English summaries of select news items from Crimean News Issue #1
UKRAINE ALLOCATES FUNDS FOR REPATRIATES
In one of the last sessions of the Autonomous Republic's Committee on Nationalities and Deported Citizens, the distribution of funds from the budget of Ukraine became the main topic on the agenda. The Committee chairman announced that of the 2,000,000 grivnas ($500,000) received by the Committee, 1,080,000 grivnas are allocated for construction projects in Crimea (Program for housing of deported people), and 120,000 grivnas are intended for the repatriates in Sevastopol. In addition, 700,000 grivnas out of 1,000,000 will be spent on affordable housing for those on waiting lists in various regions. Of the 260,000 grivnas allocated for the observance of the 55th anniversary (of the 1944 Deportations), 250,000 will be spent on buying housing for veterans and the disabled. The remaining 10,000 grivnas will be spent on the anniversary activities.
Lentara Halilova, Voice of Crimea #16 (283), April 16, 1999.
CTI comment: The Program for supporting the people returning to their homeland, including Crimean Tatars, is shrinking every year. In 1992 it had an allocated sum of $95,200,000; in 1993 $80,500,000; in 1994 $59,600,000; in 1995 $32,200,000; in 1996 $5,100,000; in 1997 $6,900,000; and in 1998 $2,500,000.
AREN'T ALL RETIREES THE SAME?
On March 18, the Verhovnaya Rada passed a new law, which would raise the minimum monthly retirement pay to 55.00 grivnas, up from the 16.62 grivnas paid now. It looked as if millions of retirees would be overjoyed with the good news, but this has not been the case. Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine, vetoed the proposed measure prior to Easter, long before it went into effect. The reason was very clear: "In President's opinion, the law was passed without enough funds to support the program," said the President's press secretary.
B. Fars, Voice of Crimea #16 (293), April 16, 1999.
CTI comment: The critical situation with pension funds is affecting the Crimean Tatars even more adversely. They return from different regions of the former USSR, and most of them receive the minimum pay, which is less then $10.00. According to the present laws of Ukraine, they can not hope for more, unless they get their Ukrainian citizenship. Having registered as a legal resident does not entitle one to retirement pay. Becoming a Ukrainian citizen without forfeiting the Russian (or any other) citizenship is almost impossible. The procedure has high price tag on it. The regular application costs $95.00, and express one $161.00.
RETURN FROM THE SACRED LAND
Our Pilgrims returned from Saudi Arabia on the 2nd of April. The head of the delegation, Refat Chubarov, told us on arrival: "After a long brake of almost seventy years, Muslims of Crimea had their second Pilgrimage to the holy places in Saudi Arabia." In 1997, 19 Muslims from Crimea had travelled to Saudi Arabia upon the invitation of a royal Prince. And this year, the first time ever, the King of Saudi Arabia personally invited over one hundred people to visit the Sacred Land. During the visit, an official group from the delegation met with the head of the Islamic Ministry of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah ibn Abdulmuhsik-at-Taraki. Discussions addressed the problems faced by Crimean Tatars, especially those connected with the return and resettlement in their native land as well as their spiritual needs. The Saudi representatives promised to give serious consideration to these issues and try to provide assistance.
Leyla Alyadinova, Voice of Crimea #16 (283), April 16,1999.
GETTING READY FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF DEPORTATIONS
The Coordinating Council in charge of planning activities for the 55th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Bulgarians, and Greeks had its second session. The regional leaders attending the session reported to the Prime Minister Sergey Kunicyn on the progress of the plans. 260,000 grivnas have been allocated for the Commemoration Day activities.
Aleksey Nejivoy, Crimean Times #66 (687), April 9, 1999.
PRIME MINISTER OF CRIMEA VISITS ISMAIL BEY
During his recent visit in Yevpatoria, Sergey Kunicyn, Primer Minister of the Autonomous Republic, went to the Crimean Tatar township of Ismail Bey, accompanied by Andrey Danilenko, Mayor of Yevpatoria. They were not pleased with what they saw. Most of the houses in Ismail Bey are incomplete, only half of them with access to water and sewage systems. About half of the 2,212 families living there have to carry water by hand from a water main (faucet) located on the street. There is not even enough money to build a second faucet for another 400 families. In sum, providing basic utilities to the township would require 470,000 grivnas. Yet, only 333,000 grivnas are available from the budget. Where to get the rest of it? Mr. Kunicyn promised to help.
Kira Ivanova, Crimean Times #71 (692), April 17, 1999.
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