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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 22, 2004

22 June 2004
KamAZ Launches Assembly Line In Vietnam
The Chally-based KamAZ truckmaker recently dispatched its first shipment of 30 truck kits for assembly by the Vietnamese company Vinacoal, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The coal-mining corporation is expected to receive up to 300 truck kits by the end of the year.

KamAZ has been delivering its products to Vietnam since 1979, and one in every three heavy vehicles used in that country are KamAZ.

Tatar Delegation Heads To Minsk
A Tatar delegation of government officials and business representatives left for Minsk, Belarus, on 22 June for economic, scientific and cultural cooperation talks, Intertat reported today. The delegation is headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, who is expected to meet with his Belarusian counterpart Syarhey Sidorski and to sign a cooperation agreement in the spheres of trade, economy, scientific research, and culture. The Tatar delegation will also meet with the Belarusian industry minister and representatives of the local Tatar community, and inspect local industries.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Tatar Public Organizations Begin Preparations For Referendum On Tatar Language
A congress of 18 of Bashkortostan's Tatar organizations established an initiative group for preparing a republic-wide referendum on obtaining official status to Tatar language in that republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 21 June, citing the Tatar public organizations union chairman, Ramil Bignov.

Under republican law, the group, consisting of 78 people, will seek registration at Bashkortostan's Central Election Commission and appeal to the republican State Assembly. To hold the referendum, the organizers will have to gather some 60,000 signatures or 2 percent of the republic's electorate.

Tatars are the second-largest ethnic group in Bashkortostan after Russians, while the republic's constitution and the Bashkir law declares only Russian and Bashkir as official languages in the republic.

Bashkir Police Win Defamation Suits Against Russian Press
In the last six months, Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry has won 12 defamation suits against the national media outlets that published compromising materials about Minister Rafail Divaev and his former deputy, Nikolai Patrikeev, RosBalt reported on 21 June. The Bashkir police have filed as many as 30 such lawsuits and 15 of them have already been tried. Numerous articles alleging corruption in the republic's law-enforcement system appeared in the Russian press about a year ago, when the recording of a telephone conversation between Patrikeev and an Ufa crime boss was published on the Internet.

Ufa Children Get Military Training At Summer Camp
Ufa's city committee on youth policies will hold special programs involving numerous training exercises in sports and primary military training for children who attend the city's summer camps, Bashinform reported on 21 June. Traditionally, such programs include special courses and military games inherited from the Soviet era.

In recent years, Bashkortostan has had the highest percentage of recruit-age young men drafted into the army in Russia. Meanwhile, neighboring Tatarstan, which has much less patriotic and military education programs, reportedly has one of the lowest recruiting ratios nationwide.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi