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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 1, 2001

1 February 2001
Prosecutors Say 12 Tatarstan Laws Better Than Federal Acts
Deputy State Council chairwoman Irina Larochkina on 26 January said that the process of forming a single legal space must be a two-way street between Moscow and the regions. Tatarstan Prosecutor Kafil Amirov in response said that his office had managed to avoid confrontation with the Russian prosecutors but that he has appealed to Moscow arguing that 12 Tatarstan laws are better formulated that the equivalent federal acts.

Moscow Prepares Legal Ground for Redividing Regions
Russian Federation Affairs Deputy Minister Valery Kirpichnikov on 29 January told that his ministry is drafting rules allowing for changes in the status and borders of federation subjects in the expectation that they will be adopted by the end of 2001. Any changes will have to be approved by the people, the subject head, and the Russian parliament.

Tatarstan Delegation Visits St. Petersburg
An official delegation headed by Tatarstan State Council chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 25 January participated in the ceremonies of opening a tablet at Piskarev memorial cemetery in St. Petersburg commemorating Tatarstan's native defenders of blockaded Leningrad, Tatar-inform reported. The visitors also attended a conference to mark the 95th anniversary of appearance in St. Petersburg of the first Tatar paper "Nur."

State-Owned Firms To Be Sold
The Tatarstan State Property Committee on 25 January said that the state will sell its shares in 300 joint-stock companies, AK&M reported. It plans to sell 85 percent of shares it currently owns and to retain a stake only in companies on which the republic's economic security depends. Some 1350 republic companies are now state-owned.

Tatarstan Cinema Day In Istanbul
A delegation of Tatarstan film-makers represented Russia at the second film festival of Turkic peoples which opened in Istanbul on 26 January, Tatar-inform reported. Zufar Bukharaev, the Tatarstan Cinematography State Committee chairman, said that a Tatarstan cinema Day was held at the forum alongside with those of seven other Turkic countries.

Journalists Union Rejects Weekly's Arguments
The Tatarstan Journalists Union on 24 January said that the editors� staff of the "Kazanskoye vremya" weekly had in fact violated the federal media law and had not been subject to political persecution as the paper claimed.

Chally Journalists To Defend Women Rights
Participants of the republic conference "Rights for women" on 25 January decided to set up in Chally an association of female journalists charged with solving women's problems with the aid of mass media, reported. Chally feminists said at the forum that women face violations of their rights in the city as men having lower educational level than women more often occupy leading posts.

Tatarstan, Switzerland To Cooperate In Clock Production
Tatar and Swiss watch manufacturers agreed to open a joint venture CI-BA-SWISS in Tatarstan's Chistai, Tatar-inform reported on 26 January. The Swiss side will provide know-how and equipment as its part of the company�s capital and also will appoint its managerial staff.

Petrochemical Company Discusses 2000 Results
The Nizhnekamskneftekhim board on 25 January announced that the company had increased production by 7 percent over past year. Average salary at the company rose by 80 percent and averaged some 4100 rubles ($145) per employee.

Refrigerator Manufacturer To Cooperate With Tatarstan Companies
Farit Shaikhiev, the deputy general manager of Yeshel Uzen Sergo plant (POZIS) said on 26 January that his firm signed a cooperation protocol with 15 republic companies, Tatar-inform reported. According to the document, Tatarstan manufacturers will provide POZIS with spare parts and materials it previously had imported.

Per Minute Phone Charge Prompts Protest
The public organization Pravovoi Tatarstan appealed to the republic Supreme Court against a plan by the Kazan telephone network company and the Tatarstan cabinet to introduce per-minute phone charges, Efir-Inform reported on 31 January.

Tatar Nationalists Unhappy With Closing Muslim School In Chally
The head of the Tatar Public Center in Chally Rafis Kashapov sharply criticized a court decision closing the Chally Yoldyz madrasah as an act of pressure against Muslims and said he would organize a protest meeting, Kazan Efir TV reported on 28 January. Tatarstan Mufti Gusman khazrat Iskhakov also spoke against closing the school saying that if any students are guilty of crimes, they should be punished but the school should not be closed.

Shaimiev Sees No Alternative to Land Sales
President Mintimer Shaimiev told "Kommersant daily" on 31 January that "there is no alternative to the private property and free sale of land. I worked with the old system of social relations and with the present one and that is why I know the practical meaning of land and its importance." He noted that currently 30% of the country's arable land has been abandoned, but in Tatarstan, "not a single hectare has been" because of the republic's legislation allowing for effective land use.

Moscow to Compensate for Reduced Tatarstan Assets
The Russian government will compensate Tatarstan for losses caused by the transition to federal taxation space, Tatarstan's TV reported on 28 January. Moscow will allot 500 million rubles [approx. $ 17 million] for constructing the bridge over Kama river at Sayeskan Tau. In addition, the federal government will transfer 700 million rubles for payments to children and disabled people and about 100 million rubles for World War II veterans.

Magistrate Judges Receive ID Cards But No Offices
The 144 magistrate judges of Tatarstan received their identification cards on 29 January but so far they have not been given offices or hearing rooms of their own. The institution of magistrate has been created to reduce pressure on the regular courts.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova and Iskender Nurmi

Only 300 Copies of Language Documents Printed
A compilation of legal acts concerning Bashkortostan's language policies prepared by the State Science Committee and the Bashkortostan Academy of Sciences has been issued in only 300 copies, local media reported on 25 January.

Ufa Concerned by Rising Tide of Imports
Deputy PM Nikolay Sigakov told the governmental meeting on 25 January that Ufa is increasingly concerned by the growth in imports. He said that this trend threatens domestic producers. In response, the republic government ordered local companies to "saturate the consumer market as well as the industrial machinery market" with their products.

Moscow, Ufa To Share Social Policy Expenses
According to Bashkir press on 26 January, republic expenses for the republic's social policy will exceed 1 billion rubles ($35 million) in 2001. Funding will come from both the federal and the republic budgets.

Ufa Conference Discusses Human Rights Problems
A conference in Ufa sponsored by St. Petersburg's Humanities and Politics Center and by the Council of Europe met at Bashkortostan State University during the last week of January to discuss the state of human rights in the republic and neighboring regions.

Russian Petroleum Producers to Meet in Ufa in May
President Murtaza Rakhimov has signed a decree on the holding of a congress of Russian oil and gas industry producers in Ufa on 22-25 May, republic media reported on 30 January.

More Republic Laws Harmonized
Bashkortostan's State Assembly on 1 February amended republic laws on the mass media, referenda, natural resources, and treaties and security to bring them into conformity with Russian legislation, republic media reported.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Kremlin Wants to Tame Governors�
Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov has been stepping up his efforts to unite regional leaders against Russian President Vladimir Putin's reforms, APN reported on 26 January. In response, the Russian presidential administration is promoting the Golos Rossii movement to restrict the powers of the governors. That movement was originally formed in 1999 and headed by Samara Governor Konstantin Titov. The news agency said that Kremlin officials have been trying to promote its revival and also to enlist Vsya Rossiya into the pro-Kremlin bloc of governors.

�But Chuvashia's Fedorov To Represent Russia at Council of Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin on 29 January appointed Chuvash leader Nikolai Fedorov as a member of the Russia's interdepartmental commission on Council of Europe affairs, reported.

Fedorov Says He Won't Run Again
Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov on 30 January said that he is not going to run again, saying that being president is "infernal, titanic work," Referen-Service reported. But he acknowledged that now "judicially and theoretically" such a possibility exists. He completes his second term in December 2001.

Chuvashia Capital Mayor Reelected
Cheboksary Mayor Anatoli Igumnov on 28 January won a second term with 52 percent of the vote, ITAR-TASS reported. His competitor, republic State Council deputy chairman Nikolai Stepanov, received 42 percent. Twelve other urban and district administration heads and thirteen heads of local elective bodies were also elected the same day. The CEC told on 29 January that Stepanov�s staff had complained about election violations.

Chuvashia Deports Six Turkish Citizens
The Chuvash Migration Service on 29 January deported six Turkish teachers of the Cheboksary Chuvash-Turkish lyceum because their diplomas did not correspond to Russian standards, reported.

Mordovian Opposition Protests Price Increases
Some 1000 followers of Mordovian left-wing political organizations on 27 January held a meeting in Saransk to protest price increases for transportation, rents, and municipal services, reported. The KPRF, Communist Youth Union, and Labor Union organized meeting. State Duma deputy Yevgeny Kosterin criticized the Russian and Mordovian governments for causing a decline in the standard of living.

FSB Arrests Senior Mordovian Tax Inspector
The FSB on 26 January arrested Colonel Nikolai Kutorkin, a senior tax inspector in Mordovia, reported. No charges have been officially announced. In other developments, the republic's interior ministry said that crime had fallen over the past year by seven percent, reported.

Tuberculosis Infections Increase in Mordovia
Saransk officials are building a new tuberculosis center there to combat the growth in the number of tuberculosis infections, reported on 28 January. Federal and republic budgets have allotted 67 million rubles for the 120-bed project.

Marii El Legislature Nominates Federation Council Senator
The Marii El State Assembly on 26 January approved Andrei Torshin, an official of the Russian credit restructuring agency (ARKO) and former deputy head of the Russian governmental administration, to serve in the Federation Council, reported. Torshin said he will seek to promote republic interests there. But one deputy expressed his doubts that anyone living outside the republic could effectively do that.

Marii El's Markelov Worried By Farmers' Debts
Marii El President Leonid Markelov on 26 January said that prosecutors should investigate the 140 million rubles in debt incurred by the agricultural sector, the presidential press service reported. He said some warms are wasting resources and going into debt unnecessarily.

Ulyanovsk Media Now Unanimous in Support of Shamanov on 30 January said that no media outlet in Ulyanovsk oblast now opposes new Governor Vladimir Shumanov. Outlets which had opposed him now extol him, the website said. Immediately after his victory, Shamanov called for investigations into journalists who he said had "thrown too much mud."

Ulyanovsk Deputies Urge Moscow To Support Aviation Industry
The Ulyanovsk oblast legislature on 29 January appealed to Moscow to create conditions for the leasing of domestically produced planes, reported. Volga Federal District presidential representative Sergei Kirienko meanwhile expressed his support for a new law that calls on domestic firms to do just that.

Shkoda to Build Cars in Udmurtia -- But not with Izhmash
Shkoda Auto said on 29 January that it his given up plans to form a joint venture with Izhmash-Avto, Inerfax reported. The sides, which have been negotiating the project since 1994, reportedly failed to agree on which automobile, Shkoda or Izh, would become a priority of their work. A Shkoda spokesman said that Czech car manufacturers are still interested in cooperation with Udmurtia in car production and that his company intends to invest some $500 million in its own assembly firm in Izhevsk independently from Izhmash-avto.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova