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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 28, 2000

28 December 2000
Tatarstan To Ease Taxation Terms For Industrial Produces In 2001
21 December

Industrial producers of Tatarstan Republic will get tax recessions in 2001, Rosbusiness Consulting agency [] reported on 21 December.The producers will be freed from 19% income tax on surplus production, which was not envisaged by annual production plan. Republican budget for 2001 will also provide reduction of property tax form KamAZ company from 2% to 1%. Oil producers, including Tatneft Company will get an opportunity to extract 1,695 million tons of oil from the reserved deposits without paying the natural resources tax [which is usually at 6% of incomes from sold oil] and resources replenishment allocations [10%].

Companies of Tatarstan's light industry will be freed from all taxes and allocations to republican budget except the payments for obligatory medical insurance and sales tax. Host of the YalAZ-GM joint venture, Alabuga free economic zone will reportedly preserve its favorable taxation terms in 2001.

President Shaimiev Rebuts Criticism Of Opposition Media
22 December

In his speech at the session of Tatarstan's State Council on 22 December president Mintimer Shamiev commented on the recent outburst of negative opinions in some of the Russian and Tatar media concerning himself.He condemned the "antishaimiev propaganda" by saying, "although the date of presidential elections has not been set yet, some people started pouring dirt already [the parliament fixed the date of future presidential elections in TR several hours later]." "Those, who are pouring this dirt,"- he continued, "are sinking in the mud themselves, no only now... And the saddest in this situation is that by pouring this dirt they don't become any cleaner. Otherwise it would be possible to accept this - for cleansing the society. It's clear that the dirty tricks are for those with weak nerves, but those who use them [dirty tricks] are wrong, there haven't been any weak-nerved presidents in Tatarstan so far."

While Shaimiev was making his sharp statement he looked very depressed, apparently because of the tragic developments in his nephew's family two days ago (pls. see below). These tragic events coincided with the reprints of critical publications from Moscow's Novaya Gazeta and Obshaya Gazeta by some of the local newspapers. These publications condemned Shaimiev's plans of running for his third presidential terms and practicing corruption. In the same time independent Novaya Vecherka newspaper in Kazan began promoting the former Chally mayor, present Russian deputy minister of agriculture Rafgat Altinbayev. According to the Tatarstan's and Russian media Altinbayev is one of the possible Shaimiev's serious rivals in his presidential campaign.

Tatarstan To Enter 2001 With New Type Of Budget
22 December

Tatarstan's president Mintimer Shaimiev endorsed the republican budget for 2001 on 22 December. According to republican media the draft, which passed through the State Council was radically different from the budgets of previous years. For 6 years since the power sharing treaty was signed between Kazan and Moscow in February 1994, Tatarstan had a right to keep 75% of taxes collected on its territory. Tatarstan's budget for 2001 was distinguished by the new 40% proportion of taxes left at the republic's disposal. Estimates of the Finance Ministry show that the tax reform would take over 17 billion rubles from Tatarstan's usual income. According to the new budget schemes the republic would cancel its non-monetary loan programs for farms and begin crediting only the financially stable farms with money. Formerly all local farms received loans in fuel, motor oils, seeds and fertilizers. Minister of Finance Robert Musin commented on this initiative by saying that "about three quarters of farms are financially stable, but we barely manage to collect back some 50% of funds that we distribute in agricultural loans." He also complained that usually some of the long-time debtors exchange fuel and fertilizers for milk and grain in the neighboring regions for reporting production growth later.

During the deliberations on draft budget in State Council President Mintimer Shaimiev brought his own argument for defending the draft. He said that he had an agreement with President Vladimir Putin on that Tatarstan's entry to unified financial field of Russia would not bring to deterioration of social-economic situation in the republic.

Possible Political Grounding Of Shaimiev's Relatives Murder Denied
25 December

Head of the Anti-crime Department in Tatarstan's Interior Ministry colonel Anatoly Ignatyev in his interview with Vremya i Dengi daily on 25 December denied possible political grounding of the recent murder of Rinat Akhmadiyev, who is a related to president Mintimer Shaimiev. Former husband of Shaimiev's niece, Akhmadiyev working as director of republic's Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic, his two children and a female babysitter were found dead in their house in Kazan suburbs. All victims were tied up, there were signs of torturing on Akhmadiyev's body, while the children and babysitter were allegedly strangled. Militia claimed that the master personally knew the criminals and let them in. Interior Ministry reported that some of the suspects are already detained. President Shaimiev was deeply shocked by the murder of his relatives. His niece, mother of the diseased children, died about 2 years ago.

Tatarstan's Parliament Not In A Rush With Legislation Adjustment
25 December

Tatarstan's State Council is on vacation beginning from 25 December, RFE\RL Kazan Bureau reported the same day. In his interview with national information service [] State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin said that he was "calm about that the republic's legislation was not brought in full conformity with federal laws before 1 January, 2001 as required by the ruling of Russian Constitution Court."He added, "it's not necessary to begin a competition among the republics for knowing which will faster adjust its legislation to federal. It is necessary to make it so that laws primarily defended interests of the state and private citizens."

Tatarstan's State Council reportedly has already considered virtually all protests of Tatarstan's prosecutor concerning the "unconformity" of some republican legal acts. Some of the protests including the ones on administrative punishments for violations in economy, trade, etc. already sailed through first and second reading.

Mukhametshin recently met the chairman of Russian Constitution Court Marat Baglay in Moscow for discussing the issues of Tatar Constitution. According to the following Mukhametshin's statements, there will be no amendments entered to republic's basic law before the presidential elections on 25 March 2001. Legislation adjustment procedures will reportedly also concern the State Council itself, because of the necessity to form a bicameral parliament as required by the federal government. Current compound of Tatarstan's parliament contradicts the federal laws by involving chiefs of republican executive bodies - administration heads. Previously the decree of president Shaimiev required all appointed regional administration heads to win local elections for parliament, otherwise the heads would loose their seats.

Shaimiev's Concept Approved By State Council Presidium
26 December

President Shamiev suggested his concept of power sharing between the center and the regions during the meeting of Russia's State Council Presidium on 26 December. Shaimiev's concept, generally supported by President Vladimir Putin and members of Presidium offered to accept the regional laws nation-wide in case they are more advanced comparing to federal acts. In author's words the concept is aiming on abolishing the areas of conflicting jurisdiction of Moscow and the regions.

The same day Tatarstan's president told Interfax agency that the center could "temporarily give some of its powers to the regions, so that regions could delegate the center some of their commissions." He explained this statement by saying, "very often ... life dictates this approach. In future we should elaborate the system of influence from Presidium and the State Council itself on preparing some important laws concerning the federative system" of Russia.

During the next session of State Council Shaimiev is to make up a list of federal laws, which need to be adopted for implementing his concept.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Russian President's Power Worries Assembly Chairman
State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev on 15 December said that Russia is now close to a limited monarchy given the powers the Russian president enjoys, "Komsomolskaya pravda v Bashkortostane" reported. He expressed his concern that Russia is creating a bureaucratic state that makres its democracy "fictitious by nature." He said that Russian leaders need to learn how to discuss things with each other and respect the rights of all concerned, including leaders of territorial entitites.

Popular Forum Notes Improvements in Interethnic Realtions�
The Bashkortostan's Peoples Assembly on 22 December said that there had been serious improvements in the state of interethnic relations there since the declaration of sovereignty a decade ago, Bashinform reported. But delegates said that some problems remain, including hostility toward the market and its impact on soviety. Participants also said they were concerned about alcohol and drug abuse, criminality, and the worsening demographic situation. And they called for secondary and higher schools to devote more attention to preserving Bashkortostan's languages and traditions.

�Appeals To Russian President
The Bashkortostan Peoples Assembly congress on 22 December adopted a resolution to be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin that body's concern that the new Russian passports violates the constitution because it does not have a place where an individual's nationality can be indicated, Bashinform reported. The meeting also stressed the importance of bilateral treaties between Bashkortostan and Russia even as they reaffirmed that they cannot image the Bashkort republic outside of Russia. But the meeting also expressed concern about the growth of nationalist-chauvinist spirits, political extremism, as well as ethnic and religious intolerance. And they said that the return to the former administrative command way of solving ethnic problems entailed real dangers.

Tatar Organization Head On Ethnic Cultural Problems
Eduard Khamitov, the head of the Bashkortostan Tatars Congress, on 22 December told the Bashkortostan Peoples Assembly congress that some problems remain in ethnic relations between Tatars and Bashkirts, Bashinform reported. He told the Bashkortostan Peoples Assembly congress that there is no Tatar gymnasium in Ufa or children's magazine in Tatar. And he said that he believed that the history and culture of Tatars should be studied at all educational institutions alongside the Tatar language. He noted as well that the number of Tatar children studying their mother tongue had grown by 15 percent over the past decade but the number receiving secondary education in Tatar had fallen by three percent.

Security Bodies Fighting Economic Crimes
The FSB has foiled an effort in Bashkortostan to issue some six million rubles of counterfeited Sberbank promisary notes, "Sovetskaya Bashkiya" reported on 24 December. The FSB's republic office said that international organized crimes groups have tried to penetrate Bashkortostan both in this way and through signing corrupt deals with local firms.

Muslims Celebrate Uraza-beirem
The Mufti of Russia and the CIS countries Talgat Tadguddin on 27 December held a special service in Ufa to mark the end of Ramadan, ORT reported in covering the event.

Oil Pipeline Damaged Near Bashkortostan
A breakdown in the Ufa-West oil pipeline in Penza oblast took place on 25 December, RBC reported. Some 250,000 tons of diesel fuel leaked near the Bashkortostan border. A spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry said that there was no threat to residential areas or water supplies.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvashia's Fedorov Sees Russia Going Back to 1930s
Chuvashia President Nikolai Fedorov on 24 December sharply criticized federal authorities in an interview with NTV and said that Russia was turning into a bureaucratic, unitary and bolshevist state instead of democratic one. He suggested that conditions were now rolling back to the 1950s or even 1930s. Fedorov, who was the only Federation Council member to vote against the reintroduction of the Soviet anthem and refused to stand when it was played, said its revival now was a "sign of neo-bolshevist revenge." He also denounced the Chechen war as a failure that had killed hundreds of thousands of people

Marii El President-Elect Wants Austerity Budget
Marii El President-elect Leonid Markelov on 28 December has withdrawn the 2001 budget from the republic State Assembly for modifications, reported. Markelov said that the budget must be changed in the direction of austerity. Meanwhile, the chief federal inspector in the republic Valerian Yegorov said that Marii El needs 4.5 billion rubles of maintenance but receives only 1.2 billion from Moscow and currently contributes the same amoung, leaving a two billion ruble gap.

Marii El Continues Legal Harmonization
The Marii El Constitutional Assembly on 25 December amended the republic constitution to eliminate contradictions with federal main law, Referent-Service reported. Deputies also rejected a new version of a bill on the republic Constitutional Court arguing that status and powers of constitutional judges do not conform to Russian legislation.

Kislitsyn Nominates Acting Prime Minister
Marii El President Vyacheslav Kislitsyn, who lost the 17 December presidential elections and will leave office on 14 January,appointed his chief-of-staff Anatoli Smirnov acting government head, reported on 22 December.

Marii El Company To Create Cellular Phone Network
Martelcom on 25 December signed a $2.5 million contract with Alcatel to lease equipment for the construction of a cellular network in the region, MFD-InfoCenter reported. The network is designed to serve 5,000 phones, first in Yoshkar-Ola and suburbs and then in Cheboksary and Kazan. Thirty-eight percent of Martelcom is owned by Svyazinvest.

Udmurtia Completes Harmonization
Officials of the Russian Justice Ministry office in Udmurtia on 28 December discussed results of harmonizing republican legislation with federal laws, Finmarket reported. All 40 legislative acts which had contradicted the federal constitution and laws have now been amended.

Mordovia's Merkushkin Meets Kasyanov
Mordovia head Nikolai Merkushkin on 22 December met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to resolve mutual payment problems between the republic and federal Finance Ministry, reported. The two also discussed Kasyanov's participation in the forthcoming meeting of the regional association "Bolshaya Volga."

Debtors Disconnected In Mordovia
Mordovenergo on 25 December began switching off electric power to its debtors in Saransk and the republic several districts, Stolitsa S reported. Company general manager Nikolai Laryushkin said that three quarters of all bills remain unpaid.

Drug Abuse Increases in Mordovia
The number of drug addicts in Mordovia trebled over the past three years and now totals 15,000, reported on 22 December. Republic drug fighter Anatoli Ivanov said that the number of young and female drug addicts has risen even faster. In the past, most addicts were criminals, but now children of wealthy families have begun to use drugs, he said.

Tuberculosis On the Rise in Mordovia
The number of tuberculosis carriers in Mordovia increased threefold over the last decade, exceeding the rate for Russia as a whole, reported on 21 December. According to this report, some 15 people die each year in the republic from this disease. The center of infection is a prison camp at Dubrovlag where five percent of the inmates are infected.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova