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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 8, 2005

8 March 2005
Tatarstan To Fight Gray Labor Market...
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told Interfax on 6 March that he signed a decree to establish a commission to legalize the "gray" labor market. Shaimiev said the gray labor market is a serious problem for Tatarstan since the republican budget loses at least 3 billion rubles in income tax each year to unofficial sales. Shaimiev added that only 1.2 million of Tatarstan's 1.8 million workers have officially registered jobs. The commission that includes representatives from the Economy Ministry, tax bodies, and statistical organizations is to develop measures to legalize the gray market and the people employed in it. Those people will not be paid pensions in the future so they should be allowed to earn money legally, Shaimiev said.

...Deport Illegal Migrants
Fifty-two foreigners were expelled from Tatarstan in January and February according to court decisions for violating residence regulations in Russia. This was a decrease from the 160 people deported in November 2003-December 2004, Tatar-inform reported on 7 March. In January and February, the Kazan Center for the Social and Legal Defense of Foreign Citizens helped 825 immigrants gain registration. In the same period, 64 employers requested to hire 264 foreigners, predominantly from Caucasian, Central Asian countries, and Turkey.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Ufa Court Rejects Claim Against Senior OMON Officer
An Ufa court has rejected a request of the Bashkir prosecutor's office to detain Oleg Sokolov, head of the special task police force (OMON), which raided Blagoveschensk in December 2004, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 7 March (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 21 January, 3 March 2005). The court reportedly issued its ruling based on positive reports from Sokolov's previous places of work. Meanwhile, on 4 March, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said that, as a result of attempts to stir up the public with regard to the investigation of the Balgoveschensk raid, police officers "are trusted less." According to an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent, Blagoveschensk police officers under investigation have formed a union in order to protect themselves against what they term an "anti-police campaign."

Bashkortostan's Opposition Hopes To Oust Rakhimov
Bashkortostan's opposition has begun collecting signatures calling for the dismissal of President Rakhimov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 7 March. According to ethnic policies researcher Ildar Gebdrefiqov, who was interviewed by RFE/RL the same day, the opposition believes that the petition, accompanied by protests, "may in fact bring Moscow to replace Rakhimov." According to Gebdrefiqov, the current situation in Bashkortostan can be described as a "political crisis."

Bashkortostan's Tatars Urge TIU Leadership To Unite
Ramil Bignov, chairman of the Tatar public organizations' union in Bashkortostan, addressed the Kazan-based Tatar Public Center (TIU), expressing deep regret that the center's leadership is being divided into two groups and is planning two separate congresses on 12 March and 2 April, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 7 March. On behalf of the Tatar civic-rights movement in Bashkortostan, Bignov urged the TIU leadership to suggest a single date for holding a congress, which could unite the TIU leadership and its branches across Russia.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi