however, refused Russia�s UES� another challenge against Bashkirenergo which claimed the latter owes Russia�s UES 182 million rubles more in fines. Hearing on one more claim � in which Russia�s UES seeks Bashkirenergo to pay 520 million rubles in the 2000 subscribing fee � was postponed.

Several days earlier, a Moscow court refused the Russia�s UES� claim against another independent energy company, Irkutskenergo.

Bashkir Authorities Ban Plays Of Tatarstan Writer
RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 21 December that Tatarstan State Council deputy, dramatist Tufan Minnullin became persona non grata in Bashkortostan after he sharply criticized in Tatarstan�s parliament and Tatarstan mass media measures taken in Bashkortostan to register Tatars as Bashkirs in the 2002 census. Bashkortostan leaders ordered to stop showing Minnullin�s dramas in republican theaters.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova