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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 18, 2001

18 May 2001
Constitution Court, Presidential Rep Call for Amending Republic Constitution.
The Russian constitutional court has satisfied a request by Presidential envoy Sergei Kirienko and directed Tatarstand and Bashkortostan to bring their constitutions into line with the all-Russia basic law, "Rossiiskaya gazeta" reported on 16 May. Failure to do so will result in criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment for assembly chairmen, the court said.

Kazan to Allow Foreigners to Buy Shares in Major Companies.
A 15 May government decree allows foreigners to purchase shares in strategic companies, Solid Info reported. Until now, no foreigner could purchase shares in companies like KamAZ, Tatneft, and similar firms. The move is expected to increase the value of shares in these companies.

Radio, Print Media Sweep Republic Media Awards.
No television stations received awards at the annual Billur Kalem Awards ceremony; only newspapers, included Tatarstan Yashlere and Kazanskie Vedomosti and radio stations did. The Yanga Kon program of Tatarstan State Radio was named the best among existing programs, while the commercial BIM FM station was given the Best Station title.

Teachers Discuss Transition to Latin Script.
The education ministry is conducting a seminar for teachers on 18 May concerning the introduction of the Latin script in Tatarstan's schools.

Russian Bankruptcy Bodies Rely on Tatarstan Experience.
A national conference on state regulation of bankruptcy procedures began on 17 May in Kazan. Federal Financial Recovery Service chief Tatyana Trefilova told the reporters the same day that Tatarstan had "unique experience in reviving its industries after declaring them bankrupt" and she said that the republic's approach should be implemented elsewhere.

Tatneft Boosts Oil Extraction...
The Tatneft company increased its monthly output by 5,9%, Tatarstan media reported on 17 May.

...But Moscow Plant Refuses To Cooperate with It,
The Moscow Oil Refining Plant has cancelled its contract with Tatneft Oil Company, Russian media reported on 18 May. This will likely force Tatneft to seek a new partner for producing gasoline because the oil company owns some 150 filling stations in Moscow area.

By Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan To Celebrate Russian Sovereignty Declaration Anniversary.
In his 15 May decree on celebration of Declaration of sovereignty of the Russian Federation anniversary, President Murtaza Rakhimov called for explanatory work among the population about the role of the Russian Declaration on State Sovereignty in contemporary history of Russia, Bashinform reported.

Half of Bashkir WWII Participants Died in Combat.
In his victory day speech, President Murtaza Rakhimov noted that only 50 percent of the 700,000 Bashkortostan residents who took part in World War II returned home alive, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 13 May. And of those, only 35,000 are still living.

Fatherland Leader Says Unity Only Possible Partner.
The deputy secretary of the Fatherland political council Aleksei Tsaregorodtsev told Bashinform on 11 May that "we want to support Vladimir Putin in all his positive undertakings and only Unity is a worthy partner for Fatherland."

CPSU Said to Provide Model for Unity-Fatherland.
Bakiev told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 11 May that the new union party should draw on the experience of the CPSU in order to better serve President Vladimir Putin. He said that the CPSU had "many positive features, and we will use them."

SPS in Bashkortostan Holds Conference.
The Union of Right Forces group in the republic will hold a conference on 18 May to discuss transforming the SPS into a a political party and to elect delegates to the SPS congress.

Infant Mortality Rate Falls.
Deputy Health Minister Saliya Murzabaeva said on 11 May that the infant mortality rate had fallen by 18 percent over the last five years and that deaths of newborns had fallen by 25 percent over the same period.

Bashkortostan Hosts Anti-Dioxin Congress.
An international congress devoted to combatting the impact of dioxins starts on 20 May, Bashinform reported.

Nigmatulin Supports Import of Spent Nuclear Fuel.
Duma deputy Robert Nigmatulin said in an interview published in "Izvestiya" on 7 May that he favors the importation of spent nuclear fuel in order to earn money. He noted that such imports must be handled with extreme care but added that Russia has the capacity to do that.

Ufa Authorities Collect Money For Large Families.
The Ufa administration collected via a charity marathon on 15 May more than 500,000 rubles ($1,700) to help large and needy familiesin the city, Bashinform reported.

One Teenager in Eight Uses Drugs.
Bashkortostan's clinics report that 12 percent of teenages aged 14 to 17 use drugs and 91 percent drink alcohol at least occasionally, Bashinform reported on 16 May.

By Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvashia Parliament Amends Electoral Law.
The Chuvashia legislature on 15 May passed amendments to the presidential electoral law to allow presidential elections to be valid if at least 25 percent of voters take part, VolgaInform reported. The deputies also dismissed vice speaker Nikolai Stepanov and elected Viktor Letunovsky and Margarita Fedorova as new deputies of the State Council Chairman.

FSB Official to Run for Chuvashia President.
Stanislav Voronov, the First Deputy FSB Investigation Department Board Head, said that he has finally decided to run for Chuvashia president, reported on 15 May. LDPR Meets with Chuvashia Presidential Candidates. Andrei Bronitsyn, coordinator of LDPR in Chuvashia, said that his party is holding talks with candidates for Chuvashia presidency but still has not decided whom it will, VolgaInform reported on 13 May. LDPR has not nominated its own candidate as "no one is worthy," Bronitsyn added. He said that LDPR has over 10,000 members and is supported by 10 percent of the electorate.

Chuvashia Servicemen Unhappy with Housing Program.
Aleksei Skvortsov, the chairman of the Chuvashia Union of Reserve Servicemen, told VolgaInform on 11 May that the republic's housing certificate program has failed completely. Only 31 of the promised 240 new units have been delivered in the past year, and more than 1100 familes are still waiting for housing.

Marii El CEC Registers State Assembly Candidates.
The Central Electoral Commission said that five candidates will compete for parliament in the 3 June elections in Volzhsk, 12 in Novotoryal electoral disrtict, and nine and seven respectively in two districts of Yoshkar-Ola, reported on 13 May.

Samara, Chechen Republic Sign Cooperation Agreement.
Chechnya administration head Akhmad Kadyrov and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on 11 May signed an economic and cultural cooperation agreement, ITAR-TASS reported. Kadyrov met with Chechen diaspora in the Samara mosque. Titov Upset by Military District Merger. Samara Governor Konstantin Titov said that he considers it inexpedient to merge the Volga and Urals military districts . He said it will cost at least 10 billion rubles ($346 million) to make the change and noted that these funds would better spent on armaments and training.

Volga Cossack Chieftains Appeal To Prosecutor General.
The chieftains union of the Volga Cossack society headed by Boris Gusev on 11 May called on the Russian Prosecutor General for a legal evaluation of the Saratov Cossack society led by Vladimir Koloskov, reported. Gusev believes that Koloskov's efforts to convene a krug are illegal.

Federal Inspector Becomes Saratov Airlines Board Head.
The Saratov Airlines managers board elected chief federal inspector to Saratov oblast Rinat Khalikov as its chairman, reported on 15 May. Meanwhile, Saratov air traffic control officers announced on 14 May that they will join the 25 May protest action held by the central trade union to demand a 50 percent pay increase, reported.

Saratov Governor Appeals to Audit Chamber.
Dmitry Ayatskov on 14 May appealed to Audit Chamber head Sergei Stepashin for an investigation into the financial affairs of the oblast government, reported. He made the appeal because of public accusations by former vice governor Vyacheslav Volodin of financial improprieties.

Inter-Party Coalition Set Up In Nizhny.
Unity, Fatherland, and SPS in Nizhny Novgorod have formed a coalition of inter-party forces, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 May. The new body chairman, Duma deputy and Unity in Nizhny leader Aleksandr Kosarikov said that the coalition s aim is to promote dialogue between the people and the power. Officials May Publish Information on Criminal Pasts of Candidates. Deputy Presidential Envoy to the Volga Federal District Valentin Stepankov told local officials in Perm that law enforcement bodies must prevent criminals from being elected to positions of authorities, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 11 May. One way to do that, he said, is to publish information about their criminal pasts.

Metropolitan Vladimir Visits Samara.
Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and Ukraine visited Samara on 12-13 May to take part in celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Samara archbishops board, "Samara segodnya" reported.

Azerbaijani Terrorist Caught in Samara Oblast.
The Samara UFSB arrested in Tolyatti Elchin Zeinalov who is wanted by Azerbaijani General Prosecutor's Office on charges of organizing an illegal military unit in that Caucasus republic, the Russian FSB press service reported on 12 May.

By Gulnara Khasanova