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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 7, 2004

7 January 2004
Shaimiev Delivers Orthodox Christmas Greetings...
In his greetings on the eve of Orthodox Christmas, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev underlined the important role the Orthodox Christianity has always played in preserving the moral principles of public life and cultural heritage. Shaimiev said the spiritual revival and restoration of traditional religious values in Tatarstan is an irreversible process, adding that Orthodox churches are being restored and the system of Orthodox education is in place. The Eparchy, which cooperates with representatives of Islam and republic's other traditional religions, provides an invaluable contribution to eliminating social ailments.

In his congratulatory telegram to Patriarch Aleksii II, Shaimiev said that Christian traditions of tolerance and respect of followers of other faiths and readiness for cooperation for the sake of peace and happiness of all people are of especial importance for the multiethnic and multiconfessional Russian Federation.

...Meets With Archbishop Of Kazan, Tatarstan
The same day, Shaimiev received Archbishop Anastasii of Kazan and Tatarstan, and other news Tatar agencies reported. Construction and restoration of churches, development of religious education, and interfaith relations were on the agenda. Shaimiev said beautiful churches have been constructed lately in Tatarstan -- one in the Kurkul village of Alekseevskii Raion, the Serafim Sorovskii Church, and the Christmas Church in Kazan. Anastasii said it would be better to construct small churches in republican cities and raions, as reconstruction of churches built in the late 19th century-early 20th century is too expensive. Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Shaimiev, Anastasii lauded its results, saying he always finds mutual understanding with the republic's leadership and heads of cities and raions.

KAPO To Produce Tu-334s
The Kazan Aviation Plant (KAPO) is launching production of parts for the Tu-334 short-distance airliner and may assemble the jet in the future, Tatarinform reported on 6 January. The plant will also continue production of the Tu-214 aircraft. The Tu-334, designed to replace the Tu-134, is capable of seating 102 passengers and fly up to 3,150 kilometers.

Higher Education Institution Official Killed
A department head at the Kazan affiliate of Vladimir Juridical Institute of the Russian Justice Ministry, Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Kozlov, was killed on 5 January in Kazan, reported on 6 January, citing local law enforcement. Kozlov, 40, was found shot in the street alongside the body of another man. Two pistols were also found at the site. The news agency quoted an unidentified source in law enforcement bodies as saying that the murder is unlikely linked to Kozlov's professional activity and it looks like Kozlov tried to help the other man who was assaulted.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

New Year Kicks Off With Another Increase In Energy Tariffs
Bashkortostan's government issued a decree increasing the heating and electricity tariffs for individuals and industries by an average of 15 percent beginning on 15 January, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 6 January. The reason for the hike is the rise in gas and oil prices, as well as the cost of fuel transportation via railroads.

Nevertheless, rural areas will retain favorable energy tariffs, with increases of only 8.5 percent, while urban areas will have to pay 16 percent more.

Ufa's Passport Reform Mostly Complete
By 6 January, 98 percent of Ufa's residents had exchanged their old Soviet passports for new Russian ones, RosBalt reported the same day, citing the city administration. The passport reform reportedly reached all of the city's law-abiding citizens, while vagrants, people without Russian citizenship, and Bashkortostan residents imprisoned outside the republic are said to be in violation of the official deadline for obtaining the identity documents set for 31 December 2003.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi