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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 22, 1998

22 December 1998
Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Says Russian Regions Should Share Tatarstan's Experience
Tatarstan's experience in combatting illegal alcohol production must be shared by other regions of the Russian Federation, said Minister of Internal Affairs Sergey Stepashin during his visit to Kazan on 21 December. Stepashin stressed that Tatarstan�s Internal Affairs Ministry has "succeeded in preventing street crime." At the same time, he said "there is much to be done against organized crime in the republic." In accordance with a recent decree by the Russian president, Stepashin presented a new flag, decorated with Russian state symbols, to Tatarstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs. During a ceremony in Freedom Square, President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev presented a flag with republican symbols that will also be hoisted at the ministry. The ceremony was followed by a Tatarstan militia parade.

Tatarstan's State Council Discusses 1999 Budget
The world financial crisis, the fall of oil prices on the world market, the devaluation of ruble, and political instability within the Russian government have significantly influenced the current economic situation in Tatarstan, said Tatarstan's Minister of Economics Rinat Gubaydullin, commenting on the draft budget for 1999 in an address to the republican State Council. On 21 December, the State Council of Tatarstan passed in the first reading the draft republican budget, submitted by President Shaimiev. During the debate, Minister of Finance Robert Musin admitted that extra funding would be necessary to increase the wages of state employees in 1999 to keep pace with inflation. He added that sources of extra funding have still to be found.

President Shaimiev referred to this by saying that "next year, Tatarstan's government would not allow the deterioration of the social and economic situation in the republic". Minister of Economics Gubaydullin said that in 1999, the volume of oil extracted in Tatarstan would reach 26,300 tons and production at the KamAZ automotive works would increase. But according to the republican Statistics Committee, 20 percent of Tatarstan's population will be living in poverty in 1999.

Fourteen Recruits Opt for Alternative Service
Tatarstan media reports that in the fall 1998 recruiting session, 14 citizens of Tatarstan opted to do alternative service. The 14 are members of the Baptist or Protestant Churches or are Jehovah's Witnesses. They chose alternative service because of their religious principles. Recruiting officials in Kazan say that the number of citizens applying for alternative service is not increasing because those who perform such service usually have to undertake the hardest work in the severe climatic conditions of Northern Russia.

Tatarstan's Trade Unions Join Otechestvo
On 19 December in Moscow, chairwoman of Tatarstan's trade unions federation, Farida Gaynullina, took part in the founding meeting of the Otechestvo movement, which is headed by Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov. The meeting adopted the movement�s charter and discussed its main goals. Othechestvo intends to participate in elections to the Russian State Duma in 1999 and in presidential elections in 2000.

Compiled by I.Nurmi