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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 29, 2000

29 September 2000
Tatarstan's Government Insists On Special Republican Tax Payment
Tatarstan's deputy prime minister, Vladimir Shvetsov, led a governmental meeting on 28 September devoted to the non-payment of the republican tax for Tatarstan's low-income housing program by 26 industrial enterprises, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. According to republican Tax Service officials at the meeting, the heads of the companies appealed to the Arbitrage Court for relief from the housing tax. The firms reportedly stated that the tax collected for Tatarstan's presidential program for clearing slum housing violated Russian legislation.

In his speech, Shvetsov urged the companies to make the payments soon. He noted that the program gained the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin when he visited Kazan in March.

Later, some of the company heads stated that they "did not reject their obligations to pay the special tax, but tried to seek some minor tax recessions via the Arbitrage Court."

New Century Movement Defends Pre-Term Election
The republican-government oriented Tatarstan-Yanga Gasir (Tatarstan-New Century) political movement lent its support to the moving up of presidential elections at a press conference on 28 September, an RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan reported the same day. Leaders of the movement that includes Rafael Khakimov, the adviser to Tatarstan's president, and republican parliamentary deputy Marat Galeev, commented on the move and its relevance as regards republican and federal legislation. Khakimov said the recent decision by Tatarstan's parliament to hold pre-term presidential elections in December, instead of March of next year, "is our exclusive privilege to change the internal organization of our republic. The intergovernmental treaty [between Russia and Tatarstan] has not been annulled yet. Shaimiev is needed more by Putin thus far than vice versa."

Galeev referred to the intent of the federal government to take a bigger share of taxes from the donor regions, saying, "the center will give more to the poorer regions, but they will just spend those funds on their operating expenses."

Opposition Roundtable Condemns Moving Up Of Presidential Elections
A roundtable of opposition parties in Tatarstan issued a public statement on 28 September demanding that the decision by Tatarstan's State Council to move up the republic's presidential elections from March to December by annulled. The parties urged that the elections by held on the original date in March, as stated in republican legislation. The oppositionists emphasized that recent amendments to the Presidential Elections Act were made in haste and violated federal legislation.

By Iskender Nurmi