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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 15, 2000

15 June 2000
Shaimiev Believes Putin will not Create Unitary State
8 June 2000

Tatarstan's President, Mintimer Shaimiev, said he does not believe that Vladimir Putin wants to create a unitary state. Shaimiev made his comments on the recent events that took place in Russia in an interview with the Russian state television channel, RTR, on 8 June. He said Putin understands dictatorship only as a dictatorship of law. In Shaimiev's opinion, Putin can't allow Russia to define itself as a obscure part of the civilized world with a unitary state [ruled by] a dictatorial regime. He said Tatarstan's residents don't fear words such as "strong power" since "there was always strong power in Tatarstan, and there wasn't a struggle as there is in many regions between the governors and administration heads." Shaimiev believes that the system of federative relations in Russia cannot be changed radically. He said the main thing is that Russia has moved from totalitarianism, [and] chosen a democratic path of development, while it could have become the second Soviet Union, just smaller. Shaimiev said "it is natural that the new President decided to establish efficient vertical power. It is quite another issue how well everything was thought through. One can have different opinions about this." In response to a question whether movement towards a unitary state or confederation with resulting disintegration is more dangerous for Russia, Shaimiev answered that neither suits Russia. Russia needs democratic federalism, he said. Shaimiev added that he wouldn't feel any personal danger if a draft law on the possible dismissal of the heads of territorial entities is adopted. He said "I do not steal, I do not dip into state pockets, do my work, and feel the firm support of the people."

Shaimiev On Road Construction In Tatarstan
8 June 2000

Tatarstan's official daily "Respublika Tatarstan" published on 8 June an article by the President Mintimer Shaimiev, on road construction in the republic. The article states that annual road construction in the republic increased from 220 kilometers in 1991 to 740 kilometers in 1999. Of a total of 22,000 kilometers of roads in Tatarstan, 33 percent are dirt surface. Though Tatarstan has the lowest road tax in Russia � 1.8 percent instead of the average 2.5 percent, the republican Road Fund collects 3.2 billion rubles a year, while in Russia as a whole the figure is 30 billion rubles. Shaimiev wrote that although the former Russian Motor-Road Ministry withdrew money collected in the republic, Tatarstan also passed its own law on a Road Fund under which all collected revenues remain in the republic and are used to develop both local and federal roads. Tatarstan is constructing a 13.8 kilometer bridge through Kama near Soroch'i Gory and covering all expenses of the $450 million project. This year, 600 million rubles were allocated for this bridege construction project, while Tatarstan continues to search for investments to accelerate the work.

Nationalists Burned Map Of Russia
12 June 2000

Nationalist opposition activists burned a map of Russia with new federal districts marked on it at a protest meeting in Chally on 12 June, Tatar-inform reported. Leaders of the Tatar Public Center Chally branch who organized the meeting claimed that creation of the federal districts is a threat to Tatarstan's sovereignty, and that the plan contradicts Article 4 of the Russian Federation Sovereignty Declaration pledging the popular right to self-determination. Some 1,000 meeting participants passed a resolution demanding abolition of the Russian presidential decree which creates federal districts, since it contradicts the Russian Constitution and the constitutions of Russian territorial entities. They also spoke against adoption of the law which provides for dismissing the heads of territorial entities. The resolution says it is usurping the rights of territorial entities to require that they bring their constitutions in harmony with the Russian Constitution since the constitutions were adopted within the framework of bilateral treaties with Moscow. The resolution also calls to stop the Chechen war and start negotiations with Aslan Maskhadov, and not to allow any restrictions of freedom of speech.

Interior Ministry Concerned Over Religious Sects
14 June 2000

Officials from Tatarstan's interior bodies told a press conference devoted to religious extremism on 14 June that over 1,200 different religious organizations currently exist in Tatarstan while in 1998, they were only 38. Representatives from the Interior Ministry expressed concern about a growing number of religious sects most of which are untraditional. The December explosion of a pipe-line near Kukmor was also reported to be linked to religious extremism. Deputy Interior Minister, Renat Timerzyanov, referred to unnamed officials who were influenced by sects and transferred state resources to their accounts. It was also reported that activities of religious communities were not regulated by legislation. The Council on Religious Affairs of the Cabinet of Ministers is developing a state concept of Tatarstan' religious policies.

Russian Air Companies Attracted By TU-214
14 June 2000

Tatarstan's Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Kogogin, said that the TU-214 aircraft produced by the Gorbunov Industrial Aviation Association in Kazan will probably be put into use on passenger airlines this year, although the republican government gave up the idea to buy a plane for the air company Tatarstan, the daily "Vremya i Den'gi" reported on 14 June. Russian aviation companies "Sibir'", "Rossiya", "Pulkovo" expressed their interest in TU-214. In February, a protocol of intent was signed with Aeroflot, and in late May it was agreed to give Khabarovsk company "Dal'avia" two TU-214 planes to lease. Last week, an agreement between air companies "Transaero" (Moscow) and "Krasnoyarsk airlines", Kazan Gorbunov plant, and Tatarstan's Tupolev scientific-research complex was signed to finance the completion of 10 TU-214 plane production. A contract on the project is expected to be signed in November. The chairman of "Transaero" Managers Board, Aleksandr Pleshakov, said that in some technical criteria the TU-214 is better than its foreign competitors. Previously, "Transaero" used only foreign planes, Pleshakov said. "Transaero" intends not only to use TU-214 but also to sell them abroad. For that purpose, an export variant of the TU-214 was designed which is equipped with Rolls-Royce engine.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova