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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 12, 2005

12 April 2005
Tatar, Ukrainian Leaders Discuss Ukrtatnafta Venture
Tatarstan's acting Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko met in Kyiv on 9 April to discuss the prospects for Ukrtatnafta development and other issues of bilateral cooperation, Tatarinform reported on 11 April. At a news conference following the meeting, Timoshenko positively evaluated the experience in the Ukrainian-Tatar Ukrtatnafta project. (Ukrtatnafta is a joint venture between a Ukrainian refinery and several Russian entities, including Tatneft producer, Tatnefteprom, and others.) "We support all projects aimed at uniting our oil refineries with suppliers of resources to Ukraine," said Tymoshenko, who initially rose to prominence in the power industry. "If we do not unite resources and processing, it will be difficult to supply the plant with oil, since Ukraine does not have such resources. So I back the unification." Minnikhanov also met in Kyiv with Ukrainian First Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Oleksiy Ivchenko and visited Tatarstan's trade and economic representation. Agreements were reached on increasing mutual deliveries, delegation visits, and trade development. Tatarstan institutions control a majority in Ukrtatnafta, a joint venture established in 1994.

Putin, Schroeder Visit KamAZ Tent At Hannover Fair
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited the KamAZ display at Germany's Hannover Fair 2005 on 11 April, reported the same day. KamAZ General Director Sergei Kogogin noted that his company uses German-made spare parts to assemble its sport trucks, which have won the Paris-Dakar rally on numerous occasions.

Tatarstan Prosecutor Urges Independent Probes Of Torture Allegations
Tatarstan Prosecutor Kafil Emirov has emphasized instructions on investigating alleged incidents of violence against suspects by security employees, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 11 April. The document was developed following an appeal to Emirov by Kazan Human Rights Center representatives who probed whether torture is used by security officials in the republic. Human rights activists discovered that complaints of torture by interior employees are usually investigated by the same organization. Emirov ordered prosecutors to supervise investigations of torture personally. Center head Pavel Chikov told Regnum on 11 April that "he is pleased to emphasize once more the adherence to principles by the Tatar prosecutor regarding [alleged] incidents of torture and other violations of human rights by interior employees."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

First Seven Interior Ministry Employees Go To Court For Blagoveshchensk Violations
Bashkortostan's prosecutor-general, Aleksandr Konovalov, told a press conference on 8 April in Ufa that the investigation of the criminal case against seven Interior Ministry employees involved in December's controversial police raid in Blagoveshchensk has ended, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 9 April. Seven employees, including Blagoveshchensk Interior Board Lieutenant Colonel Ildar Ramazanov, Blagoveshchensk Criminal Investigation Department deputy head Oleg Shapeev, former commander of the Ufa Interior Ministry's special troops (OMON) detachment Oleg Sokolov, Blagoveshchensk Interior Board's Public Safety Department deputy head Oleg Mirzin, Lieutenant Aidar Gilwanov, and ensigns Yurii Golovin and Sergei Fomin, were accused of exceeding their power. Two others, lieutenants Albert Soltanov and Vasilii Zhukov, were accused of forgery and abuse of power. Konovalov also said a criminal case against OMON detachment members who wore masks during the operation will not be closed despite the fact that "it has been so far impossible to clarify persons involved in those violations."

Bashneft Workers Prepare For Permanent Protests
The deputy chairman of the Bashkortostan's Committee for Oil and Gas Industry Trade Unions, Aleksandr Grishin, told Interfax-Povolzhe on 11 April that Bashneft workers are ready to begin a strike in the case that the company's board of directors does not annul its 10 February decision to abolish its nine directorates and set up three affiliates in their place. Grishin said Bashneft employees stated their position at meetings that were held on 9 April in Neftekamsk, Oktyabrskii, and Belebei. He also said oil workers expressed their support for efforts by the Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov and government to return Bashneft shares to republican ownership. The Tuimazaneft trade union appealed to the Bashkir Arbitration Court on 31 March against the board decision, arguing that abolishing boards "threatens a social explosion because of mass layoffs." The court on 4 April froze the Bashneft board resolution and the slated hearing on the appeal scheduled for 12 May.

Bashkir Official News Agency Finds Originator Of Anti-Rakhimov Protests
In its comments about protests in Bashkortostan against President Rakhimov published on 11 April, the republic's official news agency, Bashinform, blamed the Tatar-Bashkir Service of RFE/RL along with others who are taking part in what they called a "huge anti-Russian front." Labeling RFE/RL a "CIA-controlled" station, Bashinform claimed that the radio's "hosts dream of permanent destructive turmoil occurring everywhere in Russia." According to Bashinform, forces encouraging the opposition want to let Russian President Vladimir Putin know that: "We can destabilize the situation in any state of the CIS, to the disliking of Moscow. Moreover, we can do the same even in one of the prosperous republics of Russia. And doing the same thing in depressed oblasts is also very easy."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova