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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 16, 2005

16 September 2005
Memorial Day To Unite Tatar Public Groups
Reshit Yegeferov, chairman of the moderate nationalist Tatar National Council, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 15 September that the Memorial Day event dedicated to the 453rd anniversary of the conquest of Kazan by Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible on 15 October will involve a rally of numerous Tatar public organizations.

Tatar Publishers Consider New Approaches
Moderrris Weliev, head of the Megarif publishing house, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 15 September that in his opinion it's not easy to market Tatar-language literature, despite its high artistic value and low price. To facilitate a higher turnover of its books, Megarif is organizing its own shops and promoting Tatar literature in special radio shows.

Federal Agency Protests Privatization Of Tatarstan Post
The Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency has filed a protest against the privatization of the state-owned Tatarstan pochtasi (Tatarstan Post), "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 16 September. Moscow's Arbitrage Court will consider the claim against Tatarstan's government, which insists on its right to privatize the post office, thus setting a precedent for the country. In an interview published by the business daily on 6 September Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency head Andrei Bezkorovainii said that the case represented a threat to Russia's integrated postal system and contradicted the concept of the Russian postal system's restructuring.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ufa Court Sends Opposition Leader's Case To Moscow
Ufa's Kirov Raion Court on 14 September ruled in favor of Bashkir People's Congress leader Airat Dilmokhemmetov and moved his trial from Ufa to Moscow, "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" reported on 16 September. Dilmokhemmetov, who is accused of calling for extremist action through the media, argued that in Moscow the trial will be held in a "more objective" manner and "without pressure from Bashkir authorities." He described the Kirov court as a "pocket court of the Bashkir presidential administration."

Dilmokhemmetov is accused of making public statements during the 25 March meeting in Ufa and 7 April demonstration on Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow and saying, "if [Bashkir President] Murtaza Rakhimov doesn't resign voluntarily, we will rush into his [residence]." He also promised to arrange a "day of doom" for Rakhimov and a "people's liberation revolution."

Dilmokhemmetov told "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" that the accusations against him are "far-fetched" and his words "have been interpreted in the way favorable for Bashkortostan's authorities," and taken out of context.

Defense Industry Trade Union Joins National Protest
Bashkortostan's Defense Industry Trade Union on 15 September expressed its concern about the complex socioeconomic state of defense industries, Bashinform and "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" reported on 15 and 16 September, respectively. The union members held their meeting as a part of the Russia-wide demonstration of defense-industry workers on 8-22 September but refused to hold pickets or meetings like those in other regions. The meeting passed a resolution calling for an increase of state orders for defense-industry companies, prepayment for it at least by half, freeing companies of strategic importance from payment of property tax, and decent salaries. Bashkir Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Puchnin told the meeting that defense-industry companies are subordinate to federal authorities and "all issues are the responsibility of the federal agency."

Hewlett-Packard Opens Office In Ufa
Hewlett-Packard opened a branch in Ufa on 14 September, Bashinform reported the same day. Bashkortostan's Foreign Economic and Trade Minister Boris Kolbin attended the ceremony. Ufa is the fifth Russian city this year, after Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, and Rostov-na-Donu, to host a Hewlett-Packard office. General Director of Hewlett-Packard in Russia Owen Camp said at the opening that the company's turnover in Bashkortostan has increased significantly in the past year due to rapid growth of information technologies in the region.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova