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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 18, 2001

18 January 2001
Tatarstan Officials Remain Unhappy With Russian Passports
"Vechernyaya Kazan" on 13 January reported that Tatarstan ombudsman Rashit Vagizov has called the passport resolution passed by the Russian government on 5 January a "return to unitarism." He said that "we fought this supplement, and everything has been in vain." Meanwhile, parliamentary legislative commission chairman Midkhat Kurmanov called the entire saga "a cruel anecdote." The paper added that the insert agreed upon by Kazan and Moscow in December in fact represented a version rejected by Tatarstan's State Council in 1997 because the four pages can be included or not depending on the will of the bearer.

Federal Official Says Customs Must Be Above Suspicion
The chief federal inspector in Tatarstan Marsel Galimardanov on 11 January told the republic customs board that its officials must behave in ways that are above suspicion. The board's acting head, Nikolai Kotsubenko, said that the service had performed "satisfactorily" over the past year, collecting some eight billion rubles for the state budget.

Tatarstan Collects More Taxes -- But Sends More to Moscow
The deputy head of the Russian Tax Ministry Tatarstan board Midkhat Shagiakhmetov on 16 January said that tax collections in the republic had more than doubled over the past year and amounted to 50 billion rubles. In the current year, he said, Tatarstan will transfer half of tax revenue to the federal budget; up to now it had transferred only 15 percent.

Tatneft To Boost Cooperation With German Firm in Iraq
Tatneft General Manager Shafagat Takhautdinov on 16 January told Tatar-inform that his company would cooperate with the German Mineral Oil Roshtoff Handel (MRH) in promoting its projects in Iraq. Tatneft will drill 33 wells and take part in drilling of 45 more in that country.

Some Interior Ministry Officers Involved in Crime
Tatarstan Interior Minister Asgat Safarov on 15 January sharply criticized some of his staff for their involvement in criminal activities, Tatar television reported. During 2000, 64 interior ministry officials had been sentenced for criminal acts, he said, and more than 20 additional officials are under investigation. The personnel deficiencies are compounded by lack of education and suicides.

Moscow Correspondent Arrested in Kazan
Police in Kazan arrested Aleksandr Postnov, a correspondent of Moscow's "Express-Khronika" after he accepted a bribe from a local drug trading company for suppressing an article, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 15 January.

Gorbachev Waits for Shaimiev
The deputy head of the ROSDP's Tatarstan branch Airat Akhmetzyanov on 17 January told Interfax that the party leader Mikhail Gorbachev will make a final decision on running for president of Tatarstan once he knows that Mintimir Shaimiev will not run.

Chally Nationalist Leaders Appeal To Future President
The council of Chally nationalist parties and organizations on 11 January told RFE/RL that they seek a republic president prepared to live up to the provisions of the 1992 republic constitution and to pursue full statehood. They also want someone who will promote Latinization of the alphabet.

No Trains in Boegelme
All suburban runs on the Kuibyshev railway in eastern Tatarstan have been suspended because of losses, Tatar television reported on 11 January. Local governments were unable or unwilling to cover the losses and allow these trains to continue to carry passengers.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Moscow Remains Unhappy with Bashkortostan Constitution
According to an RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir report, Moscow continues to maintain that some 50 paragraphs in the Bashkortostan constitution violate federal standards. Russian Deputy General Prosecutor Aleksandr Zvyagintsev sent to Bashkortostan State Assembly a message specifying that republics within the federation cannot be sovereign states and that their constitutions should not refer to even limited sovereignty. He added that the constitution's norms about citizenship as well as control of natural resources are illegal and unconstitutional. Moreover, he argued that the republic's legislature must be reelected under a renewed constitution and he said that the republic's executive power couldn�t include both a president and a Prime Minister.

Bashkortostan Sends Militiamen To Chechnya
A detachment of 150 militiamen left Ufa for Chechnya to take the place of another republic unit already serving there, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service reported on 12 January. Unit commander Ivan Ishmatkin said that only volunteers were involved and that they would do police work in Chechnya.

Education Minister Sees Progress
Bashkortostan Education Minister Galiya Mukhamadyanova on 13 January told the republic teachers congress that good conditions for the development of education had been provided in the republic, and she thanked the republic heads for their "fraternal concern." The congress discussed improvement in the teaching of the Bashkir language. Tatar language issues were not discussed; the representatives elected by Tatar public organization educational commissions were not admitted to the meeting.

Dairy Production Falls Because of Power Shortages
Farmers have had to reduce dairy production because of energy shortfalls and because they have been unable to pay newly increased electric bills, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 11 January.

Prosecutors Protest Proposed Restrictions
First Deputy Prosecutor General Florid Baikov on 12 January sharply criticized attempts to reduce the functions of his office. His comment came after members of the Duma SPS and Yabloko factions tried to transfer several prosecutorial functions to the justice ministry. Meanwhile, republic Deputy Prosecutor General Ruslan Nasyrov noted that the number of criminal cases not closed by the time allowed in legislation had increased to five percent of the total. He said that this pattern reflected lack of resources and the need to make use of specialist expertise.

Oil Processing Companies Boost Production
The Bashkortostan cabinet on 16 January reported that production at the republic oil processing and petrochemical companies grew by 13 percent over the past year and totaled some 25 million tons of oil. The republic companies are working to 60 percent capacity while in Russia as a whole that parameter is 50 percent. The republic in 2000 invested seven billion rubles into reconstruction and re-equipment of fuel-energy production. And average salaries in the sector rose 30 percent.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Mordovia Harmonizes the Constitution
The Mordovian State Assembly on 10 January amended the republic's Constitution at an extraordinary meeting, reported. The deputies repealed Article 73 on the inviolability of the republic leader and amended Article 70, which still allows the leader to dissolve the legislature. It renamed the Judicial Power paragraph with one called Justices of the Peace and removed the paragraph devoted to the office of the public prosecutor.

District Officials Concerned About Underground Sects in Mordovia
Vladimir Zorin, a deputy presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District, met with the republic prosecutor and the head of FSB local branch to discuss the activities of underground sects, reported on 10 January.

Mordovian Birth Rate Falls but Mortality Rises�
Mordovia's State Statistics Committee on 5 January said that the republic's populaton had fallen by 1.1 percent in the first eleven months of last year, Stolitsa S reported. During that period, deaths exceed births twofold in the republic as a whole, 1.7 times in cities and 2.8 times in rural locations.

�Especially Among Men
Mordovia's Labor and Employment Minister Lyudmila Ivanova on 11 January said that high mortality of the able-bodied male population is now a major problem, with ever more death occuring among younger age groups.

Unemployment Falls in Mordovia
Mordovia's State Statistics Committee on 5 January reported that unemployment had declined by 5,000 people over past year. Registered unemployment now amounts to two percent, the second lowest in the Volga Federal District.

Marii El Asks For More Money�
The federal budget transferred in the current year to Marii El 73 million rubles, reported on 10 January. The payment came after negotiations by the republic President-elect Leonid Markelov with federal officials. But the chief federal inspector in Marii El Valerian Yegorov on 8 January said that the republic budget still faces a deficit of two billion rubles and noted that Moscow will have to provide additional support.

�But Gets Less Gas
Mezhregiongaz on 11 January has reduced gas deliveries to Marii El by 15 percent, reported because of non-payments. The republic branch of the company, Mariiskregiongaz, in turn announced a reduction of gas supplies to consumers despite the cold weather.

Voting in Chuvash Local Elections Begins
Pre-term voting for the 14 January local bodies elections began in Chuvashia, reported on 6 January. Electoral commission head Magsumyan Nurgayanov said that many students from Cheboksary vote early because they will be out of the area on election day. ITAR-TASS reported on 6 January that some of the urban assembly candidates "purchase" votes with vodka or answers to test questions.

Ulyanovsk Governor Takes Office
Ulyanovsk Governor Vladimir Shamanov, who gained fame for his actions in Chechnya and some infamy for what was an extremely dirty election campaign last fall, assumed office on 6 January, Interfax reported. His official inauguration will take place on 19 January. He has promised to raise the salaries of state employees by 40 percent, free food prices, and increase transport and energy tariffs. And he has pledged an "irreconcilable" fight against crime and corruption. He has also expressed his concerns about the legality of some privatization in the republic and created a commission to look into the matter.

Health of Draftees from Ulyanovsk Getting Worse reported on 10 January that 35 percent of draftees from Ulyanovsk were physically unfit when they reported for duty during the fall call-up. The number of drug addicts among them doubled while the number of those infected with HIV increased tenfold.

Saratov To Help Observe Impact of Weapon Destruction
The Saratov regional government on 10 January announced that it would take part in an international ecological monitoring project initiated by TACIS concerning the effects of the destruction of chemical weapons there, Referent-Service reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova