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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 7, 2000

7 August 2000
Tatarstan's Parliamentary Speaker Says Regional Legislation Is Not A Prosecutor's Area
Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farit Mukhametshin, attended a conference in Ufa, Bashkortostan on 3 August on the role of treaties in the formation of the Russian Federation. The conference was held as part of celebrations to mark the 6th anniversary of Bashkortostan's power-sharing treaty with Moscow.

In his speech at the conference, Mukhametshin said that "for 10 years in Russia they had been declaring: 'take your sovereignty, unload the federal center, solve the problems locally!' We believed that, adopted our declarations, constitution, and concluded our treaties. And now the new president comes and says 'go back!' We cannot call such action fair and equitable." In the words of Tatarstan's parliamentary speaker, "based on legal documents, which define the relations between regions and the federal center, we built a harmonious system of legislation. For example, Tatarstan adopted over 300 laws, two codes, and Bashkortostan--over 400 laws and 16 codes. Finally it has become the basic idea of our states. And now," he continued, "federal law enforcement bodies interfere in our legislation and demand that we immediately adjust it to federal laws. This issue is not within the area of the Prosecutor's Office, it is an issue of federative relations. I think that Russia is destined to be a federative state, there must be no unitarism."

Mukhametshin assumed that "if such [a unitarist] approach is in the ascendant, there will be no way [to move] towards democratic development based on the free market economy in Russia." He admitted, "no one argues that the shaky Russian executive power must be enforced, but what does it have to do with the rights and commissions of the regions? It is impossible to form a strong family by force, only with consent and mutual love."

Different Unemployment Figures For Tatarstan
According to Tatarstan's State Committee of Statistics on 7 August, 22,000 people are registered as unemployed in Tatarstan. The committee also reported that there are currently 18,500 vacancies available in the republic, indicating that the highest demand is for construction workers. The deputy chief of the committee's labor market department, Elena Kibardina, told reporters the same day that official figures show only the number of unemployed who officially applied for a job. Total unemployment figure estimates using the method of the World Labor Organization in 1999 showed that about 200,000 people in Tatarstan were jobless.

Tatenergo Begins Switching Off Debtors
Tatarstan's electricity producer Tatenergo plans to cut off power at the Precise Machinery factory and the Optical-Mechanical plant in Kazan, Tatinform agency reported on 7 August. It is hoped that this measure will help make the two companies pay their electricity bills for last several months. However, the cutoffs reportedly will affect only the industrial part of the companies, and not the water utility station, hospitals, or homes for handicapped people.

By Iskender Nurmi