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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 15, 2005


15 April 2005
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Tatar President Signs Anticorruption Plan
President Mintimer Shaimiev issued a decree confirming the republic's anticorruption policy, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 14 April. The policy document was crafted by a commission under the leadership of First Deputy Prime Minister Rawil Moratov and INDEM foundation President Georgii Satarov. It calls for the establishment of a permanently functioning body to implement the anticorruption policy. Tatar Security Council Secretary Vener Selimov was tasked with presenting draft regulations for the body and proposals concerning its membership by 1 May. Moratov has said the anticorruption body should bring together representatives of law-enforcement agencies.

TIU Leader Opposes Draft Law On Cossacks
In an interview with RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 14 April, Tatar Public Center (TIU) Chairman Telget Bariev criticized a draft federal law submitted to the State Duma by President Vladimir Putin under which Cossacks could be allowed to defend the country's institutions and take part in securing order and fighting terrorism. Bariev said that, on the one hand, Cossacks were the object of severe repression by Bolsheviks following the 1917 revolution and suffered greatly under the Soviet regime; on the other hand, Bariev said, Cossacks have historically been defenders of the Russian Empire. The draft law might be a sign of Moscow's concern with demographics regarding ethnic Russians and the growth of the Muslim populations among Russia's southern regions, Bariev suggested. He said it is dangerous to arm one ethnic group in a country and allow it to fight others, adding that such a situation could lead to civil war. Bariev cast doubt on the idea that the draft bill might promote human rights.

Kazanorgsintez Takes First Tranche Of Sberbank Loan
The Kazanorgsintez board has approved the use of a $64 million credit from Sberbank, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 14 April. The funds should be used to modernize ethylene and polyethylene production. The loan was allocated under an October agreement between Kazanorgsintez, TAIF (the owner of 50.1 percent of Kazanorgsintez), and Sberbank. Sberbank will provide a total of $740 million in credits to Kazanorgsintez (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 October 2004).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Bashkortostan's Opposition Plans New Street Actions...
Bashkortostan opposition leaders Ramil Bignov and Anatolii Dubovskii told a press conference in Moscow on 13 April that new protests are slated for 16 and 17 April in 15 of the republic's cities and towns and that a meeting, march, and rally near President Murtaza Rakhimov's residence will be held on 1 May, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 13 April. On 1 May, protestors also plan to set-up a permanent tent camp in Ufa. Bignov and Dubovskii said the revolution in Bashkortostan will be the "green" color while the tents are orange.

...As Do Pro-Rakhimov Organizations
Leaders of the World Bashkir Congress branches in Sverdlovsk, Perm, Kurgan, and Saratov oblasts as well as in Uzbekistan sharply criticized the activities of the Bashkir opposition aimed at ousting Bashkir President Rakhimov, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 14 April. The congress issued a statement on its website, http://www.koroltay.ru, in which it considers actions by the opposition an attempt to "ruin Russia" and endanger peace and interethnic unity in the region. The Bashkir People's Center-Urals warned in an announcement on the same website that in case "extremists... continue their...activities destabilizing the situation in Bashkortostan [on the authority of oligarchs]," it "will cause the entire Bashkir people to defend the republic and its official bodies." "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 15 April that Bashkortostan's pro-government civic movements are preparing alternative actions in support of President Rakhimov.

Deputy Says New Draft Legislation On Protests Contradicts Federal Law
State Assembly Deputy Gennadii Shabaev told "Kommersant-Daily" on 15 April that the draft law requiring official notification of a public event that is scheduled to be passed by the republic's legislature on 19 April contradicts federal law. The draft increases the number of documents that need to be presented in notifying officials about the holding of a public meeting. Groups will have to present statutory documents certified by a notary and copies of passports of people taking part. In case more than 500 people take part in an action, notification must be given to the republican government. Shabaev commented that the draft "restricts the democratic rights of Bashkortostan's residents."

Court Backs Refusal To Register Gay Marriage
A Moscow city court has confirmed a refusal by a Moscow registry office and the Moscow Ostankino court to register a same-sex marriage, Interfax reported on 14 April. Bashkir State Assembly Deputy Edvard Murzin told reporters the same day that the court rejected his appeal and he will now appeal to the Russian Constitutional Court. In January, Murzin and editor in chief of the gay magazine "Kvir," Edvard Mishin, appealed to register their "marriage," but were refused by the registry office (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 19 and 21 January, 2 and 16 February 2005). Murzin added that he is not a homosexual but said that as a human-rights activist and a deputy, he will also defend the interests of an estimated 5 percent of the population that is gay.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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