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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 4, 2005

4 January 2005
Trial Date Set For Criminal Case Against Former Duma Deputy
Kazan's Wakhitov Raion Court received the case against former State Duma Deputy Sergei Shashurin on 20 December and scheduled the trial to start on 18 January, "Vostochnyi ekspress" reported on 30 December. Shashurin is accused of fraud that earned him over 36 million rubles ($1.3 million). On 24 December, a preliminary hearing on accusations against Shashurin of slandering Tatar Interior Minister Esget Seferov and his deputies was held. Speaking on television in November 2003, Shashurin claimed that Seferov and his deputies Renat Timerjanov and Andrei Vazanov are linked to the kidnapping and killing of KamAZ Metallurgy Plant General Director Viktor Faber (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 and 3 October 2003).

First Internet Cafe Opens In Tatar Village
The first Internet cafe has been opened in a village in Tatarstan, Ekho Moskvy reported on 3 January. The facility provides two working places. If the experiment is successful, a similar cafe could be opened in other villages in the republic. According to a prediction by the Tatar Communications Ministry, the number of Internet users in Tatarstan in 2004 will likely exceed 140,000, or 4 percent of the population.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Tatar Leader In Bashkortostan Sums Up 2004, Outlines Tasks For 2005...
In an interview with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 1 January, the head of Bashkortostan's union of Tatar organizations and Tatarstan's representative to Bashkortostan, Ramil Bignov, said 2004 was a successful year for Bashkortostan's Tatars as it was a year of uniting Bashkortostan's Tatar civic groups. A congress of the Tatar people was held, a decision was passed to hold a referendum on the status of the Tatar language in Bashkortostan, and the establishment of the National Cultural Autonomy of Bashkortostan's Tatars is close to done, Bignov added. He said local Tatar national-cultural autonomies have been formed in 34 raions of the republic and the regional organizing forum was held in Moscow to set up the republican body. Bashkortostan's Tatars were forced to hold their event in Moscow by republican authorities, who prohibited the forum in the republic, Bignov said, adding that this led Tatars to complain at the federal level about their problems in Bashkortostan. Bignov also said that promoting a higher status for Tatar and the development of Tatar education in the republic are major tasks for the new year.

...As Tatar Organizations Award 'Honorary' Titles
Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center leader Airat Gynietullin told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 1 January that the republic's union of Tatar organizations labeled Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's promise he gave during the December 2003 presidential campaign to revise the status of Tatar in Bashkortostan as "the lie of the year." Following his reelection, Rakhimov said the Tatar language's status will never be revised. At a meeting of Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress Executive Committee on 17 December, Gynietullin continued, Chairman Eduard Khemitov responded to committee members who promoted Tatars' rights at the meeting by suggesting that they "go to hell." For this, Khemitov, who is the rector of Bashkir State Pedagogical University and a doctor of pedagogical science, was labeled "the pedagogue of the year."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova