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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 16, 2004

16 August 2004
Drug Addiction On The Rise In Tatarstan
The number of officially registered drug addicts in Tatarstan reached 8,000 in the first half of 2004, and the true number of addicts is estimated to be 10-12 times greater, Tatarinform reported on 13 August, citing narcotics experts working for the republican Health Ministry.

Some 20 percent of those registered as drug addicts are women. The most widely used drug is heroin, which is the drug of choice of about 80 percent of registered addicts.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Weekly Claims Governing Elites Are Moving Assets Away From Bashkortostan And Tatarstan
The 13 August Bashkir edition of the weekly "Moskovskii Komsomolets" commented that although President Murtaza Rakhimov seems to have good relations with Moscow, the region is witnessing "a rise of internal tensions." The weekly claimed that in both Bashkortostan and Tatarstan the local governing elites are preparing for future changes in republican governments and are funneling their assets abroad to avoid property takeovers by future leaders.

Along with what the weekly called Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov�s failure to ensure the efficient operation of his cabinet, potential economic and political instability were listed as reasons for Russian President Vladimir Putin�s inability to implement reforms at the same pace as in 2000.

Meanwhile, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 13 August that rumors abound in the Bashkir capital that there will be early elections another term of office for Rakhimov, who began his third term in office in late 2003.

Bashkortostan Remembers 'Kursk' Tragedy
Bashkortostan's Naval Assembly organized a wreath-laying ceremony on 12 August at the graves of four crewmembers of the 'Kursk' nuclear submarine that sank in the Barents Sea in August 2000, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. Islamic and Orthodox Christian services were also held on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the tragedy.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi