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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 6, 2005

6 January 2005
Zorlu Plans To Privatize Tupras With Tatneft
Zorlu General Director Ahmet Nazif Zorlu told a press conference on 30 December that Turkey's Zorlu Holding financial/industrial group, in alliance with Tatneft, will take part in the new privatization of Turkey's Tupras group of oil refineries in March, Tatarinform reported on 5 January, citing the Turkish information agency A Zorlu spokesman said, "We cannot have any other partner than Tatneft in the tender," adding that the price of Tupras will become clear during the auction.

In February 2004, the Turkish government approved the purchase by the alliance of Tatneft subsidiary Efremov Rautchuk and Zorlu Holding of 65.76 percent of Tupras for $1.3 billion. After the oil-sector trade union filed a lawsuit on 24 May to annul the results of the tender, a Turkish court declared the Tupras privatization illegal and in violation of state interests.

Shaimiev Rated As Most Influential Governor
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev was ranked first in the December rating of most influential governors composed by the Center for Political Technologies and published by Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich, Kemerovo Oblast Governor Aman Tuleev, and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov were ranked second, third, and fourth, respectively. Results of regional elections and relations with federal authorities were taken into account in the rating, which was composed on the basis of a survey of 18 political analysts representing the Russian Presidential Academy of State Service, the Institute of Regional Problems, the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Fund for Development of Regional Policy, the Russian Public Political Center, and the Institute of Modern Policy.

The analysts also estimated the chances of incumbent governors to be reappointed by the Russian president. Tuleev topped the list, followed by Shaimiev, Moscow Oblast Governor Boris Gromov, and Krasnodar Krai Governor Aleksandr Tkachev. High sociopolitical stability, personal popularity, and firm relations with the Kremlin are considered necessary conditions for the success.

Latin Front Growing
A meeting of coordinating council of the Latin Front organization will be held in Kazan in early January, former State Duma Deputy and front leader Fendes Safiullin told Tatarinform on 5 January. Safiullin said 63 civic groups from four Russian regions as well as the National Cultural Autonomy of Tatars of Russia and the All-Ukrainian Tatar Cultural Center Tugan Tel (Native Language) have joined the front so far. In Tatarstan, the World Tatar Congress, the Megarif educational organization, the Institute of History and the Institute of Language, Literature, and Art of Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences, Milli Mejlis, and Tatar PEN Center have joined the Latin Front. The front is calling for the study of the Latin Tatar script and its practical use in printing, libraries, on the Internet, and correspondence. The meeting agenda also includes the issue of preparing for celebrations of International Native Language Day on 21 February at the initiative of UNESCO. It has been suggested that Tatar newspapers print editions that day only in the Latin script.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Victim Of Blagoveshchensk Police Raid Leaves Hospital...
Bashkortostan resident Aleksei Raschesov, who was severely injured during a raid by Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry forces in Blagoveshchensk on 10-14 December (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3 January 2005) has been released from the hospital, Regnum reported on 5 January. Raschesov, 29, was arrested on 11 December and taken to an Interior Ministry department where he was hit in the stomach and received a traumatic rupture of the bladder. He was hospitalized and had surgery, after which he was kept in intensive care for six days.

Bashkortostan's branch of For Human Rights coordinator Vyacheslav Bikbulatov told Regnum that Raschesov has not yet given a written deposition, although he gave testimony while in hospital about the circumstances of his beating. Raschesov has also not been given either notification about the filing of a criminal case on his beating or undergone any forensic medical examination. Bikbulatov said human rights activists will pass his application to the prosecutor's office themselves.

...As Interior Ministry Officers Offer Apologies
In the meantime, Blagoveshchensk Interior Ministry officers visited the apartments of victims of the 10-14 raid to offer their apologies, Regnum reported on 5 January. People whose cars were seized and impounded said they were visited personally by the Interior Ministry's Blagoveshchensk branch head, who apologized and returned the money they paid to get their cars back. It is still unclear, however, how the ministry will compensate for the money and mobile phones seized or destroyed in the raid.

Tatar National-Cultural Autonomy Urges Election Of Local Administration Heads
Bashkortostan's Tatar National-Cultural Autonomy at its meeting on 5 January discussed organizing measures on collecting signatures for electing the heads of local administrations in the republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. According to Bashkortostan's law on local administrations that came into force on 28 December, general elections of local administration heads will only be held if signatures of 3 percent of residents are collected to back it. Otherwise, candidates will be nominated by the Bashkir president and ratified by local legislatures. Under the law, signatures should be collected within a month after the law takes effect. The meeting appointed people to collect signatures in the republic's raions.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova