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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 23, 1999

23 November 1999
Tatar Official On Russian Program Ban In Bashkortostan
Tatarstan's minister of information, TV and radio broadcasting and mass communications, Zilya Valeeva, told an RFE/RL correspondent on 23 November that she did not agree with the measures taken by Bashkortostan's parliament against central television programs (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 22 November 1999). But she said, "we also cannot pretend that we don't hear the unjust statements of ORT journalists." Valeeva said that in her opinion, "the current arguments by ORT journalists against Bashkortostan's decision were rude, insulting, and biased."

120 Local Election Committee Members Replaced
The Central Election Commission of the republic of Tatarstan agreed to reregister Ivan Belov as a candidate for the republic's State Council seat in the Yudino area, the Elections-99 information center reported on 23 November. Belov's candidacy was restored only after 120 members of the Yudino area's election committee gave up their seats, since all of them were found to be subordinates of Belov's at the Kazan department of the Gorky railroad. The republican Central Election had previously cancelled the decision by the local committee to register Belov as a candidate.

Election Suit Returns To Tatarstan
The Russian Supreme Court approved of the claim made by "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" (MK) Kazan correspondent Lev Ovrutskii against Tatarstan's Central Election Committee (CEC). Ovrutskii claims that the CEC of Tatarstan had divided the republic's territory into disproportional election districts, in violation of the constitution. Ovrutskii said that the existence of Kazan election district No. 1 -- which has 800,000 voters -- and Alabuga election district No. 38 -- which has only 8,000 voters -- was the most flagrant violation. According to federal legislation, the number of voters in election districts cannot differ by more than 10 to 15 percent. The deputy chief of the republic's CEC, Lyubov Guseva, told the republican press on 22 November that Tatarstan's Supreme Court (TSC) failed to cite that instance. On 17 October, the TSC rejected Ovrutskii's claim but on 19 November, the civil cases board of the Russian Supreme Court approved the complaint and reversed the republican court's decision. The case must now be reconsidered by Tatarstan's Supreme Court.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi