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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 27, 2001

27 July 2001
Referendum to Be Held on Constitutional Amendments
The "Zvezda Povolzhya" weekly on 26 July quoted President Mintimir Shaimiev as saying that the Tatarstan's population would decide via referendum on harmonization amendments to the republic's Constitution.

Tatar Magazine Opposes Latinization
In its July issue, "Tatarstan" magazine published an article by Tatar scholar Mirza Makhmutov opposing the switch to Latin Tatar script. He said that the reform would make Tatars "a semi-literate people." The same issue included an article promoting the plans of nuclear power plant construction in Kama Alani by Albert Khasanov and an article praising the personal qualities of former Tatarstan's Communist Party Secretary's wife Dina Tabeeva.

Chally Deputy Mayor Detained on Bribery Charges
Chally Interior Affairs Department arrested deputy mayor Yevgeny Anikin on bribery charges on 25 July, Tatarstan's media reported. Anikin reportedly demanded a 10 thousand rubles ($340) bribe from one of the city's nightclubs, saying he would create problems for the club if it refused to pay him. According to Chally media reports, Anikin, a leader of the local Unity branch, had a reputation as an activist against corruption and prostitution.

Controversy over Kazan Paper Continues
"Kazanskiye Vedomosti" chief editor Venera Yakupova appealed to president Mintimer Shaimiev to block the city's efforts to unilaterally change the newspaper's charter and put it under the city's control, "Zvezda Povolzhya" reported on 26 July. The paper reported that Mayor Kamil Iskhakov sharply criticized the city department on public relations and mass media for "his being inveigled in this dirty story."

Shashurin Accuses Shaimiev of Corruption
Former Tatarstan presidential candidate and Duma deputy Sergey Shashurin said in an interview published in "Novaya Vecherka" on 25 July that Shaimiev is involved in "corruption, mafia ties, and money laundering." He said that Shaimiev is "not a nationalist because if he were he would care for his people." Shashurin challenged Shaimiev to sue him if he could prove otherwise.

Private Businesses to Take Over Municipal Real Estate in Kazan
According to "Vostochniy Ekspress" on 27 July, the Kazan city administration plans to launch the second wave of privatization by offering the major share of municipal real estate to private owners in September 2001. This move is reportedly aimed on protecting the rights of commercial leasers of premises in Kazan, who already have invested in the repair of the buildings they now rent.

Street Market Sellers Resume Protest in Chally
For the last three week, some 100 street market merchants of Chally have been picketing the city administration building to protest official closings of markets there. First Deputy Mayor Gennady Yemlyanov told the reporters on 25 July that the picketers want unlicensed and uncontrolled trade, which is being controlled by the mob groups. Recently a group of women representing the Tatar Yort nationalist organization attacked the picket trying to destroy its signs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Mothers with More than Five Children Given Medals
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 25 July handed out state awards to 58 mothers of large families that represent Bashkir, Russian, Tatar, Chuvash, Mari, Mordovian and Udmurt peoples, Bashinform reported.

French Cyclist Reviews Red Cross Activity
French traveler Jerar Stark arrived in Ufa to visit the local branch of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Bashinform reported on 25 July. Russia is the 116th country he has visited during his motor cycle tour around the world intended to prove that charity organizations have no borders.

President Tours Republic
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 24 July visited the Zianchura, Zilair, Kugerchen, Meleuz and Sterletamaq districts to check the readiness of farms for harvesting, the presidential press service reported.

New Head In Khaibullin District
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 23 July appointed Zainulla Khalilov, 50, to be the administration head of that district, the presidential press service reported.

Pharmaceutical Company Praised for Business Successes
The Bashfarmatsiya pharmaceutical company among 16 Russian firms was granted a gold prize of the international investment program Partnership for Progress and the company's general manager was named Manager of the Year for 2001, Bashinform reported on 24 July.

Speaker Becomes Patron for Troubled Children
Konstantin Tolkachev, the parliament speaker and the head of the Ufa Juridical Institute, took part in the opening ceremony of the summer camp in Aurgazy district for 230 troubled children and teenagers, Bashinform reported on 23 July. The project was begun by the institute in 1995 in order to fight.

Special Body Formed to Control Metals Trade
The cabinet has set up a commission consisting of representatives of ministries and administrative and control bodies to regulate the turnover of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, Bashinform reported on 23 July.

Government Promotes Integration of Fuel-Energy Sector
Deputy Prime Minister Midkhat Shakirov on 23 July told "Vremya novostei" about plans to merge Bashneft with Bashneftekhim and promote the integration of other republic fuel and energy complex companies.

Bashkirenergo, Tatenergo Move Towards Unity
"Kommersant" reported on 24 July that a political decision on joint work of Bashkirenergo and Tatenergo can be taken at an August meeting of presidents Mintimer Shaimiev and Murtaza Rakhimov. First Deputy Prime Minister Midkhat Shakirov told the paper that both energy systems will remain integral parts of the united energy system of Russia and won't be locked into a separate energy ring. According to the paper, a bilateral coordination commission to be headed by Tatenergo deputy general manager Fanis Nafikov will consider possibilities of autonomous joint existence of the two energy complexes.

Women Form 75 Percent of Unemployed
The Federal Employment Service's Bashkortostan Department on 25 July said that unemployment among women has fallen in 2001 by 1,600 but still form 75 percent of the republic's unemployed, Bashinform reported.

Parliament Official Says Harmonization Won't Be Finished Soon
Even funerals in Bashkortostan are to be regulated by federal law, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 22 July. But Rafael Mirsaev, the deputy chairman of the parliament's Legislative Chamber, told "Kyzyl tang" on 17 July that no final deadline can be set for harmonization as this must be a permanent, ongoing process.

Paper Says Republic Tatars Just Don't Know that They are Bashkirs
"Yeshlek" on 17 July wrote that Tatars living in the republic Baltach district are in fact assimilated Bashkirs but they have lost their ethnic self-consciousness and it is difficult now to remind them that they are Bashkirs. The paper expressed regret that too many Tatar signs remain in the republic.

Days Of Urals Peoples Held in Chelyabinsk
The Days of Urals Peoples celebration that included mini-festivals of Russian, Tatar, Bashkir and German culture were held in Chelyabinsk, Ural-Press reported on 25 July.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Radio Station Begins Broadcasting in Dubravlag
The Mordovian penitentiary institution Dubravlag radio station Dubrava began broadcasting, Stolitsa S reported on 20 July. It broadcasts on ultra-short waves and tells about the work of the institution's employees.

Trolley-Bus Drivers Go on Strike in Mordovia Capital
Saransk trolley-bus drivers on 25 July began a strike demanding bigger salary and wages arrears repaid, reported.

Putin Thanks Sklyarov
Aleksandr Voloshin, the head of the presidential administration, told Ivan Sklyarov that President Vladimir Putin thanks him for maintaining legality at the 15 July governor elections, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 20 July.

Nemtsov Does Not Back Either Candidate in Nizhnii
Boris Nemtsov, the leader of the Duma SPS faction, said on 19 July that Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast is now "in a deep depression" and in debt, Rosbalt reported. He said he won't support in the second round either of the contenders.

Berezovsky Funds Program On Legal Defense Of Teenagers
All teenagers arrested under the age of 16 in Nizhnii Novgorod will be provided with free lawyer services under a program sponsored by Boris Berezovsky, the Nizhnii Novgorod news service reported on 19 July. Pavel Arsenyev, the head of the Civil Freedoms Fund Russian representation, said that the has a budget of $1 million a year.

...As Does Ural University Rector
Vladimir Tretyakov, the rector of the Ural State University, has filed a suit against the Russian Orthodox Church and the eparchy board's youth newspaper "Pokrov" for "defaming his honor," Region-Inform reported on 20 July. The paper had called him an accomplice of sectarians after he refused permission to the Russian Orthodox Church to deliver lectures in the church history in the university but allowed the scientology sect to do that. The agency cited a judge, as saying that this is the first such case since 1917. On 23 July, however, the sides came to an agreement in the Yekaterinburg district court, reported. Eparchy board representatives presented their apologies for strong expressions about Tretyakov while he said that he is in no case an enemy of the Orthodox Church and that he seeks to cooperate with eparchy board.

Sverdlovsk Parliament Postpones Decision on Federation Council Representative
The Sverdlovsk Oblast parliament on 19 July has rejected the act regulating election of legislature's representative to the Federation Council as contradicting federal legislation, the Ural Information Bureau reported.

Yekaterinburg Orthodox Leaders Say Sects Threaten Mental Health
The Yekaterinburg eparchy board on 20 July said that numerous sects in Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk Oblast are acting ever more aggressively and that some 20,000 residents are now involved with them, Region-Inform reported on 20 July. Orthodox believers in the oblast collected more than 5,000 signatures calling on local and federal authorities to prohibit activity of some sects.

Yekaterinburg Jewish Leader Sues Orthodox Church...
Mikhail Oshtrakh, the president of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Jewish national-cultural autonomy, on 20 July sharply criticized the Orthodox Church saying that it distributes the anti-Semite "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Region-Inform reported. The previous day, the autonomy has filed a suit against the Church for "stirring up national, racial and religious hatred" and called on Presidential Ural District Envoy Pert Latyshev, Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel, and Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadii Chernetsky to stop it. However, Anna Savelyeva, the Yekaterinburg synagogue administrator, said on 23 July that "we do not consider the case to give a rise to a religious and political scandal and we have long and very friendly relations with the Yekaterinburg eparchy board."

72 Deserters from Samara Garrison Sought
Military prosecutors in Samara Oblast called on 72 draftees that had deserted from their military units in the Samara garrison to come to enlistment offices or prosecutor's bodies, "Samara segodnya" reported on 19 July.

Militiaman Accused of Arms Smuggling
A criminal case has been launched against Sverdlovsk Oblast militiaman Aleksandr Gavryushin who is accused of smuggling arms from Chechnya and selling them, the Ural Information Bureau reported on 20 July.

Jehovah's Witnesses Given Land in Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg Mayor Arkadii Chernetsky has allotted a plot of land for the Jehovahs Witnesses to construct a residence, Region-Inform reported on 19 July.

Khanty-Mansi's Filipenko Against Funding Local Federal Bodies
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug Governor Aleksandr Filipenko said he is against financing federal authority bodies in his region from the okrug budget, reported on 19 July. He said that federal officials in regions prefer asking local authorities rather than Moscow to give money.

Communists Select Candidate for Izhevsk Mayor
The KPRF in Udmurtia has nominated Vyacheslav Anufriev, Udmurtprodkontrakt general manager, as its candidate at the Izhevsk mayor elections, reported on 19 July.

Sumin Promotes Judo
Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin met with heads of the oblast federation of judo to discuss a program of the judo development, Ural-press-inform reported on 20 July.

Court Says Udmurtia President Election Legal
The Russian Supreme Court confirmed that elections of Aleksandr Volkov Udmurtia President were legal, RIA-Novosti reported on 24 July. The court confirmed the 30 March decision of the Udmurtia Supreme Court and rejected complaint of two voters that Volkov had abused his powers and violated rules on the use of the media.

Ural, Volga Military Prosecutorial Bodies Unite
The Ural and Volga military prosecutorial bodies have begun preparations for their merger by 1 September, Region-Inform reported on 20 July.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova