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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 24, 1999

24 March 1999
Tatarstan's President Wants Right To Appoint Judges
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said the process in which Moscow appoints all judges in Russia deprives the republics of the right to a judicial branch of power -- a right guaranteed by the Russian Constitution to entities that have state status within Russia. Shaimiev made his comments on 23 March at a Russian-American seminar devoted to judicial ethics, discipline, and the status of judges in Russia. The seminar, attended by officials from 29 Russian regions, was organized by the U.S. National Judiciary College. Shaimiev said "we agree that we have a universal Criminal Code but we should have the right to appoint judges ourselves." Currently, all judges in republics and territorial entities of the Russian Federation are appointed by the Russian president, Tatarstan's media reported.

Tatarstan Seeks To Boost Trade With Algeria
The Algerian ambassador to Russia, Ammar Makhlufi, met on 23 March with Tatar minister of trade and economic cooperation, Khafiz Salikhov, to discuss cooperation and investment in Tatarstan's economy. Salikhov said Tatarstan pays great attention to boosting ties with non-Western countries. The Algerian delegation expressed interest in Tatarstan's petrochemical companies, specifically in the experience of Tatneft in oil extraction, geological prospecting, and oil processing. It was agreed that business officials from both sides will make exchange visits, and trade exhibitions featuring Tatar and Algerian firms will be held in both Algeria and Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported.

The Algerian delegation visited the ship building plant and the Sergo plant POZIS in Yeshel Uzen and held talks on the purchasing of battle and cargo ships by Algeria. Makhlufi also negotiated with Tatneftekhiminvestholding officials on possible cooperation on oil extraction in Algeria. Talks between Tatneft and Algeria's leading oil companies on the exporting of Algerian oil are scheduled to be held next month, Tatar television reported.

Energy Officials Study Quebec Experience
A Tatar-Canadian seminar was held in Kazan to discuss issues regarding the energy sector, Tatar state radio reported on 23 March. Specialists from the Tatar power company Tatenergo met with representatives of the Canadian company Hydroquebec to discuss its work and how it determines user rates.

Trade Unions Concerned With Low Minimum Wage
The republican Trade Unions Council (TUC) has urged the Tatar government to raise the minimum wage to 600 rubles a month, the TUC's press service reported. The Union's leaders argued that the incomes of Tatarstan's citizens after the August economic crisis have decreased by 30 percent and the purchasing power of the population has dropped by 50 percent. Meanwhile, according to republican legislation, the minimum wage should correspond to the subsistency level -- which equals 605 rubles per month.

Chubais On Visit To Tatarstan
Anatolii Chubais, the head of the Russian energy giant United Energy Systems (UES), began an official visit to Kazan on 23 March. The purpose of his trip is to discuss the conversion of the energy monopoly Tatenergo into a joint-stock company. Chubais will meet with President Mintimer Shaimiev and other officials. The Tatar side will reportedly suggest that UES purchase 10 percent of Tatenergo in exchange for UES shares, Tatar television reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova