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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 18, 2000

18 September 2000
Thirteen Dead In Accident At Sayeskan Tau
Thirteen people died when a bus traveling from Kazan to Bazar Mataki plunged into the Kama River while boarding a ferry at Sayeskan Tau on 17 September, Tatarstan's Ministry Of Emergencies reported the same day. The driver of the bus--which was carrying 15 people--reportedly survived along with one female passenger. According to Ministry of Emergencies officials, the bus's brakes failed and it crashed through a safety gate while entering the ferry. The vehicle was lifted from a depth of six meters several hours later. Ten bodies were found inside the bus while three others were missing.

After the accident, Tatarstan's prime minister, Rustam Minnikhanov, personally directed the primary actions of the rescue team. Some 76 rescuers continued the search for the missing bodies on 18 September.

Construction on a bridge going over the Kama at Sayeskan Tau--which is to connect southeastern and northwestern Tatarstan--have been ongoing for the last several years. Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said in a speech on 8 June that the estimated construction costs of the 1.5 kilometer bridge are about $450 million. So far Tatarstan has been the sole constructer of the bridge, which was acknowledged by Moscow to be of federal importance. Tatarstan reportedly was allowed to keep some taxes collected in Tatarstan for construction of the bridge. According to Tatar media, the federal government has not contributed a single kopek towards construction of the bridge.

State Council Secretary On Conflicting Tatar, Russian Laws
Tatarstan's State Council secretary, Valentina Lipuzhina, was interviewed on Tatar Television on 17 September about the recent session of Tatarstan's parliament, which discussed Tatarstan's Chief Prosecutor's Office and its attempts to rectify the discrepancies between federal and republican laws.

Lipuzhina said Tatarstan's prosecutor is following the order of the federal General-Prosecutor, which obliges him to make note of all legislative acts of the Russian republics that do not mesh with Russian legislation. Lipuzhina stated that "Tatarstan's parliamentary deputies were surprised that prosecutors had been silent about Tatarstan's legislation since 1993-1994 when the objectionable laws were adopted." She also referred to the fact that Tatarstan's Constitution was adopted earlier than the current Russian Constitution, "so," she said, "how could would it be possible for Tatarstan's Constitution to avoid not conforming with Russia's basic law?" She added that "there should be no blind path to conformity." Lipuzhina quoted a statement by the Russian presidential representative in the Volga super district, Sergei Kirienko, who praised Tatarstan's Land Code and emphasized that Russia has not yet adopted a Land Code.

By Iskender Nurmi