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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 6, 2005

6 October 2005
Deputies Oppose Federal Law On Natural Resources
The State Council Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Land Use on 4 October voted against a draft federal law on natural resources that is to be heard in its first reading by the State Duma, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 5 October. Deputies argued that the draft law -- under which all powers on use of natural resources would be transferred to federal authorities -- is unconstitutional as it violates the rights of federation entities. They also suggested the document be returned for further work before going to a first reading. Committee Chairman Rinat Abdullin argued that the draft law "worsens the state of [federation] subjects," as it leaves all rights concerning the use of natural resources at the disposal of federal bodies. Abdullin added that the Russian Federal Constitution provides that legislation regarding natural resources -- as well as issues of possession, use, and disposal -- of natural resources is a joint power of the federation and its subjects. The committee included the issue on the agenda of the State Council's next plenary session.

To return the document to the zero reading, the proposal must be backed by at least third of Russia's regional legislative bodies.

Suspected Terrorists Arrested In Tatarstan
Three suspected members of a group that is believed to have committed a series of acts of terrorism on the orders of Chechen field commanders on fuel-and-energy targets in Tatarstan and neighboring regions have been detained in Tatarstan, Regnum reported on 6 October. The republican Interior Ministry's Criminal Investigation Board chairman, Vladimir Ivanov, told the news agency that the group is suspected of having committed or attempted 13 acts of terrorism. A 23-year-old native of Tatarstan's Kukmara Raion who was detained in June has pleaded guilty to committing acts of terrorism. Two more members of the group have been also detained, while two others are sought by law-enforcement bodies.

Ivanov said the offenses were related to high-voltage power-transmission lines, power-and-gas-distribution substations, and pipelines. The group was involved in committing or preparing six acts of terrorism in Tatarstan, two in Bashkortostan, two in Kirov Oblast, two in Samara Oblast, and one in Ulyanovsk Oblast, Ivanov alleged. "Evidence has been collected that [suggests] group members received orders to commit acts of terrorism from the heads of illegal military units operating on the territory of the Chechen Republic," Ivanov said. "Arms, technical instruction, and ingredients for making explosive were also received in Chechnya." The inteior official added that "the most immediate aim of the terrorist group was to destabilize the situation in the Volga region, while the strategic aim was to establish an Islamic state on the territory of the Volga region connected to the Middle Asia and North Caucasus."

Three Children Injured In Gas-Pipeline Explosion
A gas-pipeline explosion in Tatarstan's Sarman Raion on 4 October injured three children, who were hospitalized with heavy burns, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 5 October. Officials from the Russian Federal Security Service's Tatarstan Board (UFSB) told "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" on 5 October that they do not exclude that it might have been an act of terrorism.

The Tatar Emergency Situations Ministry commented that it believes the incident occurred because of "a leak of casing-head gas and its further [accumulation] and ignition." The explosion must have been caused by static electricity accumulated from clothes friction, according to ministry sources.

On 28 September, the Tatar Supreme Court acquitted two former prisoners of the Guantanamo military base -- Timur Ishmoradov and Rawil Gomerov -- along with Tatarstan resident Fenis Sheikhetdinov in the case of a pipeline explosion that occurred on 8 January in Bogelme.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Police Spokesman Says Blagoveshchensk Case Investigation Biased
The case of Albert Soltanov, the first officer of Blagoveshchensk city police to be tried for his involvement in the December 2004 police raid in Blagoveshchensk "was conducted under strong public pressure in the media," Bashkir Interior Ministry spokesman Ruslan Shrefetdinov told reporters on 5 December. According to an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent, Shrefetdinov said that the court's objectiveness "was influenced by the buzz around the case." He insisted that the affair was exaggerated by the media. Earlier, Soltanov received a three-year suspended sentence.

Communists Hold Modest Memorial Event To Mark October 1993 Coup Anniversary
About 50 Communist Party activists showed up for a memorial event on 4 October near the Lenin monument in Ufa to mark the 12th anniversary of the failed coup in the Russian parliament, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. After remembering the victims of President Boris Yeltsin's quashing of the coup, members of the Communist Party in Bashkortostan loudly denounced the democratic reforms in Russia and "American imperialism," which in their opinion brought the fall of the Soviet Union.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi