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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 10, 2005

10 January 2005
Restoration Of Orthodox Buildings On Government's Agenda
Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva met on 5 January with Archbishop Anastasii of Kazan and Tatarstan to discuss the restoration of Orthodox buildings, including the Lady Day Cathedral and the Kizicheskii Monastery, and preparations for the 450th anniversary of the Kazan Eparchy, Tatar-Inform reported the same day. Over 132 million rubles ($4.7 million) was spent the previous year on restoration of the Lady Day Cathedral in the Kazan Kremlin. The cathedral is due to be opened in July. The meeting participants stressed the necessity to look for charitable donations and other sources of financing for the reconstruction.

Two Uzbek Citizens Killed In Kazan
Kazan police are searching for the killer or killers of two Uzbek citizens, whose bodies were found on 7 January in a cafe in the Kazan Yanga-Savin Raion, Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 8 January, citing the Tatar Interior Ministry's press service. The men, 20 and 38, were both hit over the head and stabbed in the chest. Both worked as cooks in the cafe and lived in Kazan illegally.

Kazan Residents Cash In Soviet Money
On the eve of 2005, a Kazan department store held a charity promotion for city dwellers during which they could change old Soviet banknotes for legal tender, "Kazanskie vedomosti" reported on 6 January. Hundreds of Kazan residents visited the store to change money and buy New Year's gifts. Soviet money was removed from circulation 13 years ago.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Ufa Pensioners Mark 100th Anniversary Of Bloody Sunday
Some 3,000 Ufa pensioners rallied on 9 January in front of the State Assembly building to mark the 100th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, Bashinform reported the same day. On 9 January 1905, over 1,000 St. Petersburg workers were killed and some 2,000 injured after tsarist troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration. Yesterday, the rally was organized by the Bashkir branch of the Communist Party, the Ufa Municipal Committee, the Russian Communist Labor Party, and the republican branch of Russia's Communist Youth Union. Participants at the rally also protested recent social reforms and growing tariffs for housing and municipal services.

Three Arrested After Recent Attack On Police Officers
Two Blagoveshchensk residents have been arrested in connection with an alleged assault on five Blagoveshchensk police officers (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, and 7 January 2005) on 8 December 2004, Regnum reported on 8 January, citing the Bashkir Interior Ministry press service. Viktor Geroev, 34, and Rinat Islamov, 41, were detained, and a third man, Oleg Kataev, 34, was detained and released on the condition that he not live in the area where the investigation into the incident is taking place. The men are accused of assault and hooliganism. Three police officers were hospitalized in the incident.

Interior Ministry Forms Human Rights Watchdog
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev has signed an order to set up a public watchdog monitoring the police's adherence to human rights standards, Regnum reported on 8 January. Fetkhlislam Toqumbetov, a deputy interior minister in charge of human resources, was appointed council chairman and State Assembly deputy Edvard Murzin was nominated deputy chairman. The council will be charged with fomenting constructive dialogue between the ministry and human rights activists and cooperating with Bashkir residents. The first session of the body is due to be held between 10 and 20 January and will be devoted to recent events in Blagoveshchensk and developing mechanisms of cooperation between the ministry and the public.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova