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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 15, 2004

15 July 2004
Official Says Tatarstan's Anticorruption Efforts Should Attract More Investments
Tatarstan's Security Council Secretary Vener Selimov told "Kommersant-Povolzhe" on 14 July that Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev's decree on the establishment of an anticorruption commission will attract more outside investment to the republic. Selimov cited reports that Tatarstan is among Russia's 20 least-corrupt entities, adding that "foreign states do not know about this as they base their opinions on the high corruption rating of Russia as a whole." The anticorruption commission will also defend small and medium-size businesses from bureaucrats. Selimov is deputy head of the new anticorruption body (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 14 July 2004).

Antinarcotics Body Reports On First Year Of Operation
At a 14 July meeting, Tatarstan's antinarcotics board reported that the body has uncovered seven large channels of narcotics trafficking during its first year of operation, reported the same day. Three hundred kilograms of drugs, including 19 kilograms of heroin and 178 kilograms of marijuana were seized during the same period. The board has filed 61 criminal cases and 41 narcotics traffickers have been convicted. It was reported at the meeting that the controversial federal government resolution that increased the amount of narcotics users could legally possess has meant that pushers selling small doses could not be charged.

Number Of Road Accidents Grows 10 Percent From Last Year
Tatarstan's State Traffic Security Inspection Head Rifqet Minnekhanov told a press conference on 14 July that the number of road accidents in Tatarstan has grown by 10 percent in the last year. In the past six months, 306 people died and 3,120 were injured in 2,507 road accidents registered in Tatarstan. Minnikhanov added that the number of road accidents involving children has increased by 18 percent, 16 children died and 316 were injured. Excessive speed and careless driving are the major reasons for most accidents. Some 17,500 drunk drivers, 1.5 percent up on the previous year's rate, have been convicted.

Magnitogorsk Street Named After Shihabetdin Merjeni
A street in Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, has been named after the prominent 19th century Tatar historian and theologian, Shihabetdin Merjeni, Ural-press-inform reported on 14 July. The decision was passed by the Magnitogorsk deputies' assembly after an appeal by a Magnitogorsk Tatar cultural center. The street is located near a mosque, which is currently under construction. Merjeni is the author of an early history of the Tatar people and one of the founders and proponents of a modern Muslim education in the region.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Court Rules Action Against Arbitration Court Head Was Legal
The Bashkir Supreme Court on 13 July annulled a resolution by the Ufa Kirov Raion court that employees of the Russian Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service sealing up the office of Bashkir Arbitration Court Chairman Fenil Safin violated the law on the immunity of judges (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 May and 1 June 2004), "Kommersant-Povolzhe" reported on 15 July. The incident took place on 14 May as federal law enforcement agencies were investigating allegations against Safin for bribe taking.

Volga District Forum On Youth Housing In Ufa
Heads and officials from youth bodies in the Volga Federal District gathered in Ufa on 15 July for a three-day seminar to study Bashkortostan's experience in solving housing problems for young people and families, NTA Privolzhe reported on 14 July. Participants will discuss Bashkortostan's housing program for young families and will visit apartments constructed under that program. The program provides an opportunity for young families in Bashkortostan to form housing cooperatives and to participate in the construction of their housing.

No Spread Of Cholera In Bashkortostan
Gennadii Minin, the chief state sanitary official in Bashkortostan, has issued a press release saying a Beloretsk resident infected with cholera (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 July 2004) is recovering, Bashinform and other news agencies reported on 14 July. He also said that none of the people who have been in contact with the patient have been infected. Minin also said that, as a precaution, preventative and antiepidemic measures are being implemented in Beloretsk.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova