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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 25, 2001

25 May 2001
Shaimiev Wants an Elected Federation Council
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 23 May told Interfax that the Federation Council should become an elected body. The current method of its constitution, he said, violates democratic procedures. In other comments, he said that at least some of the Federation Council's functions can be taken over by the State Council.

Parliament Preserves Ban on Nuclear Fuel Imports
The parliament on 24 May passed on the first reading amendments to republic legislation under the harmonization process, but the republic act still prohibits imports of dangerous wastes including nuclear ones. Speaker Farid Mukhametshin said that in this partial harmonizationis better than no harmonization at all.

Mukhametshin Promotes Tatarstan�s Citizenship
Speaker Farid Mukhametshin on 17 May told the international conference on human rights that depriving the federation subjects of the right to identify their citizenship is a violation of the European convention on human rights and an infringement on an individual's right to choose citizenship.

Officials, Scientists On Wahhabism
Rinat Nabiev, the Chairman of the governmental Council on Religions Affairs, said in an interview published in "Respublika Tatarstan" that the problem of Wahhabism has been overly politicized. He said that in Tatarstan, there are no Wahhabis' main basis � their jamaats, and that there is no social basis for. Despite that, he said, Wahhabi literature continues to appear. Nabiev said he is against prohibiting Wahhabism. Also in that issue of the paper, Rovel Kashapov, an FSB spokesman, noted that no legislative act in Russia defines Wahhabism as a crime. Moreover, he added, a close examination of Wahhabi literature has not found any calls to national, racist, or religious discord. Tatarstan�s First Deputy Mufty Valiulla khazrat said that "our Religious Board managed to take a middle course between extremes" and that "in one or two years" Wahhabism will disappear. Historian Damir Iskhakov called for the creation of a United Muslim Center must be formed in Russia or there will be a lot of problems. He said that it should not be located in Moscow and he said that the Russian government should reduce its links with Orthodoxy.

Only One Madrasah Graduate in Ten Works in Islamic Institutions
The Tatarstan Muslim Religious Board said that only 10 percent of graduates from madrasahs remain work in Islamic institutions, reported on 23 May.

Historican Criticizes Volga District Re-Regionalization Project
Historian Damir Iskhakov told RFE/RL�s Tatar-Bashkir service on 22 May that the project "On the threshold of new regionalization" developed in the Volga Federal District is "unacceptable" for Tatarstan. He said that its authors do not understand the necessity of taking into account interests of ethnic elites during creation of new regions. Setting up new regions in Russia will require length and careful negotiations. He added that "uniting Tatars into the Idel-Ural region is not a bad thing for them" but that it will require the elaboration of new institutions.

KamAZ Given Back NefAZ Controlling Interest
Shareholders of Bashkortostan�s Neftekamsk automobile plant NefAZ have approved the distribution of two million rubles worth of shares to KamAZ, "Respublika Tatarstan" reported on 24 May. That gives the firm a controlling interest again.

Tatarstan Aids Chechen Schools
Tatarstan's Education Ministry has assumed responsibility for helping to rebuild and operate schools in Gudermes, reported on 23 May.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan To Resume Oil Prospecting
Ufa has allocated over 500 million rubles ($17 million) for oil industry development and prospecting in 2001, Bashinform reported on 24 May.

Energy Being Wasted in Ufa
The Ufa mayor's office has found numerous cases of energy being wasted in the city, reported on 22 May. The facilities checked were using on average 30 percent more energy than needed.

Petroleum Congress Calls for Revision of Laws...
Oil and Gas Industries Congress official Yelena Korzun said on 22 May, "present Russian legislation doesn't protect the interests of middle and small oil companies, which are not integrated with industrial giants." She called for introducing the different laws in order to regulate the operations of large and middle-size companies.

...the Formation of an Oil Reserve...
The National Oil and Gas Industries Union president Vladimir Medvedev said on 24 May in Ufa that "Russia needs to establish a state Oil Reserve, which would help in providing guarantees to foreign investments just like the state Gold Reserve does."

State Assembly on Smoking Restrictions, Harmonization
The Representative Chamber of Bashkortostan State Assembly convened on 25 May to discuss draft bills restricting smoking and also continued harmonization of republic legislation, the presidential press service reported.

Bashkir Businesses Look to Turkey as Model
Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Robert Vagapov said on 22 May that Bashkortostan plans to draw on Turkish experience in developing industrial sites in suburban areas.

Free Apartments Program To Continue
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov said on 23 May that Bashkortostan "has had to resume the state-sponsored housing program."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Chuvashia�s Fedorov Receives Peter The Great Prize
President Nikolai Fedorov was given a Peter the Great prize for his contributions to the social and economic development of the republic, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 May. The prize is presented by the managers' club of Russia.

KPRF in Chuvashia Attracts New Members
The KPRF in Chuvashia announced on 18 May that 205 people had joined the party during the Lenin Appeal in March, VolgaInform reported. There are now 4300 party members in Chuvashia, 40 percent of whom are young people.

Marii El, Komi Sign Cooperation Agreement
Komi head Yuri Spiridonov and Marii El President Leonid Markelov on 21 May signed the intergovernmental agreement pledging expanded cooperation and attention to the migration of Komi residents to Mari El.

Foreign Ministry Official in Yoshkar-Ola Arrested For Bribe
Anatoly Isaregorodtsev, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Representative to Yoshkar-Ola, has been detained for taking a $110 bribe, reported.

Marii El Muslims Hold Conference
The first congress of Marii El Muslim organization imams took place on 23 May in Yoshkar-Ola. It discussed strengthening statehood and promoting religious tolerance and patriotism, reported. Delegates from 16 of the republic's 23 congregations took part.

UES Raises Prices by 33 Percent in Marii El
UES raised fees to users by 33 percent as of 1 May, reported on 22 May. The republic energy commission is considering a response.

Newspaper Editor Becomes Presidential Advisor
Valeriy Maresyev, the chief editor of "Izvestiya Mordovii", has been named advisor to the republic's president, reported on 18 May.

Teachers Paid with Vodka
Mordovia�s "Respublika molodaya" reported on 23 May that teachers in rural schools are now receiving vodka in lieu of cash as part of their average monthly salaries of $30.

Lebedev, Sklyarov to Run for Nizhny Governor
Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Yuri Lebedev on 18 May said that he will run for governor of the Nizhny Novgorod oblast, the local news service reported. Meanwhile, the Nizhny Novgorod election commission has registered Governor Ivan Sklyarov as a candidate.

VAZ to Be Assembled In Cairo
AvtoVAZ general Manager Aleksei Nikolaev and Egypt�s Amal Foreign Trade Company Khasan Suleiman signed a contract to deliver spare parts, RBC reported on 21 May.

Titov Denies Rumors He'll Become Deputy Premier
Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on 18 May denied rumors that he is about to be appointed deputy prime minister, "Samara segodnya" reported.

Russian, Hungarian Socialists to Cooperate
Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on 22 May met with heads of Hungary�s leading oppositional party the Hungarian Socialist Party in Budapest to discuss cooperation between socialists in the two countries, VolgaInform reported. HSP leaders promised their support for the social democratic party being set up by Mikhail Gorbachev and Konstantin Titov and for its integration into Sotsintern.

Yabloko in Samara Protests Importing Spent Nuclear Fuel
Yabloko in Samara on 16 May began picketing to protest import of spent nuclear fuel, "Samara segodnya" reported. The party local leader Igor Yermolenko said that majority in Duma "has supported this self-destructive measure for money and privilege despite the opinion of 90 percent of the voters."

Samara Editors Threatened
The editors of Samara�s newspapers "Reporter", "Samarskiye izvestiya", "Samarskaya gazeta" and "Sotsialnaya gazeta" on 23 May held a joint press conference to say that they have been receiving anonymous threats warning them to stop "defaming the city administration and personally the city head".

Fatherland in Chuvashia Elects New Chairman
The Fatherland in Chuvashia conference on 19 May elected Vurnary general manager Vladimir Sveshnikov as a new chairman of the organization's local branch, VolgaInform reported. Sveshnikov said "as a result of merger with Unity, an influential centrist force will appear in Chuvashia which will pretend to play a leading role in political life."

Ayatskov Wants State Power Monopoly Preserved
Saratov Governor Dmitry Ayatskov on 18 May called for keeping the state monopoly on gas and electric power over the next five years, Nizhny Novgorod telegraph agency reported.

Udmurtia's Volkov Says Federation Isn't Helping Recipient-Regions
President Aleksandr Volkov said that the federation is taking from the donor regions without giving much help to the recipient ones, UralBusinessConsulting reported on 18 May.

Udmurtia�s Distilleries to Become Joint-Stock Companies
The Udmurtia government on 22 May issued a resolution on the transformation of the state enterprises "Liquor-vodka plant Glazovsky" and "Sarapul liquor-vodka plant" into joint-stock companies with 100 percent of shares owned by the state. Property Relations Minister Sergei Kasikhin said that "Russian government wants to take a very large share in the plants' shares packages" but that the republic will agree only to 20 percent of the shares going to Moscow.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova