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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 17, 2000

17 November 2000
Russia Expected To Give Tatarstan 1,3 Billion Rubles In Special Subventions
10 November

Commissions of Tatarstan's State Council began considering the draft republican budget for 2001 on 10 November. Although the republican officials still refuse to give any details on the future year's budget, some of the Tatarstan's newspapers published the budget figures obtained "from reliable but unnamed sources." According to the Vremya i Dengi daily on 11 November, the estimated republic's income of 2001 is to make 18,3 billion rubles and the expenses are to make 19,9 billion. For the first time in last several years Tatarstan expects to receive about 1,3 billion of rubles in federal subventions. Nevertheless the planned budget will still contain some 8% deficit.

Due to the Moscow's new tax policy, republican budget will receive 57% of the income tax money collected in TR, instead of its usual 11,8% stake in previous years. Slight increase of budget revenues is also expected from companies' property tax.

In the same time Tatarstan will loose over 79,4% of gasoline, oil, vodka and gas excises which formerly remained at the republic's disposal. Kazan reportedly managed to keep the excise taxes on beer, tobacco goods and 50% of excises on pure alcohol.

Republican press also reports that the Tatarstan's government intends to compose a socially oriented budget and maintain financial assistance to socially insecure layers of population and agriculture.

Drunk Driver Given Lenient Verdict For Killing 3
12 November

Tatarstan's media reported on 12 November that the driver of Tatarstan's deputy minister of finance Farid Farrakhov was given a 4,5 years of living in the limited freedom settlement for killing 3 people in drunken driving. Farid Farrakhov's killed a mother with 2 children standing on the sidewalk in early August, 2000 by speeding into the turn near the Compressor Plant in Kazan on deputy minister's car. Tatarstan's TV and press were surprised by the lenient verdict, while the family's father told the reporters that he would appeal against it.

For comparison several men arrested for shooting the street dogs without legal permission in early 2000 were given 6 years in prison each. Efir TV company reported those days that one of the killed dogs belonged to some high ranked official.

Federal Reform Reorganizes Tatarstan's Customs Board
13 November

Chief of the Tatarstan's Customs Board Nikolay Kotsubenko told the press conference on 13 November that starting from 2001 his board would be submitted to Volga Customs Board together with 19 other republican and regional boards of the district. Previously Tatarstan's customs were directly submitted to the Federal Customs Board in Moscow. Reshuffles in the federal customs system began in June, 2000 after president Vladimir Putin endorsed the decree on forming the 7 administrative districts in Russia. The decree stipulated that each district should have one main customs board.

Before this reform Tatarstan Republic had Kazan and Chally customs boards and affiliate customs posts in Elmet, Bogelme, Alabuga, Yashel Uzen, Tuben Kama regions, Kazan and Begishevo airports. Speaking of the pros and cons of the new customs system, Kotsubenko was quite moody especially when he spoke about the future redundancies in his board. He said, "unfortunately 57 most qualified customs officers will have to leave." He also said that next year Tatarstan's customs will not be able to defend the interests of republic's main exporters � Tatneft oil company, Kazanorgsintez and Tuben Kama chemical plants, KamAZ automotive works, Kazan Helicopter Plant. In his words it will also become harder for other Tatarstan's producers to enter the foreign markets, because they will have to get all the deals with foreign partners approved by the District Customs Board in Nizhny Novgorod.

Tatarstan's Customs chief also said that Tatarstan will loose the customs taxes which reached 7,8 billion rubles so far in 2000 and the money flow will be redirected to Nizhny.

As for the republic's foreign trade turnover growth this year it was reportedly caused by the oil prices increase on the world market and not by the industrial production growth.

Russian Daily: Tatarstan's President Awarded A Medal For Being Srewish
14 November

Russian Kommersant daily commented on the results of Russian Justice Minister Yuri Chayka's visit to Tatarstan Republic on 14 November. In the article called "Tatarstan's President Awarded A Medal For Being Srewish" the daily wrote, "Yuri Chayka failed to sign an agreement on bringing the republic's laws in conformity with federal [laws]. Nevertheless, the minister awarded the president with highest award of Justice Ministry � the golden medal for strengthening the judicial and punishment system.

Speaking of the bringing the local and federal laws in conformity, both Kazan and Moscow are showing enviable insistence. Moscow enforces this process, from time to time giving some strict deadlines for the regions, while Kazan keeps reminding that many of the laws adopted in Tataria are more progressive and liberal than Russian ones, that's why 'the process must be bilateral.'"

According to the article, state register of legal acts created by the decree of Russian president Vladimir Putin will help Moscow, because it will let the Ministry of Justice "perform an expertise" of Tatarstan's laws before they are adopted. The author suggested that Yuri Chayka intended to bring this news to Kazan and sign an agreement on that his ministry will "help" Tatarstan in altering its existing legislation. Tatarstan's president reportedly disagreed to sign the agreement by saying, "We are not ready to sign it for now. Obviously it will take some time to find an answer on what should be done in the sphere of delegation of powers."

While the federal minister insisted on that there must be a unified legal space in all regions of Russian Federation, Shaimiev kept to his line saying, "it's necessary to have some exclusive areas both for the federal and republican authorities. Since the controversial issues usually base on the areas of common jurisdiction, we have to reduce the number of bilaterally controlled areas and state this in the law. In this case nobody will interfere into another's business." Kommersant reacted to this statement by stating, "obviously this point of view will be the basis of a new concept of power-sharing between the federal center and the federation's entities, which is elaborated by Tatarstan's president as a member of [Russian] State Council assigned by president Putin. Minister Chayka couldn't object this statement, so he proceeded to the ceremony which was planned to be an award for signing the document necessary to Moscow."

Enlistment Official Optimistic About Young Men Attitude To Army Service
14 November

Kazanskiye Vedomosti newspaper quoted Chief Military Commissioner of Tatarstan Republic Rim Mustayev on 14 November as saying that the attitude of youth to military service started changing.

He said "gradually they stop ignoring the army service." The autumn enlistment campaign has just begun in Tatarstan, but the Military Commissioner already pledged that some 4 thousand soldiers would be recruited in the republic this year.

Several weeks ago much of the Tatarstan's media attention was drawn to the case of a Kazan recruit who was claimed to have committed a suicide by his commanders at the military base in Perm oblast. Parents of the diseased soldier complained that their son's body had numerous signs of heavy beating.

Another recruit from Kazan deserted the same base shortly after this and was hidden by his mother. Special commission formed from Tatarstan's parliamentary deputies inspected the mentioned base but failed to find any disciplinary violations there.

Most of the future recruits interviewed by the Tatar TV and Radio say that they fear the army service because of the frequent freshmen soldiers abuse by the senior soldiers and possibility of being sent to some combat zone.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan Justice Ministry To Be Kept
15 November

Yuri Chaika, the Russian Justice Minister, said on 15 November in Ufa that the Russian Justice Ministry will set up an office in Bashkortostan. But nevertheless, he said, the republican Justice Ministry will be preserved and will control issues within the republic's jurisdiction. Competence of the Federal Ministry Board, Chaika said, will include the formation of unified legal space, the system of judicial executives, the criminal-executive system, registration of public associations. The staff of the Federal Ministry's Board will comprise 700 people. Chaika said that an agreement between Russian Justice Ministry and Bashkortostan, which is scheduled to be signed in the near future, will clearly dilineate the competence and responsibilities of the federal and republican justice departments.

Chaika continued that responsibilities of the Federal Ministry are to be extended. He said that no single agreement of territorial entities with foreign states will come into effect without its expertise. The Ministry will also be charged with the task of obligatory collection of taxes.

Kirienko To Discuss Passport Issue With Federal Officials
13 November

The spokesman of the presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Novikov, told reporters on 13 November that Sergei Kirienko is scheduled to discuss with Russian authorities the Bashortostan passport issue during his visit to Moscow on 15 November. He said Kirienko will present to the Russian presidential administration and representatives of the passport-visa service (OVIR) the variant of the Bashkortostan citizen passport proposed by the Bashkortistan President Murtaza Rakhimov during the District head visit to Ufa last weekend. Novikov also commented on the results of Kirienko's visit to Bashkortostan, stressing the importance of adopting amendments to the republican Constitution according to which Bashkortostan became a full and equal territorial entity of the Russian Federation . He said Bashkiriya will pay taxes in the same percentage as other entities, and its residents will have all the rights of other citizens of the Russian Federation, including a passport valid for the entire Russian Federation territory. In 1997, Bashkortostan's State assembly stopped issuance of new Russian passports on the republic's territory, requiring insertion of a page into the document written in the Bashkir language, and an entry indicating person's nationality. It was also supposed to present state symbols of the republic. For past three years, the republic's residents have been given certificates instead of the passport.

District Head Highly Values Bashkortostan's Fuel And Energy Production�
11 November

The presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko, told a meeting with the heads of Bashkortostan fuel and energy companies in Ufa on 11 November that he highly values the republic's oil chemistry and oil processing industries. Kirienko made his comments during a two-day visit to the republic. The district official noted that in many spheres, the republic reached an international level. He said the important thing is that significant investments into the fuel-energy sector have been made in time. Kirienko said that decisions on starting production of polyether in Blagveshchensk and catalyst production in Ishimbai are the responsibility of the republic itself, although federal bodies are ready to assist. Kirienko added that federal bodies will promote solving issues of tax, tariff, excise politics in the republic, as well as providing orders for the petrochemical plant. As the Russian daily, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 15 November, Kirienko noted at the meeting that since the republic's petrochemical companies received subsidies from the state because Bashkir low-grade oil was mixed within pipelines with high-quality export oil, and collected alcohol excises were left in the republic. The daily cited the District head as saying that it is necessary to move away from special conditions and double standards and start living according to market rules.

�And Concerned With National-Cultural Development
10 November

The presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko, met with representatives of Bashkortostan's national-cultural autonomies and centers during his visit to Ufa on 10 November, Bashinform reported. Kirienko stressed the importance of national-cultural development and preserving national identity, noting that Bashkortostan has unique and extremely important experience. He said he was amazed by the fact that training in the republic's schools is being held in 14 languages. He added that problems of education and culture will retain their high priority. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 15 November quoted the district official as saying, however, that a model of national (ethnic) state is gradually exhausting itself.

Russian Ministry Department Opened In Bashkortostan
14 November

A territorial body of the Russian Federation, National and Migration Policy Affairs Ministry was created in Bashkortostan by the order of the Minister, Aleksandr Blokhin, Bashinform reported on 14 November. It was formed to carry out Ministry mandates in the republic, including state policy in federal and national relations, local self-government and population migration. As the Volga District head Sergei Kirienko proposed, Batyr Khismatullin was appointed as a chief of this territorial body. He has been the acting head of the department since September.

Autumn Draft Campaign Initiated
9 November

Bashkortostan's enlistment officer, Vladimir Trofimov, said on 9 November that 10 percent of some 6500 draftees whowill be called to military service in the republic this autumn will serve in the Volga military district, Bashinform reported. Trofimov told a meeting of the republican call commission that 24 percent of draftees will join internal forces, 18 percent � land forces, and 10 percent � rocket forces. The commission headed by Bashkortostan's Deputy Prime Minister Fidus Yamaltdinov confirmed a schedule of the call campaign due to be finished on 24 December.

Ufa To Host Creative Workers Congress
10 November

A forum of Russian intelligentsia titled 'Religion, education, culture: the necessity of dialogue' will be held in Ufa on 24-25 November, Bashinform reported. The republican organizing committee is headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Ishmuratov. The deputy chairman of Bashkortostan's State Assembly Legislative Chamber, Rafail Mirsaev, told Bashinform on 10 November that the congress is initiated by the Russian Intelligentsia Congress and Assembly of Russian Peoples at the support of the Bashkortostan President and Russian presidential administration. He said "Ufa is located in the center of Russia where Europe and Asia unite, so the forum can play a consolidating role for Russia as representatives both from Siberia and the European part can gather." He said that the program of the congress includes two roundtables. The first is called "The role of intelligentsia in forming international cultural relations" and will be chaired by Ramazan Abdullatipov, the head of the Russian Peoples Assembly Council. The other titled "The role of intelligentsia in the civil society development in Russia" is scheduled to be held by the chairman of the Russian Intelligentsia Congress Executive Committee, Sergei Filatov. Mirsaev said "we will discuss what does unite us, and will hardly avoid the issue of federal relations, creating the federal state we want Russia to be. The problems of Chechnya and other regions also should not be forgotten."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Harmonizing Legislation Goes On In Volga District
16 November

Aleksandr Yevstifeev, the deputy presidential representative to the Volga Federal District, said in Nizhni Novgorod on 16 November that over 90 percent of legislative documents of Marii El, Mordoviya, and Chuvashiya have been brought into conformity with federal legislation by 14 November, Strana,Ru reported. The District official who is responsible for the relations with legislative bodies, prosecutor's offices, courts and justice institutions made his comments at a conference of the Volga District staff with representatives from the Russian Justice Ministry. A deputy federal minister, Yevgenii Sidorenko, and heads of the District territorial entities justice departments participated in the meeting. Yevstifeev told reporters that results of the consent commissions activities in Chuvashiya, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan were also discussed.

Presidential Side Comments On Fedorov's Constitutional Court Appeal
15 November

The presidential representative to the Federation Council, Vyacheslav Khizhnyakov, told the Russian daily, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 15 November that he sees "extremely political reasons" in the actions of the Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov who appealed to the Constitutional Court protesting some presidential laws on strengthening power vertical. The presidential representative considers Fedorov's arguments far from being irreproachable. Kihzhnyakov said that "considering them in the Constitutional Court is a quite long process, and I don't exclude that a decision may be negative."

Chuvash Deputies Against Constitutional Referendum
15 November

Thirty three of 85 Chuvash State Council deputies appealed to the republic's Supreme Court protesting activities of the President Nikolai Fedorov, the Russian daily, "Vremya novostei" reported on 15 November. The deputies demand to recognize as not corresponding to legislation the Fedorov decree on constitutional referendum. The State Council at its last session o 1 November refused passing amendments to the Constitution which allow the President to be elected to the post more than twice. Then Fedorov who is on his second term decided to appeal to people and announced a referendum to adopt the republican Constitution.

The daily reported that "the presidential representative to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko backs the parliamentarians, and his representatives are holding consultations with the Chuvash President trying to persuade him to rescind the referendum."

Utro.Ru reported on 16 November that the Court hasn't received the deputies' appeal referring that the documents were designed incorrectly. The news agency cited the comments by officials from the Chuvash President administration that the deputies try to hinder Fedorov and to help former speaker of the republican parliament and now member of the KPRF Duma faction, Valentin Shurchanov. The Chuvashiya deputy speaker, Mikhail Mikhailovskii, told Gazeta.Ru on 16 November that Fedorov "had no right to interrupt the parliament's voting on the Constitution and to sign the referendum decree as the draft Constitution hasn't been rejected." Mikhailovskii said that there are good chances to contest the Fedorov decision, and added that if the State Council will manage to pass its variant of the Constitution on three readings before the referendum, the decision on people's voting is to be annulled automatically.

Meanwhile the republican central electoral committee has already confirmed a calendar schedule of main measures on preparation for the referendum.

Marii El Parliament To Revise Republican Constitution
10 November

The Constitutional Assembly of Marii El will consider amendments to the republican Constitution at its 20 December session, Interfax-Euroasia reported on 10 November. The decision was adopted by the republican parliament session the same day. The Constitutional Assembly which is called in extraordinary situations includes the republic's President, State Duma deputies representing Marii El, members of the State Assembly, rayon and urban councils, local administration heads. The republican parliament considered as well 10 laws of Marii El to bring into conformity with federal legislation, among them the laws on road fund and on rate of income tax being transferred to the republican budget. The deputies confirmed a candidacy of Georgii Mikhoparkin as the republic's Prosecutor. Forty-seven year-old Mikhoparkin previously served as a deputy Prosecutor of the Chuvash Republic.

Marii El Minister Says Federal Officials Persuaded Him To Run
10 November

Anatolii Ivanov, the Marii El Interior Minister and a candidate for the presidential post, told the "Mariiskaya pravda" newspaper on 10 November that "it took a lot of persuasion here in Yoshkar-Ola, in Nizhni Novgorod, in Moscow to get him to agree on running." Ivanov said he "needed definite guarantees" that if he wins presidential elections, the federal authorities will be concerned of the economic situation in the republic. The minister informed that the negotiations were held with the "number ones" of the Russian presidential administration and the plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District," and "such guarantees have been got." Ivanov commented on the situation in the republic saying that almost 70 percent of its residents have income under subsistence wage while three years ago, they were some 50 percent. Marii El occupies 84th position on living standards among Russian 89 territorial entities. The minister said the republican interior bodies became hostages of the Marii El heads political ambitions.

Marii El Deputy Premier On Relations With Mass Media
15 November

The Marii El President, Vyacheslav Kislitsyn, nominated former interior minister, General Vasilii Grigoryev as a Deputy Prime Minister in charge of informational security, Regions.Ru reported on 15 November. Grigoryev told a news conference after being appointed that "the information security in Russia is vulnerable, the West wishes our country to turn into fuel appendage, and mass media are controlled by oligarchs." He said "in Chechnya, we have lost the information war. You see, it's these problems that are urgent currently for Marii El but not presidential election struggle." The General which formerly stood in opposition to Kislitsyn said that one who possess information possess a world, and, in his opinion, it's the state who have to be an owner of journalists. Grigoryev has been asked on whether control will be set up over mass media, but he didn't response clearly having referred to the Russian information security doctrine.

Udmurtiya To Complete Harmonizing Legislation By December
15 November

The chief federal inspector to Udmurtiya, Sergei Chikurov, informed that the republican legislation will be brought into conformity with federal legislation by December, Referent-service reported on 15 November. As for the republican government, it completed similar work in October when it abolished all the acts which contradicted to the federal laws, the inspector reported.

Izhmash Cars To Be Sold In Africa
10 November

The Udmurtiya car plant Izhmash and the British Sherbonnet Projects holding signed an agreement on partnership in promoting Izhevsk automobiles to the markets of Egypt, Sudan, and Magrib countries, Prime-TASS reported on 10 November referring to the plant press service. The first test consignment of 3,000 cars will be delivered to Egypt. For the first time, Izhevsk automobiles used to be sold to Egypt 15 years ago, but deliveries were stopped soon.

Russian Peoples Youth Gather In Udmurtiya
17-18 November

The Assembly of Russian Peoples together with the Udmurt President and the republic's authorities hold a Russian Peoples Youth forum in Izhevsk on 17-18 November, the Russian daily, "Trud" reported. Some 650 representatives of over 100 nationalities from 48 regions of the Russian Federation are expected to participate in the congress under motto "The youth generation of Russian residents for strengthening peoples friendship and Russia's unity."

Mordoviya Governor Calls To Look Into Alcohol Excises
8 November

The Mordoviya leader, Nikolai Merkushkin, who chairs the Federaion Council Commission on state regulation of alcohol production and sale, suggested to postpone introduction of new rules for collecting alcohol excises till July, AKM reported on 8 November. The new rules are established by the Russian Tax Code which is due to come into force since January. Merkushkin considers that corresponding mechanism has not been properly designed in the Code so that the state budget may face significant losses.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova