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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 13, 2002

13 September 2002
TIU Leaders Critical Of World Tatar Congress
The leaders of the Tatar Public Center (TIU) criticized the World Tatar Congress held in Kazan on 28-30 August, saying that it ignored the interests of the Tatar people, "Shehri Qazan" daily reported on 11 September. At a press conference on 9 September, TIU leadership claimed that the congress was poorly organized, political problems of Tatars were ignored, and there were obstacles in the process of electing delegates to the congress.

The TIU leaders pointed out that one of the heads of the TIU in Chally, Nefis Kashapov, was not permitted to take part in the congress's plenary session and that congress organizers rejected a TIU initiative to arrange a seminar on political and legal issues at the congress. They also said the congress failed to pass several proposed draft resolutions on Tatarstan's independence, the tasks of the Tatar national movement, the problems faced by Tatars in Bashkortostan, Tatar-Bashkir relations, and on the defense of the rights of Muslims.

The TIU leaders said that the Tatar Public Center was kept out of the organization of the congress and said they also faced police pressure, as their demonstrations were prohibited. They also said that one of the leaders of the TIU in Chally, Refis Kashapov, was personally threatened as "Vremya i dengi" reported on 10 September.

Interior Minister Promises To Find, Convict Those Responsible For Death Of Official
Speaking at a Police Day ceremony, Tatar Interior Minister Esget Seferov promised to find and convict those responsible for the death of Refis Seyetov, the head of the Egerce regional administration who was shot and killed outside his home early on the morning of 31 August (previous reports stated that he had been killed on the evening of 30 August), reported on 7 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 and 3 September 2002). "This is a matter of honor, and we have enough strength to respond to the challenge of the criminal world," Seferov said.

The agency added that investigators are looking into Seyetov's professional activities for possible clues regarding the motive for his killing.

Volkswagen Denies Plans To Set Up Plant In Russia
Torsten Bradler, head of Volkswagen Russia, has said that Volkswagen has no plans to open a plant in Russia (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 26 July 2002), reported on 6 September, citing Bradler said he didn't have any idea when or if Volkswagen would open a plant in Russia, saying that Russia needs cars that cost less than $10,000, which Volkswagen doesn't produce. Bradler did say, however, that the company would eventually have to build new facilities as it will be impossible to continue to use old buildings and technology.

Tatneft Considers Recalling Workers From Iraq
Tatneft has announced that it is considering recalling six drilling technicians who are currently working in Iraq if military action against the country begins, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 10 September. Tatneft sent a group of workers to Iraq in late August to install equipment at the Keruk oil deposit, which is being developed by the Iraqi North Oil Company. Tatneft also planned to send another 20 specialists in late September.

Kazan Reform School Gets Presidential Funding
The Russian president's reserve fund has allocated 2.5 million rubles ($80,000) to the Kazan youth correctional facility, Tatar-inform reported on 12 September. The facility, which was established in 1972, will spend the money on repairs to living quarters, communications equipment, guidance systems, and alarms.

Sverdlovsk Oblast To Help Store Excess Grain
Sverdlovsk Oblast Agriculture Minister Sergei Chemezov told on 11 September that Tatarstan plans to store a portion of its grain harvest in the oblast. Tatarstan, which still has a surplus from last year's harvest, will rent granaries from the oblast to store its excess grain (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 September 2002).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Paper Comments On Intended Sale Of Bashkir Companies
The chairman of the board of directors of the Interfin Trade finance company, Badri Gobechiya, recently claimed that the Bashkir government intends to sell shares in the republic's major petrochemical companies because "Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov is looking for lobbyists to help him maintain his post during the 2003 [presidential] elections [in the republic] despite the Kremlin's clear discontent with the Bashkir leader," "Kommersant" daily reported on 9 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 23 August 2002 and "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 26 August 2002). Gobechiya added that the only companies that could really purchase the Bashkir companies in question were LUKoil and Mezhprombank.

"Kommersant" also noted that LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov and Mezhprombank executive Sergei Veremeenko attended the recent celebrations of the 70th anniversary of oil extraction in Bashkortostan.

Unified Russia Signs Deal With Agrarians In Bashkortostan
The Bashkir branches of Unified Russia and the Agrarian Party signed a cooperation agreement on 10 September, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The head of the Bashkir branch of the Agrarian Party, Zifqet Sayetgaliev, said the agreement was motivated by "worldwide experience, which has shown that farmers parties very rarely come to power.... This is why we decided to sign an agreement with such [a strong] party." Leaders of both parties in Bashkortostan reportedly stated their intention to cooperate during republican parliamentary elections, elections for the Russian State Duma, and Russian presidential elections in 2003.

Good Harvest Fails To Lift Spirits Of Republican Farmers
Bashinform reported on 12 September that this year's rich harvest in Bashkortostan has not raised optimism among local farmers, "because of growing difficulties [involved in] selling grain in Russia, which has an oversaturated market of agricultural products." In addition, farmers have reportedly failed to give their grain to the republican government as repayment for loans, only 22 percent of which have so far been repaid. The agency also said that the quality of the grain is poor as a result of a lack of mineral fertilizers and bad weather conditions.

State Radio Reports On Bashneft's Goals
Bashkir state radio reported on 11 September that Bashneft oil company is focusing on two major goals: increasing the efficiency of its current extraction operations and speeding up oil prospecting in Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Muscovite To Represent Chavashia In Federation Council
The Chavashia's State Council elected at its 11 September session the head of the Moscow-based Sintez corporation, Leonid Lebedev, as its representative to the Federation Council, RIA-Novosti reported the same day. In the early 1980s, Lebedev worked in the Trade and Industry Chamber of the USSR, in Moskontsert, and in industrial companies. In 1995, Lebedev established the Sintez holding company, which is engaged in the production and processing of oil and oil and petrochemical-product trade.

Courts Hear Suits To Withdraw Klimentiev, Lebedev From Nizhnii Mayoral Elections
Nizhnii Novgorod Raion courts are to rule on 13 September on the participation in the 15 September Nizhnii Novgorod mayoral elections of incumbent Mayor Yurii Lebedev and convicted felon Andrei Klimentiev, "Kommersant" daily reported on 13 September. Klimentiev won the 1998 mayoral elections, after which he was immediately arrested. The two are opposed by the Volga Federal District presidential administration, which supports State Duma Deputy Vadim Bulavinov. Klimentiev is being sued by another candidate, Oleg Gryaznov, who challenged Klimentiev's public statement that he spent 6 million rubles ($205,400) from his "family" budget on the electoral campaign, while legislation permits candidates to spend not more than 300,000 rubles ($9,500) of their private means on elections.

"Kommersant" cited an unidentified member of Bulavinov's electoral staff as saying that according to the poll conducted by the staff, only 3 percent of votes separate Bulavinov and Klimentiev. Presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko told the daily that "the popularity of Klimentiev is explained by the high rate of protest voting in Nizhnii Novgorod, residents of which are tired of conflicts between regional and local authorities." In order to not to enflame this feeling, Klimentiev's candidacy was treated in this campaign with care. Kirienko said, "I was his mother and father, but now I will stop doing this, and the transgressor will be withdrawn."

Lebedev is being sued by Bulavinov, who accuses him of beginning electoral campaign prematurely and publishing materials that were not paid from his campaign fund.

Meanwhile, the Nizhnii Novgorod city electoral commission cancelled on 12 September the registration of Ivan Teplyakov, Aleksandr Razumovskii, and Yevgenii Manegin as candidates in the mayoral elections at their own requests, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported the same day. After that verdict, 13 candidates remain in the race.

Prosecutors Accuse Berezovskii Of Theft Of Over 2,000 Cars At AvtoVAZ
Investigators from the Prosecutor-General's Office have exposed evidence of misuse of power and budgetary funds in Samara Oblast, Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Vladimir Kolesnikov told a press conference on 11 September in Samara, reported. Kolesnikov said criminal cases were filed for the theft of $238,000 in the construction of the Samara Oblast administration hotel, for the theft of 1.75 million rubles ($55,300) worth of oil in the Shigonskii and Syzranskii raions, and other offenses.

The investigation also revealed evidence of the AvtoVAZ deputy director in charge of production illegally selling spare parts worth 5 million rubles ($158,000), Kolesnikov said. He also said that a criminal case was filed on 6 August against LogoVAZ and its heads, Boris Berezovskii and Badri Patarkatsishvili, for stealing from AvtoVAZ in 1994-95 2,033 cars worth $13 million.

Unified Russia Wins Saratov Parliamentary Elections
Candidates from Unified Russia won elections for the Saratov Oblast Legislative Assembly on 8 September, reported on 9 September. Head of the State Duma Fatherland-All Russia faction Vyacheslav Volodin told the agency that party representatives were elected in 21 of 31 electoral districts in which elections were recognized valid. Candidates from the Union of Rightist Forces were elected in three districts, while not a single candidate from the Communists or People's Party was elected. Volodin said Unified Russia representatives will form a faction in the Saratov Duma. In four of Saratov's 11 electoral districts, elections were declared invalid due to low turnout.

Demonstrators Demand Removal Of Chechens, Daghestanis From Khanty-Mansii Okrug
Some 80 people staged on 8 September a protest action in Berezovskii Raion of Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug to demand the raion administration move Chechens and Daghestanis out of the raion, CIA-PRESS reported on 9 September. The administration head and the head of the raion Interior Department met with the protesters and said their demands are illegal as the meeting was not sanctioned, the agency reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova