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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 22, 1999

22 March 1999
Media Chief Comments On Proposed Ethics Protection Council...
Ilshat Aminov, the head of Tatarstan TV and radio, spoke out against the creation of an Ethics Protection Council, as has been proposed by the Russian State Duma. Aminov said such a council would be an infringement on freedom of speech and expression. He said he's afraid the Council will become a political instrument for controlling all kinds of mass media in Russia. Aminov told Efir TV reporters on 21 March that he "hoped the Russian president would not pass the draft law on establishing the Council," admitting that it was hard to tell if the bill had support or not.

...And The Skuratov Situation
"I think it shouldn't have been exposed, I consider it immoral to show such material, though many people knew this film existed," said Ilshat Aminov, chief of Tatarstan state TV and radio in an interview for Efir TV. Aminov was commenting on the broadcasting by Russian television of a naked man resembling Skuratov with two women in a hotel room.

Kazan To Offer Tax Breaks For Small Businesses
Valery Dashin, the head of the Kazan City Commission for the Promoting Entrepreneurship, told reporters on 19 March that taxes would be waived for private companies involved in "high-priority spheres" such as manufacturing, construction, architecture, science and education, medicine, stocks trading, and purchasing. The full-tax concession would be in effect for the company for three years and then will be replaced with a 50 percent tax break. Dashin acknowledged that favorable taxation terms in Kazan have "helped to preserve small businesses" despite the financial crisis in Russia. He said that only 15 percent of small businesses collapsed in Kazan after the financial crisis broke out in August 1998, while in Russia nearly 40 percent closed their doors.

Significant Rise In Traffic Accidents Caused By Poor Condition of Roads
Tatarstan's traffic militia chief, Rifkat Minnikhanov, told the Traffic Safety Commission on 19 March that during the winter season of 1998-1999, the number of car accidents rose by 90 percent in Kazan and threefold in the Pitrech, Layesh, and Alabuga regions of Tatarstan. The total number of accidents also went up fourfold in the Baliq Biste region. Deputy Prime Minister Ildar Fattakhov criticized road maintenance companies Tatavtodor and Tatneftedor for "regular but ineffective" measures taken to clear roads of record snowfalls. According to Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers, the average monthly snowfall in Tatarstan last winter was three times as high as the winter of 1997-1998.

Medium-Sized Oil Deposit Discovered In Yanga Chishme
An oil deposit of some six million tons was discovered in the Yanga Chishme region, Tatarstan radio reported on 20 March. A ceremonial launch of the first oil well there took place the same day.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi