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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 9, 2000

9 November 2000
Tatarstan Marks Constitution Day
6 November

Tatarstan's President, Mintimer Shaimiev, stressed in the appeal to the people on the republican Constitution Day on 6 November that "the Constitution became a basis for strengthening civic consent between representatives of different nationalities and religions." Russian agencies commented on the Tatar Constitution issue to mark the Tatar Constitution Day. ITAR-TASS reported the same day that "in experts' opinion, more than a half of the Tatar Constitution paragraphs differ from the Russian one." SMI.Ru noted that if the republican constitutions didn't differ from the federal main law, it would be no use adopting them.

The Tatar Constitution was adopted at the republican referendum a year before the Russian Constitution and passed international expertise. In June, the Russian Constitutional Court took a ruling which recognized republican sovereignties to be not corresponding to federal legislation. But it's state sovereignty which is called "inalienable feature" of Tatarstan in the Constitution's first paragraph. The consent commission was formed to harmonize Tatarstan's laws with federal legislation. The co-chairman of the commission, Marat Galeev, told RIA-Novosti on 6 November that Tatarstan's Constitution will be brought into conformity with the Russian main law in December. Tatarstan's Prosecutor General, Kafil Amirov, has protested over 20 paragraphs of the republican Constitution and 30 more local laws.

Consent Commission Head Says It Works Constructively
2 November

Marat Galeev, the co-chairman of the consent commission from Tatarstan, commented on the process of harmonizing Tatar and Russian legislation at a news conference in Kazan on 2 November. He said that the commission was given a half of year to solve all the questions, but "we deal with such complex issues that calendar terms cannot be used as restrictions," "that depends on how the negotiations process will go on. Currently it does very constructive." Galeev informed that the Tatarstan's side of the commission plans "to propose the State Duma to consider our package of land legislation which fixes the right of ownership of land and is the best in Russia." Sergei Kirienko, the presidential plenipotentiary representative, considers that Tatarstan's land legislation may become a basis for that of Russia, Galeev added. Commenting on the third term issue as it concerns the Tatar President, Galeev said that under the republican legislation, there are no obstacles for this. It was fixed in the Treaty that the republican authority bodies are formed independently. But the Tatarstan President alongside with internal responsibilities has those connected to the interaction with Russian bodies as well, so the Russian legislation should also be took into account, he added.

Tatarstan Still Doesn't Issue Russian Passports
4 November

The head of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry passport-visa service, Galina Fakhrutdinova, told reporters that new Russian passports will not be introduced in Tatarstan until all the controversial issues are resolved. The Russian daily, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" cited the official on 4 November as saying that it will occur most likely not earlier than in the next year's first quarter. Fakhrutdinova said that so far soviet passports will be given to those who receive them for the first time, and temporary certificates � for those who have lost them for some reasons. Tatarstan insists on the right to fill in one list of the Russian passport in Tatar language. Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev commented on the issue that "any citizen has a right to read his name and other data in his own passport in native language." The other republic's demands are to introduce Tatarstan's state symbols, person's nationality, and republican citizenship in the new passport. The Tatarstan parliament had passed the citizenship law on the second reading by the time when Moscow initiated harmonizing of local legislation with the federal one.

Tatneft Constructs Oil Processing Plant, Cooperates With Near East Countries
2 November

Shafagat Takhautdinov, the general manager of Tatarstan's leading oil company Tatneft, told the Russian weekly, "Parlamentskaya gazeta" on 2 November that the company decided to construct its own Tuben Kama petrol processing plant instead of purchasing shares of petrochemical enterprises of Bashkortostan, Nizhni Novgorod, or Ukraine as it was discussed some time ago. Takhautdinov said that the majority of former-soviet petrochemical plants don't exceed the 66 percent's depth of processing while Tatneft extracts high-sulfur fuel which needs processing at the depth of no less than 80 percent. He said that total cost of the plant construction project will make $1 billion. Tatneft has already invested 1.5 billion rubles into the construction. By the end of the next year, the first production line will give low-sulfur diesel fuel and aviation kerosene. The second line of the plant is scheduled to produce automobile gasoline. Tatneft head informed that Tatneft which was given 34 percent of interest of the Tatarstan's tire company Nizhnekamskshina is considering an efficient project of car tire modernization. The Tatneft's capital investments rose 2.5 times current year and will be kept at the same level next year.

Commenting on the cooperation of Tatneft with Iran and Iraq, Takhautdinov informed that a cooperation protocol was signed during recent visit of the Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov to Iran. Iranian side expressed its interest in oil extraction technologies, high-tech equipment produced in Tatarstan. The Near East oil workers are interested in probing, oil preparation technologies, corrosion preventing. Iran's some oil deposits enter late stages of development, so they were attracted by the experience, technologies, equipment of Tatarstan which had already passed this stage. In the cooperation with Iraq, the priorities are the joint probing and development of deposits, deliveries of equipment within the framework of the international program "Oil in exchange of food and medicines." Two contracts on drilling of 78 dwells is being considered by the UN Security Council. Petrol specialists from Iran and Iraq pass training and probation at Tatneft.

Tatarstan To Celebrate Millenium, Anniversaries Of Christ And Islam Dissemination In Russia
8 November

A special program to meet millenium and celebrate 2000th anniversary of Christ and beginning of Islam spreading in Russia is being prepared by the Tatarstan government, Tatar-inform reported on 8 November. An organizing committee was formed in the republic which is headed by the deputy Prime Minister Ilgiz Khairullin and unites representatives from the Religious Affairs Council, Orthodox and Islamic clergy, heads of ministries and departments, scientists. It is supposed that jubilee celebrations, including scientific conferences and festivals of sacred music will continue till 2002.

European Court Refuses Bulgar Naional Congress Head's Complaint
8 November

The European Human Rights Court rejected the complaint by the Bulgar national congress president Gusman Khalilov, Tatar-inform reported on 8 November. An idea to return an ancient name "Bulgars" to contemporary Tatars which appeared in late 80s currently is coming to nothing. Nevertheless, the congress continue fighting for nationality change. Previously, the Kazan Vakhitov district court recognized the Khalilov's right to get a passport where a nationality would be appointed as "Bulgar." In addition, the Congress head insisted that the court should accept a decision on abolition of the name "Tatarstan" but this appeal was rejected. Tatarstan's Supreme Court, however, repealed the decision of the Vakhitov district court � the ruling which was confirmed by the Russian Supreme Court. Then Khalilov appealed to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, but the European juridical body hasn't find in the Khalilov's case any infringements of his rights or freedoms. Now Khalilov appealed to Tatarstan's State Council demanding to abolish in the republic's name the word "Tatarstan" as "unacceptable and violating human rights."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova