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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 29, 2003

29 September 2003
Muslim Women Concerned With Teachers' Appearance
A group of Muslim women has appealed to the Tatar education minister to enforce stricter standards of dress for teachers in schools and kindergartens, reported on 26 September. Elmira Edietullina, the chairwoman of the Muslim Women's Society, said teachers wearing miniskirts do not help the moral education of schoolchildren. The Muslim women have also appealed to the Tatar culture minister and heads of the republic's television companies, complaining about television broadcasts, which they say corrupt youth by propagating the cult of violence.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy on 27 September, Anatolii Pinskii, an adviser at the Russian Education Ministry, said that the Muslim women's move was "a signal that should not be ignored." Pinskii said the appeal may reflect the opinions of a number of the republic's residents and it should be considered. "A teacher's appearance is an important factor in the educational process," he said, adding that the issue is to be regulated by the regional authorities.

Congress Of Chemists Gathers In Kazan
The 17th Mendeleev congress on general and applied chemistry ended its five-day program on 26 September in Kazan, Tatar-inform and reported. From the 18 countries that took part in the conference, there were 1,200 scholars, including two Nobel Prize winners, in attendance. Pavel Sarkisov, the president of the Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society, said that for the first time presidents of chemical societies from the countries of the CIS, Baltic states, and from Europe, Asia, and America had a chance to meet at the congress. Participants agreed to establish a Russian-French laboratory on supra-molecular chemistry and biology. The forum also recommended that ties between institutions of higher education and secondary schools be intensified.

New Beer Venture Launched
The Kazan-based company Alternative Brewing Technologies (APT), established by companies close to the Krasnyi Vostok brewery, has issued its first bundle of shares, Tatar-inform reported on 26 September. The Swiss-based Prime Services S.A. and the Tatar Solodovpivo companies own 91 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of the company, which has a capital of 1.3 billion rubles ($42.6 million). Prime Services S.A. provided the company with high-tech equipment. Airat Kheirullin, who is currently the general director of Krasnyi Vostok, is the head of APT.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russia's Elite Admits Little Chances For Rakhimov's Rivals
The 26 September issue of "Kommersant" featured comments from members of Russia's economic and political elite on whether it is possible to defeat incumbent Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov in the 7 December elections. Viktor Baranov, president of the independent gas-producers union, said: "It's doubtful anyone will succeed in this. There is a very special mentality in Bashkortostan, which respects the man who already achieved a position. Rakhimov will step down only when the legislative possibilities for his being on this post are over."

Leningrad Oblast Deputy Governor Aleksei Akulov said that victory over Rakhimov "is of course possible, although difficult in the current campaign. It's a matter of time, resources, and the expertise of his opponents. [Altai Republic representative in the Russian Federation Council] Relif Safin is a decent candidate and he has to base his campaign not on criticism, but on constructivism, show how he knows the situation and what he can do. He is a successful man and he can do for Bashkortostan as much as he did for himself and LUKoil."

Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika foundation, said that "[Rakhimov's] rivals have very little chance. Rakhimov has built his own system of power," he said, and anyone who tries to fight it will fail. He added that "untraditional methods" are needed. He also said Safin "doesn't have enough support from the Kremlin," that this is own idea, "which is traditionally not welcomed. "Nikonov also said the chances of former head of Mezhprombank head and current Unified Russia party adviser Sergei Veremeenko are "more realistic."

Russian State Duma Deputy for Bashkortostan Khelil Barlibaev was less enthusiastic about Veremeenko and told the daily that "it is impossible to defeat Rakhimov, unless he is deposed. He has all the resources. First, the administrative one and second, most people [in the republic] support him."

Leonid Levin, general director of the Tainii Sovetnik company, admitted that "it is possible" to beat Rakhimov, because "victory in elections in determined by three components -- time, money, and administrative resources. Since Rakhimov doesn't possess the first two, the key roles will be played by the expertise of the rival teams and the possibility of control over the vote counting." State Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Averchenko agreed, saying that "it is difficult, but possible" to defeat Rakhimov in the elections. "Rakhimov has the administrative resources, but current legislation makes fighting administrative pressure possible."

Presidential candidate Safin, for his part, said that the outcome of the elections "depends on whether the people of Bashkortostan will be able to tell themselves and others the truth. Everyone there is afraid, even those who disagree with the existing situation in the republic, afraid for their future. It only depends on the voters, on whether there will be strong people believing in the future." Another candidate, Equality movement leader Aleksandr Arinin, said that "it is possible" to win against Rakhimov, "who in fact would have lost the last elections if the results were not falsified."

Government To Sell Some Of Its Shares In UralSib
Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry announced an auction for selling 15 percent of the state's shares in UralSib Bank, RosBalt reported on 26 September. The agency referred to a previous statement by bank President Azat Kormanaev that some 5 percent-15 percent of shares could possibly be sold "to some major Western companies." The Bashkir government currently holds 37.5 percent of the bank's shares. UralSib has branches in Udmurtia Republic, Kaliningrad, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Kemerovo, Tyumen, and Saratov oblasts.

Deposits In Bashkir Banks Increase
Deposits in banks in Bashkortostan have increased by 32 percent since earlier this year, the Bashkir National Bank announced on 26 September. The total of deposits currently amounts to 25.9 billion rubles ($846.4 million), with only 22 percent of deposits maintained in hard currency. the largest share, 40 percent, are long-term deposits placed for more than a year.

Possible Terrorist Bombing Averted In Ufa
Ufa police and the local branch of Federal Security Service (FSB) on 27 September defused explosives in a car parked in the center of the city, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 29 September. The abandoned car reportedly had a land mine and a grenade wired to its ignition system and, according to the Interior Ministry, was an attempted terrorist act.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi