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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 22, 1999

22 February 1999
President's Advisor Condemns Yugoslav Government
Rafael Khakimov, an advisor to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, told an RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan on 21 February that he "condemned" the policy pursued by the Yugoslav government in Kosovo, saying that Serbs were infringing on the rights of ethnic Albanians by claiming the territory despite the fact that Serbs make up a minority of its inhabitants.

State Council Chairman Says New Federal Law Will Not Meet Regional Demands
Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farit Mukhametshin, said on 16 February in Moscow that a new federal law is destructive for treaties between Russia and its territorial entities. Mukhametshin made the comment during a meeting of the Committee on Federation Affairs, Treaties and Regional Policy. He was referring to the law on principles and power sharing between Russian governmental bodies and territorial entitites within the federation that was adopted by parliament the same day. Mukhametshin said the law would "rupture the current delicate balance between the federation and its subjects."

Republican Law On Licensing Stalled
On 18 February the State Council failed to consider a law on the licensing of businesses in Tatarstan. Deliberations on the law, passed on first reading last July, were postponed indefinitely. The republican press reports that some deputies who oppose the bill need more time to lobby Tatarstan's entrepreneurs. Several businessmen issued an appeal, distributed in the Council before the session, stating that the legislation would ruin Tatarstan's business environment. They urged the Council to abandon debate on the law, saying that the certification of both retail and wholesale businesses was "unnecessary."

Tatarstan's Airlines And Facilities In Great Decline
The number of passengers flying with Tatarstan Airlines over the last seven years has slumped from over 2 million in 1991 to 116,000 in 1998 (that includes passengers on other airlines using Kazan airport). During this period the number of useable facilities in Tatarstan has dropped from 25 airports in 1991 to 10 airports in 1999. The number of operational aircraft in the republic over the same time period has decreased from 83 to 20.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi