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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 19, 2003


19 August 2003
WEEKLY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Russian Nationalities Minister Praises Russia's Possible Joining Of Islamic Conference
Russia's joining of the Islamic Conference will be a an interesting step not only from the geopolitical point of view but also for the country's domestic policy, Russian Ministry on Nationalities Affairs Minister Vladimir Zorin told reporters on 8 August. Zorin said 20 million Muslims live in Russia, adding that the Islamic factor is a very important issue for peace and stability. Zorin added that an international conference on the Great Volga Route, which is being retraced aboard a ship on the Volga River, follows the path the first missionaries used in spreading Islam in Russia. "There are few places in the world where a similar experience of cooperation between Orthodoxy and Islam exists, while this issue is now of importance for the international community," Zorin said. The proposal for Russia to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference was put forth by President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Malaysia the previous week.

Tatar Government Delegation Visits Uzbekistan
A Tatar delegation headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov is to leave for Uzbekistan on 12 August, intertat.ru reported the previous day, citing the Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry press service. The aim of the two-day visit is to develop and strengthen trade and economic relations between Tatarstan and Uzbekistan. The delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Vladimir Shvetsov, Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov, the heads of KamAZ, Nizhnekamskshina, Kazan Optical Mechanical Plant, Kazanorgsintez petrochemical plant, and other companies. The program of the visit includes negotiations with Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Uzavtodor road-construction head Rustam Yunusov, Deputy Prime Minister and Uzbek Foreign Economic Relations Agency General Director Elyor Ganiev, and Tashkent Mayor Rustam Shoabdrakhmanov. The bilateral trade turnover between Tatarstan and Uzbekistan increased in 2002 by 95 percent to $26.1 million.

Muslim Leader Dissatisfied With Applying Islamic Concepts To Terrorists
Speaking to RIA-Novosti on 12 August, Council of Russian Muftis Chairman Rawil Gainetdin said he considers it illegal for Islamic terms to be used to describe terrorists and their actions. Gainetdin said "using such religious concepts as 'shahid,' 'mojahed,' 'a warrior of Allah,' and others" regarding terrorists is totally incorrect and is aimed at discrediting Islam. "The concepts 'shahid' and 'mojahed' mean a true believer, God-fearing person, for whom killing fellows by faith or people of other faiths is the biggest sin," he said. Usage of those concepts in a negative sense, in particular when calling a suicide-bomber's explosive-laden belt "shahid's belt," distorts the truth and confuses public opinion. Unfortunately journalists, politicians, and law-enforcement officials use similar expressions without any knowledge of the principles, morals, or ideas of the Muslim religion, the mufti said, adding that "the public, as a result, sees in the religion of Islam...a threat to the entire civilized world," which is "a very dangerous trend [that needs] to be halted immediately."

Tatarstan To Increase Exports To Uzbekistan
Tatarstan will deliver a consignment of vehicles for road construction and spare parts for KamAZ trucks to Uzbekistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 August. A Tatar government delegation headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov visited Uzbekistan during a two-day visit. The news agency cited Minnikhanov as saying that Tatarstan has been active in the Uzbek market for a long time. Both sides discussed bilateral trade, economic relations, and Tatar investment in the Uzbek economy. They also discussed energy and resource saving in Uzbekistan's construction sector and cooperation in road and bridge construction in Afghanistan.

Shaimiev Appoints New Chally Mayor
Bashkir President Mintimer Shaimiev signed on 14 August a decree appointing Ildar Khalikov, 35, KamAZ's deputy general director in charge of corporate strategy and development, as the new mayor of Chally, Tatar agencies reported the same day. The post fell vacant on 3 August when Mayor Reshit Khemediev died of a heart attack. Shaimiev introduced the new mayor at an extraordinary session of the Chally Council of People's Deputies. Shaimiev said he was guided in his decision by Khalikov's previous experience and his contribution to restructuring KamAZ's debt to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. From 1998-2003, Khalikov was KamAZ's deputy general director in charge of finance. Speaking at the session, Khalikov said he considers a major goal to be raising the quality of life for Chally's residents, adding that house construction will be a main priority of the social development. There are reportedly 25,000 Chally residents seeking improved housing. The session elected Gennadii Filatov, 62, who was the deputy chairman of the Chally Council of People's Deputies, as the council's new chairman. Filatov said that the event is a "historical" one as the branches of power have been separated in Chally for the first time. Previously, the mayor of Chally also headed the council.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Federal Interior Minister Rebukes Bashkir Subordinate
Bashkir Interior Minister Lieutenant General Rafail Divaev received a warning that he is not fully meeting his job requirements, bashkir.ru and RosBalt reported on 8 August. Bashkir ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov said the same day that an order signed by Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov on 10 July was delivered to the Bashkir ministry only in late July.

The order refers to "serious neglect of duties in organization of managing ministry bodies and departments," as well as "decreasing influence of the republican ministry in the republic's regions," revealed in a recent probe of the Bashkir ministry by the federal ministry. The document further asserts that the head of the Bashkir ministry and his deputies "directed their activities at fulfilling orders from republican authorities wFederal Interior Minister Rebukes Bashkir Subordinate

Bashkir Interior Minister Lieutenant General Rafail Divaev received a warning that he is not fully meeting his job requirements, bashkir.ru and RosBalt reported on 8 August. Bashkir ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov said the same day that an order signed by Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov on 10 July was delivered to the Bashkir ministry only in late July.

The order refers to "serious neglect of duties in organization of managing ministry bodies and departments," as well as "decreasing influence of the republican ministry in the republic's regions," revealed in a recent probe of the Bashkir ministry by the federal ministry. The document further asserts that the head of the Bashkir ministry and his deputies "directed their activities at fulfilling orders from republican authorities which often contradict federal legislation." As a result, the ministry became "involved in settling business and political disputes between regional and federal bodies."

Gryzlov noted that interior bodies were used for "levying debts" and that some 1 billion rubles were illegally received from owners in 1999-2001 "with the very active assistance of Divaev and his deputies." Republic police practiced manipulation and upward distortion of statistics reflecting their work results, according to the order. Divaev's "arbitrary" style of management "negatively affected personnel policy" as people were often employed "irrespective of business and moral qualities by personal devotion and ethnic identity." Divaev was ordered to address the problems listed by October. Divaev's first deputy, Nikolai Patrikeev, was also dismissed by the order. Divaev, 52, has headed the ministry since February 1996.

Bashkir Prime Minister, Russian Finance Minister Discuss Budget Issues
Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov met on 7 August in Moscow with Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin to inform him about socioeconomic development of the republic and implementation of the republican budget, Bashinform reported on 8 August. The two discussed issues of budgetary relations and Bashkortostan's readiness to increase salaries for state-sector employees. Kudrin praised the republic for its high preparedness for the raise, saying it is among the few regions with enough resources to do so on schedule and in full.

Implementation of the federal program on socioeconomic development of Bashkortostan to 2006 was also on the agenda. It was noted that it is being successfully fulfilled both by federal and republican sides.

hich often contradict federal legislation." As a result, the ministry became "involved in settling business and political disputes between regional and federal bodies."

Gryzlov noted that interior bodies were used for "levying debts" and that some 1 billion rubles were illegally received from owners in 1999-2001 "with the very active assistance of Divaev and his deputies." Republic police practiced manipulation and upward distortion of statistics reflecting their work results, according to the order. Divaev's "arbitrary" style of management "negatively affected personnel policy" as people were often employed "irrespective of business and moral qualities by personal devotion and ethnic identity." Divaev was ordered to address the problems listed by October. Divaev's first deputy, Nikolai Patrikeev, was also dismissed by the order. Divaev, 52, has headed the ministry since February 1996.

Russian Arms Agency To Help Bashkir Companies
The Russian Usual arms agency will help Bashkortostan's defense industry, according to a protocol signed on 9 August by Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov and agency acting General Director Igor Avseenko, Bashinform reported on 11 August. At their meeting in Ufa, the two discussed measures for support for the republic's Salavat Optical Mechanical Plant, Salavatgidromash, and Ishimbaitransmash Vityaz. After a visit to those companies, experts from the agency concluded that their financial state is not satisfactory but at the same time is not hopeless. Avseenko recommended that exterior management be introduced at Salavat Optical Mechanical Plant. He also said that the agency will provide the Salavatgidromash tractor and agricultural-machine producer with additional orders and will take part in a search for customers for Ishimbaitransmash Vityaz, which manufactures vehicles for the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Police Break Up Picket By Yabloko Without Yavlinskii Movement
Activists of the Yabloko without Yavlinskii movement staged on 11 August five small demonstrations of 3-4 members in Ufa demanding that Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii be dismissed, RosBalt reported on 11 August. Police broke up one near the Gostinyi Dvor trade complex. The news agency cited an unnamed Interior Ministry colonel as saying that the picket was not legal. Some 250 signatures were collected during several hours that day, the movement's regional staff said.

Industrial Growth At 8.6 Percent So Far This Year
In a teleconference with Bashkir government members and heads of raion administrations and companies on 13 August, Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov said industrial production in the republic grew by 8.6 percent in the first seven months of the year, with the biggest growth of 27.4 percent in machinery construction and the metalworking industry. At the same time, production in the electricity, nonferrous metal, chemical and petrochemical, and glass industries fell by up to 5.6 percent. Debts for heat and electricity increased by 7.5 percent to 3.9 billion rubles ($128.5 million) in the same period, while those for natural gas totaled 1.1 billion rubles, Baidavletov said.

Yabloko Head In Bashkortostan Comments On Yabloko Without Yavlinskii Group
Yabloko's leader in Bashkortostan, Igor Rabinovich, told RosBalt on 12 August that "Yabloko without Yavlinskii" members, who began collecting signatures for the dismissal of Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii in Ufa (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 11 and 12 July 2003), are "following a political order aimed at discrediting and splitting Yabloko." Rabinovich said Yabloko's major rival on the right, the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS), is the most interested in Yabloko's split. He added that he doesn't mean the entire SPS, but elements dissatisfied with Yabloko's policy of demonopolization of the economy. He said the Yabloko without Yavlinskii movement will not affect the decision by the Yabloko congress, at which the issue of replacing the leader could be included in the agenda. He added, "The issue on changing the leader of the party arises from time to time but Yavlinskii's dismissal on the eve of elections would be fatal."

Leader Of SPS In Bashkortostan Promotes Merger With Yabloko
The merger of Yabloko and the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) is inevitable, Vyacheslav Gyilajetdinov, the leader of the SPS in Bashkortostan told RosBalt on 14 August. He said that a merger of two rightist parties would be well-timed now as there "are not many differences between the ideology, programs, and aims of the SPS and Yabloko, and compromise could be reached on each of them." Gyilajetdinov said that people "in the regions realized the necessity of the merger a long time ago" and added that the merger should not be done through absorption but through the establishment of a new party or bloc. According to Gyilajetdinov, election analysts have predicted that rightist, leftist, and centrist blocs will form before the elections. In Bashkortostan, there are some 450 SPS members and around 1,600 Yabloko members.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

WEEKLY REVIEW FROM IDEL-URAL REGION
National Bolsheviks Detained For Selling Newspapers In Nizhnii
Three National Bolshevik Party activists were detained by police for selling the party's newspaper, "Generalnaya liniya," during a demonstration in Nizhnii Novgorod on 14 August, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 15 August. Law enforcers reportedly said that the detainees, branch executive committee member Yelena Mironycheva and two party followers, sisters Karina and Kseniya Shulgins, did not have permission to sell the newspapers. The press service of the National Bolshevik Party said that the police had violated the law on mass media, under which the sale of periodicals is not restricted.

Chemical Weapons Decommissioning Plant To Be Erected In Penza Oblast
A plant to process chemical weapons will be constructed in Penza Oblast, Russian agencies reported on 14 August. The decision comes in the wake of a visit by Viktor Kholstov, the general director of the Russian Agency on Ammunition, to Penza on 12 August. The facility will process only weapons stored in the oblast, which will then be annihilated outside the oblast. It is expected to take up to seven years to process the chemicals. The construction, which will cost 6 billion rubles ($198 million), is scheduled to begin in 2004 and finish in 2006-2007. The plant will employ 1,800 people. Kholstov said the plant will be environmentally safe. Russian chemical weapons are stored in the Udmurtia, Kirov, Penza, Kurgan, Saratov, and Bryansk oblasts. Decommissioning plants have been built in the Gornyi village in the Saratov Oblast and two more similar facilities are under construction in the Kurgan and Udmurtia oblasts.

Saratov Among Most Corrupt Cities In Russia
Saratov was ranked among the most corrupt cities in Russia alongside Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhnii Novgorod, Tula, and Ryazan, Saratovbizneskonsalting reported on 15 August, citing the "Expert" weekly. The average bribe reportedly offered by businessmen to bureaucrats in those cities was between 60,000 rubles ($2,000) and 180,000 rubles. The rating was composed in a poll conducted among businesspeople.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor To Head Unified Russia's List Of Candidates For State Duma
Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel will top Unified Russia's regional list of candidates in the December State Duma elections, uralpolit.ru cited Yurii Tsybakin, the party's central political council deputy chairman, as saying. Tsybakin said that Rossel will head the list as a "flag" in order to attract voters who back the governor's local policies.

Environmentalists Protest Construction Of Nuclear Reactor In Sverdlovsk Oblast
Some 30 people protesting against the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant demonstrated on 15 August in downtown Yekaterinburg, Novyi Region reported the same day. Several environmentalists climbed to the roof of a building and fixed a placard protesting the new reactor under construction at the Beloyarsk facility. Police detained several participants, according to the report.

Authorities See Computer Clubs In Ulyanovsk Oblast As Threat To Minors
Sergei Morozov, the mayor of Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk Oblast, issued a resolution prohibiting minors from staying in computer clubs after 10 p.m., region73.ru reported on 14 August. The city administration said the clubs had a pernicious effect on teenagers and that Internet cafes did not comply with the programs of the education authority. A commission involving representatives from the city administration's education department and the Interior Ministry's department on youth affairs inspected clubs after 10 p.m. After checking 12 clubs, the managers of three of them were warned that their clubs would be closed down if they do not comply with the resolution.

Ural District Prosecutors Fighting Police Corruption
Some 10,000 unregistered crimes have shown up as prosecutors have probed the law-enforcement bodies of the Ural Federal District, Novyi Region reported on 14 August, citing the press service of the Russian deputy prosecutor-general in charge of the Ural Federal District. Fifty-eight criminal cases were filed against police employees for forgery and embezzlement. Ural police bodies were reportedly hiding 60 killings, more than 400 robberies, and 400 crimes linked to illegal narcotics trafficking.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

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