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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 7, 2000

7 December 2000
Shaimiev Interviewed About Federal Reform
2 December

Tatarstan's President, Mintimer Shaimiev, expressed criticism toward the newly created institution of presidential representatives to federal districts in his interview with the Russian daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 2 December. Shaimiev, however, favored economic integration of territorial entities within the District, and if necessary, integration of Districts as well. Shaimiev said that Tatarstan has already proposed and passed to Sergei Kirienko and German Gref a conception of petrochemical complex integration within the Volga District. It will allow, in his words, to keep petrochemical companies, which often stand idle, busy. Shaimiev informed that heads of the District territorial entities will soon gather in Kazan to discuss the conception. Shaimiev expressed his belief that any Russian and foreign credits can be attracted under the project. In Shaimiev's opinion, however, it is dangerous to withdraw into the framework of the federal districts in relation of all economic spheres, and economy should be managed at the level of the country as a whole.

Shaimiev stressed that bilateral treaty between Tatarstan and Russia will be taken into account while changing and amending the republican Constitution. He said that voting on constitutional amendments will be held after Tatarstan's presidential elections. Shaimiev said that Russian parliament's reformed upper chamber, the State Council and Federal Districts should prove their efficiency before they would receive a constitutional status through changing and amending the Russian Constitution. Commenting on the federal reform initiated by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shaimiev said that Putin, evidently, would like to have as strong power as the one in Tatarstan.

Shaimiev noted that the norm in the Tatarstan legislation which demands the republic's president to be able to speak Tatar and Russian doesn't infringe on the electors rights. Otherwise, he said, rights of some 1.5 million Tatars will be violated since they will not be able to appeal to their president in their mother tongue, being a state one. Shaimiev said that a possibility for national (ethnic) separatism will always exist, and the main thing in forming democratic Russian Federation is to get rid of tension in the relation of various nationalities toward central authority. He said that a passport issue hasn't been solved for a long time. He said if new passports will be issued in their current shape which doesn't provide a page filled in national languages, a sharp discontent of the hole peoples will be evoked. He added that the federal center should be made as attractive as possible.

Morozov Comments On Third Term Amendment
1 December

Oleg Morozov, the leader of the Duma deputy group "Rossiiskiye regiony" told IMA-press on 1 December that adoption of the draft law which allowed some governors to ballot three times was unavoidable. In Morozov opinion, it was necessary to interpret uniformly a norm about two terms, and a transition regime was necessary which was provided by this amendment. Morozov said that such possibility was given to 26 regional heads for the first and last time in the history of Russia, and then only two will remain. There were complexity to adopt the decision as the problem is too politicized. There are persons among governors which cause exasperation moreover not only of left-wing deputies but right-wing as well. Bashkortostan and Tatarstan presidents are main of them. And those parliamentarian who understand legal nature of this amendment have been hesitating for a long time just because of these political reasons.

Tatarstan Agrees To Open Federal Treasury Board
30 November

The Russian Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, Aleksei Kudrin, and Tatarstan Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov meeting in Moscow on 30 November agreed to set up a board of Federal Treasury in Tatarstan, PRIME-TASS reported. The Russian Finance Ministry press service informed the next day that Tatarstan's board will become the final one among Russia's 89 territorial entities, so the formation of the treasury system in the country will be completed. The sides agreed that the board will be opened in the republic in December and will be charged to count a federal budget income, to allocate income of the budget system, to perform operations with federal budget means. Marat Zaripov, previously deputy head of the republican Finance Ministry Treasury Department, was appointed to head the federal treasury Tatarstan board.

Tatarstan To Follow Earth Charter
5 December

Tatarstan's State Council Ecology Commission recommended the parliament to adopt a decision to make the republic am experimental ground for the performing the Earth Charter, Tatar-inform reported. The Charter was composed by the initiative group headed by the UN Deputy Secretary General Moris Strone. Its aim is to develop new approaches to the common values, and to create new world order on the earth.

The Charter preamble states that the mankind entered the critical stage of its development and have to choose its future. The authors propose all peoples and states to unite and to create a new global stable society which is based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and peace culture. The Charter which calls to a balanced approach to all spheres of life will be tried in various countries and will be adopted by the UN in 2003. The proposal to make Tatarstan "an experimental ground where main principles of the new association can be run in" was earlier directed to the initiative group by the Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev. The parliament press service reported that the republican State Council decision can be passed in spring.

Joint Bank To Be Opened In Tatarstan
4 December

Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov told reporters in Kazan on 4 December that agreement on opening in Kazan of a joint bank with the Islamic Bank for Development was reached during his recent meeting with the Bank General Manager, Akhmad Mukhammad-Ali. Iskhakov reported that basic capital of about $50 million will be invested by sides in equal shares. The bank's means are expected to be allocated for financing celebration of the Kazan 1000th anniversary.

Residents To Pay For Gas 30 Percent More
5 December

Gas prices for the republican population increased in Tatarstan by 30 percent in December, AKM reported on 5 December. The republican Cabinet of Ministers press service informed that the rise from 28 to 37 kopecks for a cubic meter is connected to the growth of the wholesale gas price. The governmental press-release reported that for the last time, the tariff was raised in the beginning of the year. During the first half year, the average wholesale price and average retail price were almost equal. Due to low retail prices, Tattransgaz, the republican branch of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, bore significant losses.

Hostage Released
28 November

Seven year-old Tatarstan resident Mansur Ikramov who was kidnapped in Chally and whose parents were asked ransom returned home on 28 November, Efir-Inform reported. The boy spent four month as a hostage in Kirgizia and Uzbekistan. The Tatarstan State Security Committee (KGB) press service reported that the child was kidnapped so that to force his father to pay a debt the latter owed his drug business partners. Mukhatdin Ikramov was detained and is currently kept in one of Tatarstan's rayon investigating department. The Tatarstan KGB spokesman, Rovel Kashapov, told press that no kopeck has been paid for Mansur's release. Kidnappers can be sentenced to from 8 to 20 years. It isn't still known whether the trial will be held in Kirgizia or Tatarstan.

Tatarstan Resident Kidnappers Retained
28 November

A spokesman of Tatarstan's State Security Committee told reporters on 28 November that kidnappers of Chally resident Anatoli Geller were arrested the same day. Geller was kidnapped in Chally in July, 1999. Criminals required the young man's father, the Chally municipal housing board head, to pay them $300,000 for son's discharge. In two months after being kidnapped, Anatoli Geller was freed in Chechnya at the participation of Ingush and North Ossetian security services but the criminals could manage to run away.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan's Women Union Chairwoman On Sexual Discrimination Issues
30 November

Chairwoman of the Bashkortostan's Women Union Rashida Sultanova told the Union's session in Ufa on 30 November, "discrimination of women in Russia has become chronic." She noted that "seemingly there is enough of women in medium-ranked local authorities - about two thirds of total staff. But the higher the rank is, the less women are entrusted." Sultanova brought the example of official statistics indicating that the number of male specialists working as chiefs in Russia exceeds the number of female specialists by 2,5 times, while speaking of the supreme posts there are 7 times more males than females operating.

Women Union's chairwoman also said that in Bashkortostan itself the most of female officials "worked in rural self-government boards, city and regional administrations. Practically there were no such cases when a woman was dismissed for violating any regulations."

Commenting on the Union's charitable activities Sultanova said that about 160 thousand rubles were raised so far in 2000 for supporting the orphanages in Uchaly, Blagoveshensk and Zilayir, Bashkortostan.

Bashkortostan's Official Critical To Foreign Investments
30 November

Deputy minister of Economy and Antimonopoly Policy in Bashkortostan Republic Zulfira Akbasheva told the republican press on 30 November that "access of the foreign capitals to our economy must be thoroughly thought over. In 1995-97 we were so open that we gladly met all kinds of foreign money. Now we can see the consequences of this: foreign companies penetrate into our companies of communication, transport and defense industries, cling like leeches to sources of raw material but without directing their funds into the weak parts of Russian economy. This means they are not operating to improve the economy. Moreover, foreigners purchased many of the enterprises in tenders, technologies were destroyed, and specialists were exported or lost. Many of the pharmaceuticals, glass and food producing companies were made bankrupt and expelled from the competitors list. Now the off-shore zones are becoming problematic. Foreign capitals flow there by means of front men, mediators. The economic energy flows away through these holes. That's why the terms of investing must be thoroughly analyzed, otherwise the state economic security cannot be provided."

State Assembly Endorses The Republican Budget For 2001
30 November

State Assembly of Bashkortostan endorsed the republican budget for 2001 on 30 November. The planned total budget income made by collected taxes is 47 billion 800 million rubles. After the 55% share of all taxes are transferred to the federal budget, the republic expects to keep about 21 billion 500 million rubles. Deputy premier, minister of finance Foat Hantimerov to the Assembly before the final vote on budget that� "planned republican budget was non-deficit. The figure is quite real. Even although the stated budget demand was over 300 billion rubles, we had to concentrate on projects of top priority. More than one half of republic's funds will cover the specially preserved articles of expenses. "

Drugs Trafficking Still A Big Problem For Bashkortostan
1 December

Bashkortostan's Molodezhnaya Gazeta newspaper on 1 December published the interview of republican Drugs Enforcement Board chief Shamil Kabirov concerning the widening spread of drug addiction among youth. Kabirov was quoted as saying, "it's no surprise that the most of crimes � about 4000 cases are annually committed by the drug addicts." Only in 2000 Kabirov's Board reportedly confiscated about 360 kilograms of drugs, including 104 kilos of opium, 92 kilos of marijuana and 18 kilos of heroin.

The drugs are usually trafficked to Bashkortostan from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Such an intense intersection of trafficking routes is explained by Bashkortostn's geographical position on the cross point of railroads connecting Central Russia with the Central and Middle Asia. As the spread of drugs continues in urban areas of Bashkortostan, there are still some regions not affected by this problem. At least no crimes linked to drug addiction or trafficking were registered so far in Buzdyak and Bakalin regions of BR.

Minister Of Economy Says 2000 Was Successful For Bashkortostan
4 December

Bashkortostan's Minister of Economy and Antimonopoly Policy Valentin Vlasov told the Bashinform agency on 4 November, "the dynamics of economic processes going in the republic confirm that the development strategy chosen by the Bashkortostan's government is correct." Within the 10 months of 2000 the Bashkir economy was reportedly distinguished by the growth of gross domestic product and increasing figures of collected tax money. Reducing wages arrears and unemployment also reflected the improvements in economy. Vlasov admitted that the current growth results in industry, internal and foreign trade is higher than expected. By the end of 2000 Bashkortostan's government expects the industrial growth rates to make 5,6% comparing to 1999. Previously the growth figures were expected to make only 2-3% this year.

Conference Reveals Poor State Of Family Values
4 December

Republican scientific conference called "Mother and child" and devoted to the problems of preserving the family values in Bashkortostan was held on 4 December. Participants of the conference acknowledged that "marriage lost its former strength in the republic." According to the governmental statistics announced at the conference, the number of registered marriages reduced by twofold within last several years in BR. As the number of divorces is increasing, more of open marriages are being solemnized. Due to this trend, every fourth child born in the republic is born out of wedlock. 2426 single mothers have been registered in Bashkortostan so far in 2000.

Federal Inspector Says His Assignment Is A Diplomatic Issue
6 December

Recently appointed chief federal inspector in Bashkortostan Rustem Khamitov held a press conference devoted to his main tasks on 6 December. He told the reporters that president "Murtaza Rakhimov was his first assistant in the issues of organization, allocation and providing with means of communication." Khamitov said that his main tasks were "observing the fulfillment of federal laws in the republic and implementing the staff policy of Russian president in the local bodies of federal government." He added that his role in the official relations between Moscow and Ufa was not "control and surveillance but a diplomatic mission for stimulating compromise in cases when there are contentions. It's impossible to set met against my home - Bashkortostan."

Among the numerous tasks of the federal inspector there is elaboration of the mechanisms for appointing the heads of representations of federal governmental bodies in BR. Before Khamitov's appointment, these officials were appointed the decrees of president Murtaza Rakhimov.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Kislitsyn Came Second At Elections First Voting
3 December

Deputy general manager of Rosgosstrakh state insurance company Leonid Markelov who received 29 percent of votes at Marii El presidential elections on 3 December, and President Vyacheslav Kislitsyn who collected 25 percent will participate in the elections second voting on 17 December, Russian agencies reported referring to the republican central electoral commission.

Two other presidential candidates, General Vladimir Ruzlyayev, and Yoshkar-Ola Mayor Veniamin Kozlov lodged before the first voting a claim to the republican Supreme Court against Kislitsyn. They accused him of concealment of property and power misuse by creating his electoral staff in the Volzhsk urban administration building, and financing commercial newspaper "Izvestiya Marii El" from the governmental reserve fund. The Court acknowledged on 2 December that violations took place during the Kislitsyn electoral campaign but didn't recognize them to be substantial, Interfax reported. Russian media previously reported that the Kremlin isn't happy with Kislitsyn's candidacy, and expected that "Kursk" scenario � where former governor Aleksandr Rutskoi was removed from the candidacies list on the eve of the elections � will recur in Marii El.

During the 3 December voting, Kislitsyn received support in the republic's rural districts, while in the capital, only 14 percent backed him. His main competitor, Leonid Markelov, collected 40 percent of votes in the capital Yoshkar-Ola. The Russian daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" cited the republican Central Electoral Commission deputy chairman Galina Patrusheva as saying that the situation which took place at the 1996 elections has been repeated when Markelov overtook Kislitsyn after the first electoral round approximately by the same 3 percent.

Valerian Yegorov, the chief federal inspector to Marii El, told the daily that "the main difference is the fact that four years ago, federal authority missed the republic, but now it controls the situation."

According to the newspaper forecast, in the second round Markelov will get votes of united opposition, first of all of Generals Ivan Teterin (22 percent) and Anatoli Ivanov (9 percent). The first of them found support in the rural districts, the second was backed by urban residents.

Violations Of Law At Marii El Presidential Elections
4 December

Prosecutor's Office of the Marii El capital Yoshkar-Ola instituted a criminal proceeding against two young men who are accused of buying up new bulletin forms during the presidential and State Assembly deputies elections, the news agency "Delovoi Peterburg" reported on 4 December referring to the republican Central Electoral Commission. Eleven fresh bulletins were discovered at the disposal of one of the disturbers.

Nizhni Novgorod Telegraph Agency reported referring to the republican Prosecutor's Office that bulletins were purchased by 50 rubles each. Students of technical university were suggested money by representatives of one of candidates for persuading other people to vote for him. The Prosecutor's Office hasn't reported his name noting only that he will not participate in the second round.

Valentin Stepankov, the deputy Volga Federal District head, commented on the violations of law during the Marii El elections noting that there was a high portion of those who voted outside polling-stations.

Stepankov: Marii El Is Most Corrupted Republic In Volga District
6 December

The deputy presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District, Valentin Stepankov, said that Marii El leaders are the most corrupted officials in the Volga Federal District, Nizhni Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 6 December. Stepankov addressed an international scientific-practical conference titled "Corruption in state authority bodies" in Nizhni Novgorod saying that the corruption issue is today in Russia as urgent as never before. He reported that two vice-presidents of the Marii El Republic have been convicted of bribe-taking over the last period, and the republican central electoral commission head is expected to be brought soon the same accusation. He said that "the whole territorial entity lived not under the Russian Federation laws but under its own, corruption providing laws."

Chuvashnefteprodukt Shares On Sale
5 December

A commercial auction on sale of state interest of the Chuvashnefteproduct petrochemical company will be held in Chaboksary on 18 December. Regions.Ru reported on 5 December referring to the Republican Property Fund that 25 percent plus 1 share will be on sale. A 4.2 million rubles worth package consists of some 45,000 shares. The collected money will be shared by the budgets of the republic and the capital. The news agency cites the republican newspaper "Sovetskaya Chuvashiya" as reporting that Tatarstan's oil company Tatneft is actively developing the Chuvash market. Tatneft has already become an owner of 40 percent of the Chuvashnefteprodukt shares having bought them from the Moscow "Korporatsiya Sintez" and "Volzhsk Investment Company."

Udmurt Federal Inspector Controls Performing Federal Legislation
5 December

The chief federal inspector to Udmurtia, Sergei Chikurov, held a meeting on 5 December devoted to the cooperation of federal bodies territorial boards with local self-government urban and rayon legislative and executives bodies, Nizhni Novgorod telegraph agency reported. Financing of federal bodies, health protection, and education institutions has been also on an agenda. Chiefs of federal bodies and rayon administration heads participated in the meeting. Chikurov said that he will pay special attention to the performing by federal bodies republican branches of presidential decrees and governmental resolutions as well as recommendations of the District administration staff. He added that "the Russian Constitution is to become a handbook of every official."

Mordoviya Head Concerns Of Criminality And Economic Security
4 December

Mordoviya leader Nikolai Merkushkin held a closed-door meeting on 4 December with republic's force bodies heads to discuss coordination of authority bodies and law enforcement bodies activities in fighting criminality and providing economic security of Mordoviya, Regions.Ru reported. The republican State Assembly chairman Valeri Kechkin, and chief federal inspector to Mordoviya, Aleksandr Pykov participated in the meeting.

Mordovia Representatives Attend Finno-Ugrian Congress
7 December

A Mordovian delegation left for Finland to participate in the Third World Congress of Finno-Ugrian Peoples, Regions.Ru reported on 7 December. The delegation which counts 40 representatives of state bodies, cultural, scientific, educational institutions, youth organizations is headed by the State Assembly chairman Valeri Kechkin. The head of the Mordovian State University philology department Mikhail Mosin told the news agency that republican delegates will take part in the roundtables devoted to political, juridical, cultural, education, and communications issues.

Mordovia And Hungary To Boost Ties
6 December

The Mordovian government head Vladimir Volkov met with Hungary businessmen to discuss their participation in the republican economic projects, Regions.Ru reported on 6 December. Joint venture on production of water boilers and reconstruction of airport in the republic's capital Saransk were agreed to be the most perspective. Investments are expected to total over $5millions.

Ulyanovsk Governor Asks To Defend His Honor And Dignity
4 December

The Ulyanovsk Volga rayon court tried a claim on defense of honor and dignity of the Ulyanovsk Oblast administration head Yuri Goryachev against an oblast gubernatorial candidate Vladimir Shamanov and newspapers "Simbirski kuryer", "Simbirskiye gubernskiye vedomosti", "Ulyanovsk segodnya" and "Nezavisimaya gazeta", Regions.Ru reported on 4 December. The news agency cited an unknown representative of "Simbirski kuryer" as saying that the governor felt insulted by some Shamanov's statements which were published in local newpapers in August and September, and required them to issue denials and to exact from Shamanov 100,000 rubles. According to a judge decision, the hearing will be removed to the Ulyanovsk another district where the most of defendants are registered.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova