Accessibility links

Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 8, 2004

8 March 2004
Registration Disputes Remain With Just Days Before Parliamentary Vote
The republican election commission is still uncertain about the precise number of candidates who will square off in 50 election districts in Tatarstan's parliamentary elections, which are slated to be held the same day as the Russian presidential vote on 14 March, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 6 March. Some of the 224 candidates running in single-mandate districts are said to be disputing their registration with the commission. Tatarstan's Supreme Court is to consider appeals in the next several days by two candidates who were denied registration because of alleged errors in their application forms and bogus signatures backing their candidacies. Meanwhile, reports have suggested that the election commission committed a number of mistakes during preparations for the parliamentary campaign and that it will have to reprint voting ballots in some districts where candidates' names appeared with misprints.

New Russian Cabinet Could Speed Up Preparations For Kazan Millennial Fete
Acting Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin told a 6 March meeting of the state commission preparing the Kazan millennial celebrations for 2005 that the financing of the city's subway and other reconstruction projects was delayed by the former Russian cabinet, "although the proper documents were already approved by it," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 8 March. Kudrin said that, in his opinion, new Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will "bring order to this issue" because such documents should not lie idle for weeks at a time. The construction of 37 kilometers of subway tunnel with 25 stations is planned for Kazan in the next 11 years, while the first subway line is to be completed by 2005.

President Marks Women's Day
In an 8 March message to the women of Tatarstan, President Mintimer Shaimiev said that "modern women are not only the most beautiful but [also] the most socially active part of mankind, as development of democracy created the conditions for actual equality of the sexes, having provided a broad field of activities for self-expression," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 8 March. "Society and the state should through cooperative efforts create all the necessary conditions for a woman to utilize her social and creative potential and ensure a decent life without harming her basic natural function[s]: giving birth to children and safeguarding the family hearth."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Scholar Says Tens Of Thousands Of Tatars Registered As Bashkirs
Speaking at a seminar titled "Russian Tatars: the 2002 Census Results," Ildus Ileshev, the director of Bashkortostan's Language and Literature Institute, said that tens of thousands of Bashkortostan's Tatars might have been registered as Bashkirs during the 2002 census, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 6 March. The seminar was organized by the Moscow-based Watan Tatar society. At the forum, Tatar ethnologist Damir Iskhaqov said that, according to his estimations, the number of Bashkirs grew in Bashkortostan in the census by some 150,000-200,000 at the expense of Tatars. In response, Ileshev said that Tatar-Bashkir ethnic identity was increasingly interchangeable and that the high rate of Tatar-Bashkir marriages can explain the shift.

Swiss Diplomat Says Relatives Of Collision Victims Agree On Compensation Sum
Swiss Ambassador to Russia Erwin H. Hofer told Ekho Moskvy radio that some of the relatives of victims of the 2002 midair collision over southern Germany had agreed on compensation, RIA-Novosti reported on 4 March. Hofer said the interests of the relatives are represented by a specially formed group of lawyers who decide what sum of compensation is to be determined in each case. The ambassador said the payment fund was set up at the initiative of the Swiss government. He added that "all companies involved in the case received an invitation to join the fund" and that the Swiss government has already made its contribution. This is the reason why its size cannot be estimated, Hofer said. He asserted that those responsible for the collision can only be named following the publication of a report investigating the accident. He said Germany has been entrusted with investigating the collision and is to issue a report on its results.

Four Turkish Businessmen Deported From Ufa
The Bashkir Interior Ministry's Migration Affairs Directorate annulled the visas of four Turkish businessmen on suspicion of involvement in the international extremist sect Nurjular, Interfax, RIA-Novosti, and other media reported on 5 March citing the ministry's press service. Ashgen Hairetdin, Ibrahim Denia, Aktepe Yusuf, and Uilashkan Shahin were managers of the Style leather-clothing company that moved to Ufa from Rostov-na-Donu after a branch of Nurjular was uncovered there in 2003. Half of the company's income has reportedly been directed to the sect's needs. In August 2003, banned literature, including works by the sect's founder, Said Nursi, was found in the company's Ufa shop. The people themselves, however, deny their involvement in the sect. The previous year, the Bashkir Education Minister annulled a contract with the Turkish company Serhat after it had established four Bashkir-Turkish lyceums in the republic that promoted the Nurjular ideology. Nurjular was founded in Turkey with the aim of overthrowing the secular government and spreading Shari'a law. In the past two years, over 20 Turkish citizens who are Nurjular followers have been deported from Russia.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova