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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 24, 2001

24 August 2001
Tatarstan's Right-Wing Parties Discuss Consequences of 1991 Coup Attempt
The SPS branch in Tatarstan on 21 August organized a discussion on the 10th anniversary of the August 1991 coup attempt. Participants agred that businessmen enjoyed more benefits from the new life as compared to pensioners or state employees. Some said that the coup itself represented an agony of Communist Party system, while the others said that it only was a war of symbols, in which one side didn't know what it was fighting for, and the other did not know what it was defending.

Shaimiev Says Putin Turning His Back on Democracy
President Mintimer Shaimiev told the press conference devoted to the anniversary of August coup on 19 August that in some of his actions, Russian President Vladimir Putin "has turned back from democratic norms, but this is temporarily for the sake of building a strong state."

Gasoline Prices to Remain Stable
"Vechernyaya Kazan" on 22 August said that there will not be any significant change in gas prices in Tatarstan during September, largely because there are several competing firms providing gas to the republic.

Schoolchildren to Pay For Books But at Low Prices
Tatarstan's State Books Selling Company director Elvira Vilkova told "Respublika Tatarstan" on 24 August that her enterprises will keep prices for school books low to protect family budgets.

Richer Regions Less Attentive to Ecological Issues
A commission of Tatarstan's Ecological Ministry inspected the oil-rich regions in the South-West of Tatarstan and found a large number of illegal dumping grounds, even though these areas had enough funds for taking care of the urban and industrial waste, Efir TV reported on 19 August. Ecology Minister Boris Petrov sharply criticized the inaction of the oil regions in this regard.

Government to Investigate Cholera Outbreak
"Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 24 August that the government will look into the cholera outbreak only in September because of republic day celebrations and the start of school. The paper said that Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov is likely to be blamed for allowing the outbreak to take place. And it added that city residents want someone held to account for the spread of the disease.

Ecological Map Locates Potential Disaster Sites
A newly published ecological map of Tatarstan produced by Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences shows that Yashel Uzen, Tuben Kama, Tukay and Bogelme regions are in the greatest danger of becoming ecological disaster sites, the republic press reported on 22 August.

Tatarstan Airways Lacks Funds to Repair Planes
Tatarstan Airways lacks the funds to repair all of its planes, and as a result, the government has allotted 119 million rubles to it to take care of four of its 12 most actively used craft, "Vostochny Ekspress" reported on 24 August. The airway company said that its passenger traffic was up 19 percent during the first half of 2001 after being stagnant the previous five years.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Tatar Cultural Autonomy Again Turns to Courts to Seek Registration
The republic's Tatar Ethnic Cultural Autonomy, which failed to obtain registration from Bashkortostan's Justice Ministry during the last 2 years, has appealed to the Volga federal district prosecutor complaining on violation of its rights, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 21 August.

Tatar Organization Join Tatarstan's People's Front
The Bashkortostan Branch of the Tatar Public Center on 22 August endorsed a resolution on joining the People's Front of Tatarstan's public organizations for defending the republic's statehood, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported. The leader of the unregistered Tatar Ethnic Cultural Autonomy in Bashkortostan, TPC member Marat Ramazanov said his organization "would never join a similar People's Front for defending Bashkortostan's independence, because it didn't give his people anything at all."

Belebey Tatar Gymnasium Complains of Administrative Pressure
Following the demands of local administration, the Tatar gymnasium in Belebey had to remove the Tatar-language welcome sign from the school's entrance. In his interview with RFE/RL on 21 August, gymnasium principle Nurmukhemmet Khoseinov said that this was the result of unlawful and unprecedented administrative pressure. He also stated that he would sue the local administration seeking to return the old sign. Khoseinov added that beginning from this school year his students would begin learning the Latin-based Tatar script.

Ufa Daily On Russia's Flag Day
"Vechernyaya Ufa" wrote on 21 August that the modern tricolor Russian flag adopted as a state symbol on 22 August, 1991, would become a real state symbol only for next generation of Russian citizens.

Average Monthly Wage in Bashkortostan Twice That of State Employees...
Average monthly wages in Bashkortostan increased to 2691 rubles [$92] during the second quarter of 2001, Minister of Labor and Social Security Fayat Shaybakov said on 23 August. Shaybakov noted that state employees' wages were only half that figure.

...While Agricultural Workers Still Not Paid in Full
Bashkortostan's minister of labor also mentioned that back wages owed to the workers of different economy spheres of the republic now total 940 million rubles [$32,19 million]. He commented on this figure by saying that it remained unchanged for a long period already and there were almost no wages arrears to the state employees, while about 50% of that sum was owed to agricultural industry workers.

Bashkortostan to Pioneer Region Satellite Broadcasting in Russia
The general director of Bashkortostan's Satellite TV communications company Yuri Matveev said on 22 August that the republic would become the first Russian region to launch a program for satellite-based TV broadcasting. He also called for developing a system of e-commerce.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Chelyabinsk�s Sumin Promises Muslims Support for Construction of Mosques
Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petrs Sumin met with Chelyabinsk and Kurgan Mufti Gabdulla Shakaev to discuss construction of mosques in Kopeisk and in the Chelyabinsk Metallurgy district, Ural-press-inform reported on 17 August. Sumin promised support of the oblast authorities in this undertaking as well as in celebration of 55th anniversary of the mosque in Miasskii khutor and in organizing forthcoming conference of Chelyabinsk Oblast imams.

Chelyabinsk Miners Threaten Strike
The trade union committee of the Korkinskii coal-bed in the Chelyabinsk Oblast addressed to Chelyabinskugol general manager Nikolai Sytnikov its demand to fully repay back wages by 1 January 2002, adding that any failure in this regard will lead to a strike, reported on 21 August.

Nizhnii Ecologists Accuse Sintez of Indirect Financing Chechen Separatists
Nizhnii Novgorod ecological center Dront head Askhat Kayumov and Major-General Venedikt Yashkin told a press conference on 17 August that the production of the Dzerzhinsk Sintez ethyl liquid manufacturer is being smuggled to Chechnya and used there in illegal production of ethyl gasoline, reported. Kayumov and Yashkin said that the Dzerzhinsk company is the only ethyl liquid producer in Europe, so they suppose it is Sintez that supplies Chechen ethyl gasoline facilities. They estimated annual income from the sale of fuel illegally produced in Chechnya to total $100 million. They called on authorities to stop production of ethyl liquid in Dzerzhinsk. Sintez leaderson 20 August rejected the accusations against the company calling them a �provocation� against Dzerzhinsk Mayor Sergei Trofimov. They said no one can exclude that part of the company�s production is delivered anyway to Chechnya but noted that in such case, not the manufacturer but law enforcement bodies are responsible for that.

Nizhnii Mosques Held Summer Islam Courses
More than 100 schoolchildren finished summer Islam courses in Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast where they studied principles of Islam, the Arab language, Koran, Muslim ethic and culture, reported on 17 August.

200 Orenburg Soldiers to Serve in Tajikistan
Two hundred servicemen left Orenburg for Dushanbe to join the 201st motorized rifle division of the Volga-Ural military district now located in Tajikistan, reported on 21 August. Oblast enlistment official Aleksei Ivanov told ITAR-TASS that half of them are soldiers who have served at least one year, while the remainder are volunteers.

Strela To Deliver 50 Ka-226 To Gazprom
Orenburg�s Strela general manager Sergei Grachev told ITAR-TASS on 20 August that Gazprom will purchase from his company 50 Ka-226 helicopters. Seven more helicopters have been ordered by the Emergency Situations Ministry, he said.

Convicts May Be Forced to Work Rather than Serve Time
The manager of the international project on alternatives for imprisonment in Russia Ilya Belkin said on 17 August that work sentences may replace prison sentences for some crimes in Samara Oblast, reported. The project is financed by the Great Britain�s International Development Department at the support of the Russian Justice Ministry.

Tobolsk Traffic Control Officers End Hunger Strike
Eight Tobolsk traffic control officers ended a hunger strike they began on 16 August to demand a 70 percent increase in salary and to protest the adoption of the new Labor Code, reported on 20 August. The officers continued to work during the hunger-strike. After head of the Tobolsk traffic control officers trade union Mirshat Saitov was invited to the prosecutors office on 17 August, however, the union the next day decided to stop the protest action.

Plant Destroying Rocket Engines to Be Built in Udmurtia
Udmurtia�s International Relations Minister Viktor Vikulov said on 16 August that a plant for the decommissioning of rocket engines may be constructed near Votkinsk in 2003, reported.

Court Says Ecologists Meeting Illegal
A court has held that permission given by Votkinsk Mayor Valerii Fridrikh to ecologists seeking to hold a meeting against the construction of a rocket fuel destruction plant was illegal, reported on 16 August. Fridrikh said he will contest the decision. The protest action of the ecologists lasted for two weeks, and several participants were arrested. On 17 August, unknown young men attacked the camp of the protesters near Votkinsk and beat the ecologists.

Six Percent Of Ulyanovsk�s Aviastar Shares to Be Sold
The Ulyanovsk Oblast Property Fund said on 16 August that it will sell through an auction 6 percent of Aviastar aircraft company shares, reported. Some 200 million rubles ($6.9 million) worth of shares were seized in May 2001 to cover the company�s debts.

Trade Unions Oppose Amending New Labor Code
The leaders of trade unions of the Volga, Central, and Ural Federal Districts agreed to protest amendments to the new Labor Code, reported on 20 August. They are unhappy with amendments according to which pensions for working pensioners must be cut, funds of social and medical insurance merged, and children nursing is not included in women�s length of service. The Nizhnii Novgorod machine building companies trade union, however, on 21 August decided to support the new Labor Code, union chairman Viktor Samusev told the same day. But the union at the same time proposed several amendments to the code including restrictions on work of women in the night-time, and privileges for families with children.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova