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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 25, 2005


25 April 2005
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Tatar Speaker Opposes Ideological Platforms Within Unified Russia
Tatar State Council Chairman and Unified Russia's Tatarstan branch secretary Farid Mukhametshin told reporters on 23 April that he called on party members not to divide into "wings" or other structures based on different ideological platforms, since this would result in a split that will be harmful for the party, Tatarinform reported. Mukhametshin took part in a meeting of Unified Russia's General Council in Moscow the same day. Speaking at the gathering, Mukhametshin along with the majority of other speakers stressed the necessity of taking into account opinions of party's regional organizations, specifically regarding legislation on natural resources. It is necessary to discuss the party's position before passing legislation affecting most of the population, Mukhametshin said.

Communists Demonstrate Against Social Reforms
Between 40 and 50 people took part in a demonstration in Kazan on 24 April organized by the Communist Party's Kazan branch and Tatar State Council Communist deputies Robert Sadyiqov and Nesime Stolyarova to protest social reforms, Interfax and RIA-Novosti reported the same day. Protesters demanded that the law changing in-kind social benefits to cash payments be annulled and benefits be restored, and for the reform of housing and municipal services to be abolished. Communists also spoke against nominating heads of federation entities by the Russian president. Organizers called on pensioners to take part in a meeting scheduled for 1 May.

Sons Of Tatar, Bashkir Presidents Among Russia's 100 Richest
The Russian edition of "Forbes" magazine published its latest list of the country's 100 richest people on 22 April, which included the sons of the Tatar president, Radik Shaimiev, and of the Bashkir president, Ural Rakhimov.

Former Guantanamo Prisoners Accused Of Pipeline Explosion
The Federal Security Service's (FSB) Tatarstan branch said on 21 April that two prisoners released from the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, Timur Ishmoradov and Rawil Gomerov, have been accused of illegal possession of arms and explosives, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 22 April. The former Taliban fighters are suspected of involvement in the 8 January explosion of a gas pipeline in Bogelme. The FSB announced that a group of people who were connected to the Taliban have been arrested on suspicion of organizing the explosion. Spokesman Eduard Ismegyilev said the aims of the group had nothing to do with religious activity but were "to destabilize the situation in the republic and distract law enforcement agencies from the investigation of activities of the international terrorist organization banned in Russia, Hizb ut-Tahrir." Ismegyilev said that the suspects in the explosion may also be charged with terrorism. In early April, five Elmet residents were given suspended sentences for involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir, while Kazan's Yangasavin Raion court is currently hearing a case against Alisher Usmanov, who is considered by authorities to be a party leader.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Russian Human Rights Official Calls For Punishing Minister For Blagoveshchensk Raid
Ella Pamfilova, head of the Russian presidential Human Rights Council, said on 24 April that Bashkortostan's leadership should bear responsibility for violations of human rights in Blagoveshchensk in December, RFE/RL reported the next day. Pamfilova told ORT's "Vremena" program that she was bewildered that non-management employees of the Interior Ministry, not Minister Rafail Divaev, will be punished for the Blagoveshchensk raid conducted by Interior Ministry personnel.

Bashkir Peoples' Assembly Appeals To Shaimiev
The council of the Assembly of Bashkortostans' Peoples appealed to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev to express their "indignation" over the activities of Tatarstan's trade and economic representative to Bashkortostan, Ramil Bignov, claiming he "openly calls for violent overthrow of the legal power and reallotment of republican territory," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 22 April. Assembly leaders claimed that Bignov "is impudent enough to speak on the behalf of the Tatar people and introduces himself chairman of a union of Tatar organizations known by nobody." They expressed their belief that "everything is being done" in the republic for Tatars "to feel themselves comfortably." Authors of the appeal called on Shaimiev "not to let adventurers persecuting their mercenary interests speak on behalf of the brotherly Tatar people, Tatarstan and its leader."

In an interview with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 22 April, Bignov said his activities as Bashkortostan's opposition leader have nothing to do with his responsibilities as Tatarstan's trade and economic representative to Bashkortostan. He said he promotes the rights of Bashkortostan's Tatars not as Tatarstan's envoy, but as a person who was born and lives in Bashkortostan.

Opposing Groups Plan 1 May Actions In Ufa
Bashkir opposition leaders Ramil Bignov and Anatolii Dubovskii told a press conference in Moscow on 21 April that roughly 30,000 people will take part in an opposition meeting on Ufa's Lenin Square on 1 May, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 22 April. Meeting organizers said they were informed by the city administration that a festival will be held on the square at the same time. Ufa authorities did not suggest any other site to hold a meeting as legislation prescribes.

Meanwhile, the Ufa city administration was presented with notifications from the opposition Foundation for the Development of Local Self-government and from the pro-Rakhimov Eurasian Youth Union that they plan to hold meetings on Ufa's Lenin Square, "Moskovskii komsomolets v Bashkortostane" reported on 22 April.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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