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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 20, 2000

20 December 2000
Tatarstan State Council Endorses Budget For 2001
The State Council on 19 December passed on third reading the republican budget. It anticipates revenues of 20.9 billion rubles and expenditures of 22.5 billion. Parliamentary speaker Farit Mukhametshin said that "the budget will be a socially oriented, all the basic [social] programs will be implemented," despite the significant decline in revenues because of federal tax changes. Opposition deputy Alexander Shtanin attempted to block the draft by arguing that it violated the Russian laws, which limit budget deficits to five percent. But the majority ignored his argument and passed the bill, despite its 7.1 percent deficit.

Trade Union Federation Protests Draft Labor Code
The Tatarstan Trade Union Federation assembled 2000 people in Gorky Park on 19 December to protest the government's draft of a new labor code. The protesters, who consisted largely of teachers and doctors, are upset that the draft allows for the introduction of a 12-hour working day, salary payments in goods, and the dismissal of workers for the violation of a single provision of their contracts. Union leaders accused the Russian government of pursuing a policy of genocide against peoples of Russia. The protesters criticized Russian president Vladmir Putin, PM Mikhail Kasyanov, and Labor Minister Aleksandr Pochinok "for providing only verbal support to working people." A similar meeting attracted 300 people in Bogelme.

Federal Treasury Board To Operate In Tatarstan
Marat Zaripov, theacting director of the Federal Treasury�s Board in Tatarstan Republic, said on 19 December that as of January 1, all republic bodies financed by the federal budget will get their money via his organizaiton. That arrangement, he said, will ensure more rapid payments. Up to now, these payments have gone through the Treasury Board in the Chuvash Republic. Earlier attempts to set up a board in Kazan had failed because the republic government insisted on maintaining control over federal funds. The new board is also expected to monitor the collection of taxes in Tatarstan.

Chernobyl Clean-Up Workers Demand Maintenance of Compensation Payments
Some 150 workers who helped clean up the Chernobyl plant after the accident there gathered in Kazan on 19 December to protest the Duma's plan to revise the Law on Chernobyl and abolish some of their special compensatory payments. Under the terms of the draft bill, Chernobyl clean-up workers will get only normal social payments. At present, these veterans receive an average of 2000 rubles ($71.40) a month.

By Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Congratulates Security Officers
President Murtaza Rakhimov sent a message of congratulations to Bashkortostan's special services on 20 December, the national Chekist Day. He said that "today the bodies of federal security have to operate in the transition period which is complicated for our country. In these uneasy circumstances the problem of defending the state and society from internal and external threats is especially critical." Rakhimov also pointed to the growing importance of federal security services because "we know that our republic is also a constant subject of interest for foreign special services, which tend to exercise large-scale control over the internal political, economic and social situation and try to make a destructive effect on political situation."

Bashkir Agricultural Unions Condemn Russian Policies
The republic agricultural trade union committee on 19 December sharply criticized the current policy of the Russian government regarding agriculture and also the draft Labor Code that the Federal Duma is to consider in thenear future. Those in attendance said that President Vladimir Putin had approved the policies of the agrarian trade unions. According to the resolution adopted at the session, the rural trade unions will continue their "purposeful activities for defending the rights of agricultural workers and settling the conflict situations with employers."

Genetic Alterations Reported in Northwestern Bashkortostan
Bashkir ecologists have reported that there have been some minor alterations in the chromosome maps of some residents in Karlikhan, Bolsheustinskoe and Karaidel villages in the northwestern portion of the republic, Bashkir press reported on 19 December.The investigators are unsure as to the cause of their discovery.

Academy Of Sciences Wants a Republic InstituteOf State And Law
Members of the Social Sciences Department in Bashkortostan�s Academy of Sciences have called for the creation of a republic-level Institute of State and Law, the republic press reported on 19 December. Academicians argued that such a body would be helpful in the study of constitutional law, promoting federallism, and contributing to Bashkortostan's future economic and political development. The academicians have already agreed on a structure for the new institute but do not yet have the funds to open it.

By Iskender Nurmi