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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 1, 2002

1 July 2002
Kirienko Admits 'Political Grounding' Of Stall In Kazan-Ufa Oil Industry Talks
Russia's presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko, told a press conference in Nizhny Novgorod on 26 June that in his opinion the "problem of merging the oil-chemical complexes in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan was a political one rather than an economic issue," reported. He generally approved of the integration project, he said, "because Bashkortostan has excessive oil-processing facilities, while Tatarstan has a surplus of oil."

Kirienko said that it was "economically inappropriate" that Bashkortostan is facing difficulties seeking oil to load its oil refineries at the same time that Tatarstan is building its own oil processing plant in Tuben Kama. He added that Tatarstan's government previously made steps towards integration but Bashkortostan "recently began to decline work on this agreement, although they previously supported it. Here," Kirienko added, "I'm absolutely on Tatarstan's side."

During the Fall of 2001, a Tatar delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry Sergei Kogogin received a cold welcome from Ural Rakhimov, head of the Bashneftekhim company and President Murtaza Rakhimov's son who, in Ufa, took back previously given consent from the Bashkir side to begin integrating the oil industry by saying that the Tatneft oil company "had no future" and "there were no oil processing industry experts in Tatarstan." Despite Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov's attempts to "soften" the effect of Ural's words during that visit, the sides have since then never discussed integration involving exchanges of shares packages in the two republics' oil-related industries.

Tatar Deputy Says Legislation On State Languages In Tatarstan 'To Be Improved'
The chairman of the Tatarstan State Council Commission on Education, Languages, and Ethnic Issues, Razil Valiev, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 26 June that his commission will propose changes to the state program for implementing the law on state languages in the republic. He said that although the law on state languages giving Tatar and Russian equal official status in the republic was adopted 10 years ago, so far the Tatar language has failed to gain as broad usage as Russian, especially in economics. He also added that the teaching system of the Tatar language has not yet been improved to ensure continuous and comprehensive courses from kindergarten to the university level.

VAliyev noted that Tatarstan's deputies managed to preserve the provision saying that all of Tatarstan's laws, decrees, and official resolutions are to written both in Tatar and Russian in the amended fundamental law of the republic.

VAliyev said that the Tatar parliament will also work on legislation stipulating the responsibilities for violating the equality of the Tatar and Russian languages in the republic in order to vitalize the 1994 program on implementing the state languages act.

Oil-Quality Bank To Mean Less Oil Revenue For Tatarstan, Bashkortostan
The president of the Transneft oil transport company, Semen Vainshtok, told "Vremya Novostei" in Moscow on 27 June that some experts have already prepared a system of compensation payments that will award Russian producers of higher-quality oil because "it's important to put in place methods regulating the payments of those who give good oil to those who give very good oil." Currently, the country's export oil pipelines transport a mixture of heavy density, poorer quality Ural oil from such regions as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan and lighter Siberian oil of higher quality. "Vremya Novostei" also quoted the Russian deputy minister of energy, Vladimir Stanev, as saying that due to the absence of the aforementioned compensation system known as the "oil-quality bank," producers of light oils annually lose some $250 million in income.

Kasyanov Avoids Discussion On Wages Arrears At KamAZ...
According to "Kommersant" on 27 June, during his visit to the KamAZ auto concern in Chally the previous day, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov "quickly handled the questions of [KamAZ] workers asking whether their salaries will be paid in time" by saying: "in 2001 your salaries were delayed for one year and now the delay is only several months." Both Kasyanov and Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said that the salaries and possible dismissals at the auto giant "depended on its profitability."

...As Klebanov Calls One Of KamAZ Vehicles 'Fantastic'
The same day RIA Novosti quoted Russian Minister of Industry and Science Ilya Klebanov, who also visited KamAZ on 26 June, as calling the cabriolet version of the popular and low-priced Oka car "a fantastic automobile, leaving Mercedeses far behind," and promised to buy one for himself "after saving up some money." This tuned-up version of the Oka reportedly costs 100,000 rubles ($3,200).

Parliament Officials Discuss Future Agenda Before Going On Leave...
Tatarstan's State Council Presidium on 24 June passed a resolution saying that this year the parliament will go on leave from 1 July until 5 September, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 28 June. Among the topics included on the State Council's September agenda is consideration of a draft Administrative Code which will cover areas not mentioned by the new Russian Administrative Code that goes into force on 1 July.

...While Commission Upholds Prosecutor's Protest Regarding Trade Union Law
The State Council Commission on Social Issues, Children and Youth Affairs on 27 June recommended that the parliament satisfy the protest of Tatarstan's prosecutor, Kafil Amirov, who demanded that the republican law on trade unions be abolished for violating a similar federal law, RFE/RL Kazan's bureau reported.

Unlike the federal document, Tatarstan's law states that trade unions must be formally registered. The republican law also stated that no less than 10 people can establish a trade union, while Russian law allows any individual over 14 to do so. In addition, the prosecutor pointed to the supremacy of federal law, which offers flexible criteria for creating territorial alliances of trade union.

Drug Enforcement In Chally
According to the Efir TV company on 27 June, 3.6 kilos of drugs (including 991 grams of heroin) were seized by police in Chally thus far in 2002. Several drug-trafficking channels were reportedly blocked, most of them coming from Tajikistan through Orenburg Oblast. Some 1,880 drug addicts are officially registered in Tatarstan's second city and 255 crimes were committed by them this year, including 27 robberies and three murders. Meanwhile, 17 drug addicts died during 2002 due to suicides, murders, drug overdoses, and AIDS.

Nevertheless, the media claims that drug addiction -- which reached its peak in Chally in 1998 -- was going down, though consumption of beer among youths has increased.

Chally Recruitment Figures
Chally Military Commissioner Anas Sadikov told Efir on 26 June that 559 recruits from his city joined the Russian Army during the spring draft of 2002. He said there is a decline in the number of men joining the service in good health, adding that the number of those dismissed from service because of mental problems or AIDS increased this year to 300.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Congress Promotes Return Of Bashkirs To Republic
RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 23 June that the second World Bashkir Congress on 14-15 June promoted the use of the Bashkir language in all state bodies and educational institutions. Participants called for research into the historical roots of the republic's population, a measure that aims, the correspondent commented, at registering a part of Bashkortostan's Tatars as Bashkirs during the Russian census in October. The forum also stated its support for the nationalities policy of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov.

Participants suggested that Bashkirs living outside Bashkortostan be invited to return to the republic. The head of the Uzbek Bashkir national organization, Ilshat Khasanov, suggested that Bashkirs follow the example of the Jews in returning to their homeland. A resolution passed by the congress also included points about the necessity of state support for Bashkirs returning to the republic and of providing them with land. The resolution also stressed the necessity of composing and adopting by the end of this year a program on the development of the Bashkir people and including it as a part of the state program titled "Bashkortostan's Peoples."

The appeal to the Bashkir people adopted at the forum calls Bashkortostan one of the foundations of the Russian Federation and promotes the strengthening of religion and the physical health of the population. The appeal to Bashkortostan's peoples stresses the multiethnic nature of the republic and says that Bashkirs will contribute to increasing interethnic concord and cooperation.

Ufa Said To Want Only Minor Amendments To Power-Sharing Treaty
Proposals on amending the power-sharing treaty between Bashkortostan and Russia are to be presented to President Rakhimov by 3 July, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 23 June. Proposals are to be made by a working group headed by State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev and including Bashkir presidential administration head Ildar Gimaev, Bashkir Constitutional Court Chairman Ildus Adigamov, and former State Secretary and current member of the Presidential Council Mansur Ayupov. The correspondent cited an unidentified source as saying that the republic's leadership would like to keep the document nearly unchanged, adding only one extra protocol.

Official Links Reduction In Drug Addiction To War In Afghanistan
The head of Bashkortostan's drug-addiction treatment center, Ildar Baikov, told a press conference in Ufa on 25 June that if republican authorities do not take urgent measures, they could lose control of the drug problem in Bashkortostan. The rate of drug addiction in Bashkortostan is about 30 per 100,000 citizens, Baikov said (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 25 June 2002). The number of drug addicts to register this year has been reduced, however, by 20 percent in comparison with 2001. Baikov said this is the result of antiterrorism operations in Afghanistan, which have led to a decrease in the amount of illegal drugs being trafficked to Bashkortostan. Baikov also called for the adoption of stricter legislation against illegal drug trafficking and sales in Russia. Baikov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service the same day that a draft law developed by the Bashkir legislature on this topic was not supported in Moscow.

Republican Farms Told To Return Misused Funds
Bashkir Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Vakhitov told a republic-wide seminar of agricultural manufacturers in the Ilishevskii Raion on 26 June that the audit conducted by the Russian Finance Ministry on Bashkortostan's farms revealed embezzlement of 15 million rubles ($477,000) throughout the republic. The ministry audited the use by farms of state subsidies in 2000-2001 and the first quarter of 2002. It found that more than 1.7 million rubles were improperly used in the Tuimazy Raion, 725,000 rubles ($23,000) in the Buzdyak Raion, 541,000 rubles ($17,000) in the Sterletamaq Raion, and 324,000 rubles ($10,000) in the Davlekan Raion. Vakhitov urged agricultural manufacturers to return the misused funds, or else, he said, state subsidies for this year will be reduced by the amount that was misappropriated.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Demand For Putin Busts Grows
Demand for cast-iron busts of Russian President Vladimir Putin is growing, Ural-Press-Inform reported on 25 June. Kusinskii Mashinostroitelnyi Zavod in Chelyabinsk Oblast issues some 15 busts a month. Administrations of krais, oblasts, cities, and raions as well as legal entities are the main customers, the plant officials told the agency. The busts, weighing 45 kilograms, cost 36,000 rubles ($1,145). Production began in 2001.

Stepankov Comments On Merger Of Komi-Permyak Okrug, Perm Oblast
Deputy presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Valentin Stepankov praised the strategy of merger of Russia's regions, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 21 June. Stepankov stressed that economic realities proves the necessity of such merger, adding that issues of interethnic relations should be resolved correctly. Stepankov commented on plans for the merger of the Perm Oblast and Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug, calling them a complex issue. He said he does not think that the Komi-Permyak Okrug leadership is creating obstacles to the process because it fears losing its independence.

Convicted Businessman Seeks To Repeat Success In Nizhnii Mayoral Elections
Nizhnii Novgorod businessman Andrei Klimentyev, who has been convicted in court twice, announced on 25 June that he will run in the Nizhnii Novgorod mayoral elections slated for 14 September, "Kommersant" reported on 27 June. Klimentyev won the 1998 mayoral campaign by collecting 2 percentage points more than then-Mayor Sergei Gorin but the race results then were announced invalid and Klimentyev was sentenced to six years in prison for loan fraud. In 2001, after having served his term of in prison, Klimentyev took part in the gubernatorial elections in which came fifth with 10 percent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his meeting with Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev on 24 June, recommended the governor take the elections under vigilant control, reported the same day. Khodyrev told the agency that "not a single candidacy for the post delighted the Russian president."

"Kommersant" also named on 25 June incumbent Mayor Yurii Lebedev, State Duma Deputies Vadim Bulavinov and Dmitrii Savelyev, and Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Legislative Assembly Deputy Chairman Mikhail Dikin as possible candidates.

Alternative Service Detachment In Nizhnii Resumes Its Work In Hospital
Participants in an experiment on alternative civil service in Nizhnii Novgorod continued performing their duties in the First Gradskaya Hospital, "Nizhegorodskie novosti" reported on 27 June. The decision was made following the meeting with Mayor Yurii Lebedev, reported on 25 June. Lebedev suggested that 20 servicemen defend in a court their right to pass alternative service and guaranteed that the city administration will support them. The experiment participants stopped their work after the State Duma refused on 20 June to recognize the Nizhnii Novgorod and Perm experiments on alternative service as valid. The experiment in Nizhnii Novgorod began on 4 January 2002.

Samara Oblast Legislature Passes Amendment To Enable Governor Titov To Run For Third Term
The Samara Oblast Duma passed on 26 June amendments to the oblast charter permitting Governor Konstantin Titov to run for a third term in office, reported the same day. Amendments were also passed to prohibit heads of local self-government bodies to be elected as parliament deputies.

Saratov Duma Harmonizes Law On Governor
The Saratov Oblast Duma on 27 June satisfied a protest by the oblast prosecutors' office against provisions of the oblast's law on the oblast governor, which contradicted federal legislation, reported the same day. The Duma harmonized the law by depriving a governor of the right to create executive bodies. Under the federal law on general principles of the formation of legislative and executive bodies in the subjects of the Russian Federation, only supreme executive bodies of federation subjects are given such a right.

Seven Residents Die Of Poisoning
Seven residents, two of them children, died as a result of poisoning with sodium nitrite in Rtishchevo in Saratov Oblast, Saratovbusinessconsulting reported on 24 June. A packet containing 300 grams of poisonous powder was eaten by residents of one local apartment building. The substance looks like salt and has a similar taste.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Miners' Hunger Strike Finishes Successfully
Ten miners of the Vakhrushevugol coal-mining company ended their hunger strike after the administration fully satisfied their demands, "Novyi region" reported on 24 June. The strikers began their action on 19 June to demand repayment of back wages and continued it for three days. The miners have been paid for 2001 and for April and May 2002.

EES Board Member Repeats Call For Federal Rule In Ulyanovsk Oblast
Andrei Trapeznikov, a board member of the Russian Unified Energy Systems (EES), told a press conference on 21 June in Nizhnii Novgorod that Mezhregionhaz will restrict gas deliveries to Ulyanovsk Oblast as of 1 July, reported on 21 July. Trapeznikov said Ulyanovskenergo owes energy suppliers, including Mezhregiongaz, 2 billion rubles ($63.6 million). Trapeznikov repeated a proposal he made three days earlier to introduce direct federal management in the oblast. Ulyanovsk Oblast authorities called the proposal political blackmail, the agency said.

Communists Stage Picket In Ulyanovsk
Some 1,000 people took part in a demonstration on 21 June in Ulyanovsk organized by the local branch of the Communist Party to mark the 61st anniversary of the beginning of the World War II in Russia and to protest the switching off of energy and hot water, high municipal-service prices, and low wages, "Mozaika" reported on 24 June.

EBRD Renews Credits To Municipal Bodies In Ural District
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has renewed its practice of providing credit to municipal authorities in Russia, which was stopped after Russia's August 1998 default, "Novyi region" reported on 21 June. The first credit will be granted to Surgut to develop infrastructure, the agency said citing the Ural Federal District Foreign Investment Council.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova