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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 11, 1999

11 February 1999
Tatar Premier Sees New Version Of Federalism
The prime minister of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, said in a speech at a State Council science conference on 10 February that "there is a new phase of federalism coming up. Tatarstan ... knows the way to achieve the goal of building a strong federative community where the interests of all are considered. We have to find a common language between the regions and to establish economic cooperation, delegating general duties to the center and solving our problems by ourselves. This is the way to resurrect industry, agriculture, and the entire economy." Ramazan Abdulatipov, the federal minister of national policy, added that the establishment of treaties between Kazan and Moscow have significantly contributed to the development of federal relations in Russia.

The conference was also attended by the Russian minister of regional policy, Valerii Kirpichnikova, a parliamentary delegation from Quebec, the deputy chief of European Commission representatives in Moscow, Julber Dubua, and a representative of Germany's Konrad Adenauer Fund.

Trade Unions Urged To Sue Directors For Wage Arrears
Demonstrations held at the end of last year are being credited with a reduction in wage arrears, trade union officials stated on 10 February. They said there was a 23 million ruble reduction in the aircraft industry, an 11 million ruble decrease in the radio and electronics sector, and a 2 million ruble improvement in the defense industry. Mikhail Shakhmaev, the head of the radio and electronics union, called for the imposition of a strict control over money distribution at enterprises to prevent the abuse of funds by management. The misappropriation of funds is reportedly the reason for looming wage arrears at several enterprises in Tatarstan. Shakhmaev said "trade unionists should initiate legal actions against undisciplined directors."

Teachers Offered Vodka In Lieu Of Wages
Teachers in the Biyektaw region of Tatarstan said they were recently humiliated when regional officials offered them back wages in the form of vodka. On 8 February, Vasily Kovalev, the chief of the Biyektaw regional education department, confirmed the report, admitting that the offer had been available for several months. Those who decide to accept the vodka instead of cash are advised to bring empty bottles and boxes to carry it back from the local vodka plant.

Flu Epidemic Announced In Five Cities
About 8,600 cases of influenza were recorded in Tatarstan during the first week of February, Tatarinform agency reported. Some 54 percent of those infected were children.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi