14 March 2005
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTANPutin, Shaimiev Discuss Successes Of Tatarstan's Economy
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev discussed economic development in Tatarstan in a 9 March meeting, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 14 March, citing a press conference by the Tatar president (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 11 March 2005). Along with reappointing Shaimiev to a fourth term in office, talks reportedly centered on the growing investment in the republican economy. According to Shaimiev, in 2004 investments in Tatarstan's economy exceeded $3 billion (87 billion rubles). Half of that amount is funds attracted by local industries from foreign sources, while the rest is money from the republican budget. Shaimiev told Putin that his republic will continue the same such policy of subsidizing investment. However, Shaimiev said economic development is mainly concentrated in the oil, petrochemical, machinery, and energy industries, but such an emphasis is justified since those are the republic's largest taxpayers. The two also reportedly spoke about concerns over the republic's mortgage housing program and policies aimed at securing low-income housing.
Daily Suggests New Pro-Kremlin Youth Organization To Open Office In Kazan
Following recent reports in the Russian media on the launch of the new pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi (Ours) along the same lines as the pro-Putin youth group Walking Together, "Vremya i Dengi" wrote that the movement was likely to establish a branch in Tatarstan. The daily reported that few of the activities of the new group are currently conducted by the youth wings of Tatar nationalist groups, which tend to limit themselves to "highly intellectual, politically educated, yet virtual" communities operating on the Internet, the daily wrote.
Rosoboronprom To Take Over Kazan Helicopter Plant
The Rosoboronprom company will soon take control of the Kazan Helicopter Plant, which is currently owned by Tatarstan's government, "Vedomosti" reported on 10 March, citing the federal company's general director, Denis Manturov. Rosoboronprom will reportedly focus on managing military helicopter production sites nationwide.
Compiled by Iskender Nurmi
DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTANPlot Participants Dismissed From Posts
Three deputies from the Bashkir State Assembly: Bashkirenergo General Director Nikolai Kurapov, Institute for Regional Economy and Law head Viktor Gantsev, and Bashkir Economic Development Minister Valentin Vlasov, were expelled on 10 March from the board of directors of the Bashkir Fuel Company (BTK), "Kommersant-Daily" and RosBalt reported on 11 March. RosBalt cited an unidentified source in the republic's leadership saying the three had headed a recent plot in the republican parliament aimed at appointing Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's son, Ural, as parliament speaker (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 25 February 2005). BTK President Ildar Iskhaqov was also dismissed at the company's board meeting. In January, Iskhaqov was dismissed from the post of Bashneft general director. Ilshat Tajetdinov, the 35-year-old head of the Bashkir presidential administration's socioeconomic development board, was appointed as chairman of the BTK board.
The meeting considered the issue of reevaluating shares of Bashneft and Bashkirenergo that were sold to Bashkirskii Kapital in 2003 for 8 billion rubles. The daily cited an unidentified board member saying the cost of the shares was underestimated. Upon hearing of the charges, President Rakhimov ordered that 63.72 percent of Bashneft and 36.7 percent of Bashkirenergo that had been sold to Bashkirskii Kapital be returned to BTK.
Muslims Protest Alleged Persecution
Some 40 people demonstrated for an hour and a half in the central October Square in Tuimazy on 13 March to protest alleged repression against Muslims and violations of their constitutional rights, Regnum reported the same day. Currently, three Tuimazy Raion residents -- Marsel Gayanov, Salawat Gayanov, and Bulat Gayanov -- are under investigation for alleged involvement in the Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was banned by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003. A similar picket of some 30 Muslims was dispersed by police the same day in Ufa. On 14 November, when the Muslim holiday Uraza beirem (Eid al Fitr) was marked, some 16 people were detained in Ufa, Oktyabrskii, Sibai, and Tuimazy for handing out Hizb ut-Tahrir leaflets.
In a statement released during the pickets, protesters said "the legislative, executive, and judicial systems of Russia...do not protect the rights of Muslims...criminal cases are fabricated against them." Protesters said Gayanov was beaten in pretrial detention in Ufa on 2 January and suffered numerous injuries. The head of the Bashkortostan's Main Punishment Board, Viktor Pestov, however, denied those allegations and said an investigation did not prove those charges.
Interior Ministry Warns Against Employees' Strike In Blagoveshchensk
The Bashkir Interior Ministry leadership has warned employees in the Blagoveshchensk town Interior Department on the illegality of any protest actions, including a 10-day strike that department employees have threatened to hold, Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 12 March. The ministry statement emphasized that "Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry employees have lately worked in conditions under permanent pressure from some civic organizations and members of the mass media that were organized to impede an objective investigation into the December events in Blagoveshchensk" (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 21 January 2005). Ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov told the news agency, however, that Blagoveshchensk Interior Ministry employees have been warned that they will be punished and may even be dismissed if they violate the order.
Meanwhile, Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Ekho Moskvy on 11 March that residents of Blagoveshchensk are still the subject of human rights violations. Lukin appealed to Bashkortostan's prosecutor-general to prevent any new persecution of victims of controversial police action.
Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova