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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 1, 2004

1 November 2004
Monument To Victims Of Political Repressions Unveiled In Kazan
In commemoration of the day of victims of political repression, Tatarstan's government on 30 October unveiled a monument to those who were persecuted by the totalitarian regime, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. The monument consists of four stone slabs with the word "Forgive" in Tatar, Russian, Arabic, and English. The ceremony was attended by survivors of Soviet prison camps and relatives of those who did not survive.

30 October was chosen as the official date for remembering victims of political persecutions because, on that day in 1974, a series of protest actions were organized by political prisoners at a number of Siberian camps. According to official figures, at least 8 million people were repressed during the Soviet period, more than 40,000 of them in Tatarstan.

KamAZ Directors Board Elects New Chairman
The 29 October meeting of shareholders of the KamAZ automaker elected a new board of directors, chaired by Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and including representatives of the federal roads agency, federal ministries, Tatarstan's government, Russia's Vneshtorgbank, and independent consultant Alan Spencer, Tatar-inform reported the next day. The board was previously headed by former Industry Minister Ilya Klebanov.

Federal Budget Allots $4.5 Million For Public Transport In Tatarstan
Within the federal program for Tatarstan's social and economic development, in the first nine months of 2004 the republic received $4.5 million to purchase vehicles for use as public transport, Intertat reported on 30 October. Some 64 percent of that amount was allocated for buying buses assembled by the KamAZ-affiliated plant NefAZ in Neftekamsk, Bashkortostan Republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Welcomes Abolishing Election Of Governors
Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 30 October, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said that he personally supported Putin's proposal to abolish the direct election of governors, NTV reported the same day. Rakhimov said: "This is the most topical issue, you know my attitude to this, and that is why this system is working in our republic. We appoint the heads of municipal and regional administrations and this is out of the question. I think we will further resume this work."

Putin asked Rakhimov whether he preferred that the Russian president would propose candidates for approval by local parliaments. Rakhimov answered: "We support it. There are some questions still to be discussed. Some have a negative attitude to this, but my attitude is positive."

Putin's proposal has received reserved criticism from Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Chavash President Nikolai Fedorov. According to an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 29 October, Bashkir parliamentary speaker Konstantin Tolkachev described Putin's initiative as "necessary," but objecting to the proposal to grant the Russian president the power o dissolve regional parliaments if they reject gubernatorial candidates more than twice.

Ufa Revives Subway Project
The Ufa city administration is speeding up preparation of its city subway project, which was launched in 1996 and frozen before construction ever began in 1999, RosBalt reported on 30 October. The project received some $800,000 from the federal government in 2004, while the republic is expected to contribute the same amount.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi