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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 16, 2005

16 June 2005
Speaker Says Draft Power-Sharing Treaty Ready
Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin told reporters on 15 June that a new version of the power-sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan has been completed, reported the same day.

Mukhametshin said some points still require negotiation, including a "provision concerning the tax on the use of natural resources and the issue of the [Tatar] State Council's powers connected to the language issue."

Mukhametshin said language is an issue. "The federal side is afraid that we will use that norm of the introduce the Latin script," he said.

Mukhametshin said the treaty is not intended to introduce the Latin script. He said that a meeting between the presidents of Tatarstan and Russia is needed to "find a political solution to those issues."

The group appointed to prepare the new treaty, co-chaired by Mukhametshin and the presidential Volga Federal District envoy, Sergei Kirienko, was formed on 25 October 2004.

Iranian Consulate-General To Open In Kazan
The Islamic Republic of Iran will open a Consulate-General's office in Kazan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 15 June. The Russian government also agreed to open a Russian Consulate-General in Rasht, Iran, in a related agreement signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Ombudsmen Hold Conference On Tolerance In Kazan
A two-day international conference, Tolerance as a Factor of Stable Development of Modern Civilization, opens on 16 June in Kazan, Tatar-inform and Interfax reported.

Tatarstan's ombudsman, Reshit Wegyizov, told Tatar-inform on 15 June that the European Institute of Ombudsman chose Tatarstan to host the conference because it is a civilized republic where no racial discrimination takes place, international tolerance projects are implemented, and different religions coexist peacefully.

Notably, the European Institute of Ombudsman will send its executive director, Nikolaus Schwaerzler, and its vice president, Ulrich Galle. Aleksandr Gessel, an adviser to the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, will join them in Kazan.

Over 45 ombudsmen from 18 countries, including Austria, Germany, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, and 45 Russian regions will take part in the conference.

Shaimiev Appoints Representative To Parliament
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev nominated Reise Sekhieva, head of the presidential State Legal Directorate, as his representative to the Tatar State Council, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 15 June.

Sekhieva said she would maintain her post as the directorate head.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Prosecutor's Office Wants Harsher Sentence In Fake Ballots Case
Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office appealed the verdict of Ufa's Kirov Raion Court by which Bashkir presidential-administration publishing house director Marat Weliev was convicted of printing fake ballots and sentenced to a fine of one year's salary or some 300,000 rubles ($10,500) (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6 June 2005), RosBalt reported on 15 June. Prosecutor's Office spokesman Ramil Zeinetdinov told the news agency that the office considers the verdict "too gentle" and demands that Weliev be sentenced to one year's imprisonment.

Weliev's lawyer Lyudmila Zlydnikova said in court that her client is "far from politics" and committed the crime "under threat of violence" from unspecified people. Those who ordered the fake ballots have not yet been found. That part of the criminal case is under investigation by the Volga Federal District Prosecutor-General's Office.

Opposition presidential candidates discovered fake ballots in the publishing house on 4 December 2002 on the eve of the Bashkir presidential elections. Deputy Bashkir prosecutor Vladimir Korostelev said at the time that the ballots were ordered by Bashkir presidential-administration head Radii Khebirov.

Bashneft Head Refused Registration In Local Elections
The Bashkir Supreme Court's Appeal Board has refused registration as a candidate for the Ufa district in the 26 June local elections to Bashneft General Director Gymran Gebitov, "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" reported on 16 June. Gebitov will appeal the decision to the Bashkir Supreme Court Presidium. The Ufa city election commission refused to register Gebitov as a candidate on 12 May, citing the absence of a notification of self-nomination as a candidate among his documents.

Gebitov, who was appointed Bashneft general director in January, currently chairs the Budget, Finances, and Taxes Committee in the Ufa City Council. The daily cited analysts linking the Gebitov issue to the conflict in the republic's leadership involving fuel-and-energy-sector officials.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova