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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 29, 1999

29 January 1999
Shaimiev: Changes To The Russian Constitution Should Address The Federative System
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 28 January in Kazan that Russian politicians have a better appreciation for how important democracy is in federal relations. Shaimiev and State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin spoke to the press about the results of a conference on federal relations in the Russian Federation and of a Federation Council meeting in Moscow that they both had attended. "We said many times that a Nationalities Chamber should be created," Shaimiev said. "After a new president and State Duma are elected, it would be possible to change the Russian Constitution. Whereas previously only the idea of power sharing between the president, the government and the Duma was discussed, now, for the first time, the issue of a federative system was considered." Amendments to Tatarstan's Law on Sharing of Production were passed by the Federation Council, Shaimiev said. Tatarstan's Romashkino petroleum deposit is one of the companies that is affected by this law. He said "we would like the law to come into force as soon as possible as it is the only possibility for attracting investments to the fuel-energy industries."

Government Worried About Defense Industry
Tatar government officials are holding negotiations in Moscow in an effort to develop the Tatar-Russian agreement on the defense industry, Tatar television reported on 28 January. The terms of the agreement between Moscow and Kazan on sharing control in the defense industry has been prolonged.

Russian ministries currently owe defense industry workers in Tatarstan some 100 million rubles and wage arrears at some enterprises go back as far as 14 months. To support the workers, the republican government made a decision to settle Moscow's debts to the defense plants with food products and other goods produced by firms that owe the federal budget. Four months' worth of salaries have already been repaid in this way. As another support measure, republican authorities began allocating credits and made investments in several charitable projects. The Tatar government has invested some $50 million in the Kazan Gorbunov air industrial association for the creation of a new TU-324 aircraft. In early 1999, the Tatar government put the seven largest defense industry enterprises under the republic's control in order to facilitate the greater production of consumer goods.

Number Of AIDS Carriers Grows Sharply In January
The number of carriers in Tatarstan of the acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS) virus grew by 13 percent from December to January, with 60 people now being registered with the virus. For the first time, Tatarstan's AIDS condom center registered four AIDS patients during one week, officials from the center said on 28 January in Chally. The growth figure in Chally is 22 percent over the last two months, which has one of the republics' highest rates for AIDS carriers. Only four people in Tatarstan have reportedly died from AIDS in the last decade.

Compiled by G.Khasanova