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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 7, 2005

7 February 2005
China Plans Big Investment In Tatarstan
The economic adviser to the Chinese Embassy in Russia, Fang Chungyung, told "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" on 4 February that Chinese investment in Tatarstan will be significant and may exceed $1 billion. Fang was making his first visit to Tatarstan to study investment possibilities in the republic. During his four-day tour, Fang visited Nizhnekamskneftekhim, KamAZ, the Tuben Kama tire plant, the Kazan helicopter plant, and the Kazan Gorbunov aviation plant, among other companies.

Following his meeting with Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov on 4 February, Fang said he was impressed with the investment climate in Tatarstan. Prospects for investment in small and medium-sized businesses were discussed during talks with Nizhnekanskneftekhim management. They agreed to continue negotiations in the coming months.

Turkey, Tatarstan Plan Joint Pipe-Production Project
Tatarstan and Turkey are planning to set up a joint venture that will produce polyethylene pipes, reported on 4 February, citing the press service of the Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry. The project was discussed at a meeting between Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov and Turkey's Design Holding Board chairman Vedat Mirmakhmutogullar on 3 February. The plan is to produce pipes using the latest technology.

Mirmakhmutogullar said his firm is ready to invest between $5 million and $50 million in the project and that Turkey is looking for reliable partners in Tatarstan.

Two Convicted Of Inciting Religious Hatred
The Aznaqai town court has imposed heavy fines on Salawat Khefizov and Enes Garipov, who were found guilty of belonging to a banned organization, reported on 4 February. The organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir, is considered by authorities to have links to international terrorism. Khefizov and Garipov were accused of distributing extremist literature in 2004 and found guilty of inciting nationalist, racial or religious hatred. They both disavowed their extremist views.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Office Of Tatar Civic Organizations Blocked In Ufa
Representatives of an unnamed private security company blocked the joint offices of the Tatar civic organizations union in Bashkortostan on 4 February, an RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa reported. The leader of Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center, Ayrat Giniyatullin, told RFE/RL in an interview aired the same day that he and his counterparts believe the 24-hour blockade was organized by republican authorities and was linked to the union's political activities.

The Tatar civic rights movement is reportedly promoting a referendum on introducing the election of regional and municipal administration heads, which are currently appointed by the president.

Bashkir Parliament To Look Into Alleged Police Brutality...
The 4 February meeting of the Bashkir State Assembly's Presidium scheduled an emergency session of the Bashkir parliament on 10 February, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The session will reportedly be dedicated to the violent events which occurred in the city of Blagoveschensk on 10-14 December.

�As Investigators Add Another Two To Suspects List
Prosecutors investigating allegations that residents of Blagoveschensk were beaten by police have filed charges against two more Bashkir police officers, Interfax-Povolzhye reported on 4 February, citing Aleksei Kasyanov of the republican prosecutor's office. Kasyanov confirmed that four police officers have been charged with abuse of authority and criminal negligence. According to previous official reports, more than 50 locals were reportedly injured by police during a raid that followed a fight between a police street patrol and three locals.

Previous reports by Ekho Moskvy radio, citing independent human rights activists, said that after the fight with the police patrol on 8 December, a special task police force was deployed in Blagoveschensk in a retaliation effort that involved the alleged beating of up to 1,000 local men and women on 10-14 December.

However, the independent rights reports, including those by the nationwide human rights movement Za Prava Cheloveka, received no official support from the head of the Russian presidential Council for the Promotion of Development of Civic Society Institutes and Human Rights, Ella Pamfilova (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3 February 2005).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi