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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 24, 2000

24 May 2000
Kazan Court Affirms Putin's Immunity In Lawsuit
The Vakhitovsky district court in Kazan rejected the suit of "Moskovsky Komsomolets" correspondent Lev Ovrutsky against Russian President Vladimir Putin on 23 May. Ovrutsky charged Putin for "inaction and ignoring civil rights and freedoms." Ovrutsky has since September been protesting the unequal division of election districts in Tatarstan, for example, allowing the existence of a Kazan election area with 800,000 voters and then having the Alabuga area with about 8,000 voters. After the Supreme Court of Tatarstan refused Ovrutsky's suit in December, he appealed to the Russian Supreme Court. In February, the Russian Supreme Court referred the suit to the Kazan court.

While awaiting the court's verdict, Ovrutsky sued Putin for his inaction as president and defender of civil rights, as stated in the Russian Constitution. On 23 May, the Vakhitovsky district court rejected Ovrutsky's suit against Putin by stating that according to the constitution the Russian president has immunity.

Ovrutsky said this about the court's decision: "it's funny that we have a right to elect the president and make him a guarantor of our rights, but we cannot ask him how he is fulfilling his duties." He is planning to address the Supreme Court of Tatarstan with the same lawsuit.

Bread Producers Ask To Level Up The Bread Prices
Representatives of Tatarstan's Tatkhleboproduct bread producing monopoly asked the republican government on 23 May to increase the retail prices of bread. During a press conference at the republican Cabinet of Ministers, Tatkhleboproduct officials stated that their industry was threatened with total bankruptcy because of a combination of low retail prices and high production costs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi