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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 28, 2004

28 April 2004
Tatar Leaders Tackles Corruption
The fight against economic crimes and corruption was on the agenda of a meeting held on 27 April by President Mintimer Shaimiev with the participation of the republic's prime minister, the parliament speaker, ministers, administration heads, and high-ranking state officials, reported. Shaimiev said similar events will be held every three months to discuss corruption-related issues. The president ordered that by the next meeting an analysis be prepared on the work of bodies involved in the privatization of state-run companies; specifically realtors, arbiters, and bailiffs. Shaimiev said meetings will be open to reporters.

Tatarstan's Prosecutor Kafil Emirov and Interior Minister Esget Seferov while addressing the meeting reported numerous incidents of legal violations that took place in ministries, departments, and city and raion administrations. However, no names of officials involved in those violations were released.

Tatarstan, Khanty-Mansiisk Okrug To Step Up Cooperation
Tatarstan's government will promote the establishment of a representation office for the Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug-Yugra in Tatarstan, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said on 27 April during a meeting with the okrug government's visiting First Deputy Chairman Vyacheslav Novitskii, Tatar-inform,, and RosBalt reported the same day. Novitskii called for developing cooperation between the okrug and the republic, which he said are tied by "historical relations" since okrug's "oil complex developed with the help of colleagues from Tatarstan." He also said that 100,000 Tatars live in Khanty-Mansii Okrug.

UTair airlines General Director Andrei Martirosov, who was a member of the okrug delegation, said the company plans to arrange flights to western and southern areas of Russia via Kazan's international airport. He added that the city has great potential to become a major transit center. UTair seeks to be among first purchasers of the Kazan-produced Ansat helicopter, Martirosov said. The delegation also met with President Shaimiev.

OICC To Hold Meeting In Kazan
The general conference of the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC) held in Dubai on 25-27 April decided to hold the next session of the organization's administrative council in Kazan next spring and to devote it to the city's millennium, and RosBalt reported, citing Kazan's press service.

Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov said the conference is of great importance to Russia's 20 million Muslims. Iskhaqov suggested that OICC members join efforts to preserve Islamic heritage in Eurasian cities and in promoting dialogue among the followers of different faiths throughout the world.

The OICC, which was set up in 1980 as a subdivision of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), unites 143 capitals and cities representing 54 OIC member states and eight cities of countries that are not OIC members. Kazan joined the OICC in 1992 and is the only Russian city in the organization.

Legislature Reappoints Federation Council Senator
The State Council Committee on Legality, Regulations, and Deputies' Ethics on 26 April approved Irina Larochkina as the representative of the Tatar parliament in the Federation Council, and RosBalt reported. State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, who took part in the committee session, said Larochkina "actively represented the republic and the State Council...both in Russia and abroad."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Trade Unions Prepare For May Day Holiday
Bashkortostan's Trade Unions Federation will insist on amending Russia's Labor Code in a joint effort with the republic's parliament, Rosbalt reported on 27 April, citing the federation's chairman Amikhan Samirkhanov. The existing code reportedly "infringes on the rights of the working people" and the Bashkir Trade Unions have nearly 500 proposed amendments for the document based on the Bashkir Labor Code, which was adopted in 1994. Samirkhanov also said that up to 8,000 participants, affiliated with the federation, will celebrate the traditional 1 May holiday. The meeting will be held under the slogan: "Decent wages -- the way to overcome poverty." The average monthly wage in Bashkortostan is 3,500 rubles ($155).

Bashkir Hero's Anniversary Celebrations To Be Postponed
Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov, who chairs a committee organizing celebrations for the 250th birthday of the Bashkir national hero Salavat Yulayev, told a committee meeting on 27 April that due to slow progress in the Salavat region, named after the hero, this year's celebrations are likely to be postponed until next year, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Baydavletov criticized the regional authorities for failing to ensure the proper use of government funds. Yulayev was one of the leaders in the peasant wars of 1773-1775.

Chechen War Remembrance Ceremony To Be Held Before Victory Day Celebrations
On 9 May, on the eve of Victory Day celebrations, 40 families from the Bashkir capital whose relatives were killed in combat in Chechnya will receive personal copies of "The Memory Book," which is devoted to Bashkortostan's human losses in the Chechen war, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported today. The book contains information on the more than 200 Russian soldiers recruited in Bashkortostan and killed during the war.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi