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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 13, 2001

13 July 2001
Regional Officials Begin Campaign Against Latin-Tatar Script
"Zvezda Povolzhya" reported on 12 July that representatives of Tatar communities in different regions of Russia addressed letters to the World Tatar Congress office in Kazan complaining that local officials have asked well-known Tatar businessmen and scientists to sign public statements against the switch to Latin-Tatar script. The newspaper said that this campaign was "very well planned and organized."

Supreme Court to Consider Abuse of Force by Militia
Tatarstan's Supreme Court on 11 July began hearings on charges of beatings and tortures by Sovetsky district militia servicemen in Kazan. Militia servicemen have been charged with using torture to force confessions. Meanwhile the relatives of inmates of a Kazan prison picketed the prison building on 10 July to protest beatings of prisoners by special purpose militia troops.

Tatarstan�s President to Loose His Title?
"Novaya Vecherka" reported on 11 July that State Duma was to consider the draft bill on abolishing the title of president for leaders of Russian republics, because only the leaders of independent states could be so called. The bill is reportedly backed by the ruling of federal Constitution Court, which classified the Constitutions of republics including Tatarstan as "partially unlawful."

Republic�s Ministry Wins Suit Against VGTRK
The same weekly wrote that Tatarstan's Supreme Arbitrage Court upheld the suit of the Ministry of Communications against the Russian National State TV-Radio Company (VGTR), which owed some 20 million rubles ($680 thousand) to the ministry for using the republican TV-radio transmitting center. The Court issued a special order to the Moscow city judicial bodies, demanding that they should seize the assets of VGTR at the debt's cost.

Hunger Strikes Resume in Chally
Some 40 people, most of them women representing one of the local Tatar public organizations, attacked the picket organized by street market merchants and tried to destroy theirs placards on 12 July, "Vostochniy Ekspress" reported. Previously city administration announced that all unauthorized street markets should be closed, because they were controlled by "ethnic mob groups from the Caucasus." On 3-4 July militia used teargas to dissolve 94 people who are still on hunger strike demanding that the street markets should remain. Another continuing hunger strike in Chally was begun by two Tatar women about one month ago. They protested the construction of an Orthodox Christian temple in city�s Victory Park, claiming that not only Christians contributed to the WW2 victory.

40 Percent of Kazan Residents Can Afford Only Food
According to the research by Strategic Market Studies Institute published on 13 July, some 40% of Kazan residents spend all their incomes on food, while 13 percent say that they do not have enough money to feed themselves.

China to Order 10 Aircraft from Kazan
The Wall Street Journal reported on 11 July that China is planning to purchase 10 Tu-214 aircraft produced by the Kazan Aircraft Plant.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ufa to Cooperate With VGTRK in Satellite Communications
Oleg Dobrodeev, the VGTRK head, said on 6 July that the share of general country-wide information broadcast in Bashkortostan will be increased as a result of a joint Satellite telecommunications project by his company and the Bashkortostan state television company (GTRK �Bashkortostan�), Russian media reported. has Dobrodeev named the GTRK �Bashkortostan� among the best regional companies in Russia and added that a similar agreement with Tatarstan is being pursued. Ramis Davletbaev, the head of GTRK �Bashkortostan," said that the joint project will be performed within six months and that the republic will then receive a separate channel for local transmissions.

Tatar Youth Leader Appeals to Tatar, Bashkir Presidents
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 5 July published an appeal by Talgat Akhmadishin, the leader of the Tatar Youth Union Azatliq, to presidents of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan calling them �to stop repression by the Bashkortostan�s Dyurtyuli district authorities against opposition residents.� Akhmadishin wrote that militia had arrested a group of Tatar and Russian pensioners that took part in the 10 June political hunger-strike in Dyurtyuli demanding an end to the Bashkirization of Tatars there. Akhmadishin said that the activists may now engage in self-immolation to call attention to their plight.

Violations Of Tatars� Language Rights Reported
Radik Sibagatov, the head of the Bashkir State University Tatar language department, told RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent on 9 July that �if previously we connected violations of small peoples� language rights to country-wide national policy, after republics declared their sovereignty, regional policies begun to affect negatively the development of languages.' In national republics, he continued, languages of titular nations had received privileges while languages of other peoples had been left under the double pressure of Russian and the titular languages. He said that in Bashkortostan, the language situation is �unsatisfactory� since Tatar schools are forced to teach in Bashkir, use of Tatar in public life is officially restricted and Tatar signs in Tatar villages and districts are removed. He pointed out that Tatars cannot even write in Tatar the word �Sabantui� in places where they celebrated their traditional holiday.

Sabantui in St. Petersburg
More than 20,000 St. Petersburg residents of different nationalities, among them a delegation from Bashkortostan took part in the Sabantui held by the city�s Tatar-Bashkir community, Bashinform reported on 6 July. Airat Saitbagin, the president of the Tatar-Bashkir society Chishme, praised Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov and republic other leaders as well as Bashkortostan�s permanent representative to St. Petersburg Stanislav Selichev for their help in the organization of the holiday.

Rakhimov Visits Industrial Companies
President Murtaza Rakhimov visited several industrial enterprises, among them the Ufapolyupak packing materials company and the Ufa bitumen emulsion plant, as well as a reservoir under construction in Ufa, Bashinform reported on 6 July.

Bashkortostan Suffers Poisonings from Vodka Imports
A state trade inspection official on 6 July said that alcohol-linked poisonings total 5 percent of all poisonings in the republic and that the share of chemically altered vodka found among imported alcohol is much higher than found in the production of Bashkortostan.

Crime Rate Up
The Bashkortostan Interior Ministry board on 6 July said that the number of organized criminal groups significantly grew in the republic and that they had committed 570 serious crimes in 2000. During six months of this year, 68 such groups have been arrested. The number of economic crimes has also increased in current year to 9,000, most of them involving the fuel and alcohol industries. And more than 2500 drug-related crimes have been registered so far this year.

New Mosque Opens in Ufa
Ufa Muslims on 6 July opened the new Ikhlas mosque in the republic capital, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported. Muslim activists, scholars, teachers, as well as culture officials from Tatarstan and Russia�s other regions attended the ceremony.

Bashkortostan District Hosts Bashkir Youth Forum
The Days of Bashkir youth began in the republic's Zianchura district, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 6 July. Meetings with youth organizations, cultural and sport events are held at the forum promoted by the republic Culture Ministry, the State Youth Policy Committee, the republic Amateur and Folk Arts Center, and the Bashkortostan Youth Union.

Ufa Tatar Theater Still Waiting for New Building
The opening of the Ufa Tatar theater Nur new building that had been scheduled for current summer has again been postponed until autumn, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 6 July.

Bashkir Television Films Novel about Galimjan Ibrahimov
The Bashkortostan State Television is producing a film about famous Tatar public figure Galimjan Ibrahimov, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 6 July. It is a screen version of the trilogy by Bashkortostan�s Tatar writer Sufian Pavarisov.

Justices of the Peace Take Oath
Justice Minister Vladimir Spele on 6 July took part in the ceremony of oath-taking by Justices of the Peace in the Ufa district, Bashinform reported.

Culture Center Opens in Gafuri District
President Murtaza Rakhimov took part in the opening ceremony of a new Culture Palace in the republic's Gafuri district, Bashinform reported. The new facility that unites two libraries, hall, musical school, gymnasium, and registry office had been under construction since 1985.

Illnesses Among Newborns Increase
Saliya Murzabaeva, the Deputy Health Minister, said on 6 July that the illness rate among newborn children had reached 740 per 1000 in the republic and that over a half of women bearing a child have anemia, Bashinform reported. She said that the government provides free facilities in health resorts and medicines for such patients. To improve the situation, she called for the adoption of a law on protection of population reproductive health and the development of a long-term demographic policy in the republic.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russian Politicians, Businessmen Back Sklyarov
Unity leader Sergei Shoigu on 9 July appealed to Nizhny Novgorod oblast residents to reelect Ivan Sklyarov oblast governor, reported. LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov on 9 July in Nizhny Novgorod also said that he supports Ivan Sklyarov�s reelection as governor. On 11 July, Vladimir Zhirinovsky announced his support for Sklyarov.

Suit Against Publication Accusing Arab Missioners of Wahhabism Rejected
The Chelyabinsk Central Court on 12 July has refused to hear a suit by a Syrian citizen against �Vozrozhdenie Urala� newspaper, reported. The paper had published an article �Wahhabism Comes To Urals� reporting that missioners from Syria, Sudan and Kuwait under protection of charity organizations are recruiting in fact militants for the Caucasus.

Sverdlovsk Duma Under Threat of Dissolution
Sverdlovsk oblast prosecutor Boris Kuznetsov on 10 July told the oblast that it must harmonize the oblast's charger by 22 August or face dissolution, reported.

Christian Center Sues Yoshkar-Ola Administration
A Yoshkar-Ola court refused to hear a suit by the protestant Christian Center in Marii El against the Yoshkar-Ola administration for blocking the Center�s Christian holiday celebration, reported on 5 July. Many Orthodox believers and priests picketed the court building on 4 July when hearing was initially appointed.

Justice Bodies Seek To Isolate TB-Infected Ex-Prisoners
Sergei Minin, the head of the Federal Justice Board in the Ural district, said on 7 July that 11 percent of prisoners in the Sverdlovsk oblast are infected by tuberculosis and that his body is promoting a special facility to isolate such patients after their freeing from imprisonment, Region-Inform reported.

�While Sverdlovsk Health Official Denies His Data
Olga Nechaeva, the Sverdlovsk oblast chief tuberculosis specialist, said that 17,500 oblast residents suffer from TB and that the TB sickness rate in the oblast totals 106 per 100,000 against the Russian average of 91, Ural Information Bureau reported on 10 July.

Marii El Hosts Sport Festival Of Idel Region Peoples
A sport festival of the Volga region peoples opened on 13 July in Yoshkar-Ola, reported.

Court Allows Karlov to Run for Mayor
The Samara district court on 6 July ruled that Valerii Karlov, the leader of the Civil Initiative movement, can run for mayor of that city, reported. The Samara central electoral commission had earlier rejected him for supposedly providing incorrect data.

Mortality Rate Up In Sverdlovsk
Boris Nikonov, the Sverdlovsk oblast chief sanitary official, said on 7 July that average mortality in the oblast over the last decade had grown by 46 percent and by 71 among working age residents, the Ural Information Bureau reported.

Health Minister Says No TB Epidemic In Russia�
Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko on 10 July said in Yekaterinburg that Russia does not face a tuberculosis epidemic as there are only 2,000 TB-infected patients in the country but not 3-5 million as numerous reports say, Ural Information Bureau reported. He said that those who claim the higher figures are seeking to receive a World Bank�s $150 million�s credit.

New Body To Unite National Cultures
The Tyumen administration culture committee is promoting a new state body intended to provide equal conditions for the development of all national cultures in the region, �Tyumenskaya liniya� reported on 6 July.

Tyumen Orthodox Believers Picket Jehovah�s Witnesses
Orthodox leaders and believers in Tyumen on 6 July held a picket to protest the activity of the Jehovah�s Witnesses, reported.

Fourth Slavic Culture Festival Held In Tyumen Oblast
A festival of Slavic culture has been arranged in the Tyumen oblast Vagai district by the Ukrainian and Belarusian national-cultural autonomies, �Tyumenskaya liniya� reported on 9 July. A Tatar cultural festival is scheduled to be held in the district next year.

Saratov Oblast, Rosenergoatom To Complete Construction Of Balakovo Nuclear Power Station
The Saratov oblast Industry Ministry and Rosenergoatom on 12 July said they will complete construction of fifth and sixth blocks of the Balakovo nuclear power station by 2006 and 2010 respectively, reported. The construction was begun in 1990.

Balakovo Muslims to Construct Mosque
Volga region Muslim Religions Board Chairman Muqaddas Bibarsov and head of the Saratov oblast�s Balakovo Muslim community Farid Tumarov on 10 July agreed to begin constructing the first mosque in Balakovo where more than 10,000 Muslims reside, reported on 10 July.

New Speaker of Ulyanovsk Oblast Parliament
The Ulyanovsk oblast legislature on 6 July elected Boris Zotov, the rector of the Ulyanovsk agriculture academy, as its new chairman, RIA-Novosti reported. His predecessor Sergei Ryabukhin was elected an auditor of the Russian Counting Chamber.

Interior Servicemen Took Part in 87 Military Operations in Chechnya
Igor Sofronov, the head of the Volga district interior troops press service, said on 6 July that the united troops group of the North Caucasus region during 2001 took part in 87 special military operations, carried out 2044 reconnaissance campaigns, killed 20 and seized 93 fighters.

Ulyanovskenergo Cut Off from Gas Supply
Ulyanovskregiongaz on 10 July has stopped delivering gas to Ulyanovskenergo because the latter owes some 100 million rubles ($3.4 million) of its December 2000-February 2001 bills, reported. Ulyanovskenergo in its turn is owed 58 and 43 million rubles by the city and the oblast respectively.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova