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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 23, 2005

23 March 2005
Parliament Committee Backs Shaimiev's Candidacy
The State Council Committee on State Agencies and Local Self-Government has recommended that the parliament endorse President Vladimir Putin's nomination of Mintimer Shaimiev for another term as president at its next plenary session, Tatar-Inform and "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 22 and 23 March, respectively. Only independent Deputy Aleksandr Shtanin and Communist Party faction head Aleksandr Salii voted against the proposal, although they said they have nothing against Shaimiev personally. Shtanin criticized "the system of which Shaimiev was the architect" and which is ineffective because there is no oversight of the executive branch. Salii said he would not vote for Shaimiev because the political reform ending the direct election of regional executive-branch heads is "unconstitutional." At the same committee meeting, Tatarstan's prosecutors' office introduced objections to amendments to the republican constitution that were passed by the State Council on 14 March (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 15 March 2005) that did not abolish, but only suspended, articles regarding the direct election of Tatarstan's president. The committee, however, refused to recommend that the plenary session consider the objections.

Shaimiev Named Trustee Of Russia-Wide Muslim Organization
A constituent conference of a new national nongovernmental organization called Russian Islamic Heritage, which was held on 22 March in Moscow, elected businessman Khusein Dzhabrailov as its chairman,, "Gazeta," and "Vremya novostei" reported. Tatar President Shaimiev was elected a trustee of the new movement, while his political adviser, Rafail Khekimov, Russian Islamic Committee Head Geidar Dzhemal and religious leader Yakub Deniev, were chosen as Executive Committee members.

Iranian Delegation Promotes Educational Cooperation With Tatarstan
A visiting delegation of the World Center for Islamic Sciences of Iran met on 22 March with republican presidential adviser Timur Akulov, who heads the presidential foreign relations department, to discuss the prospects of educational, scientific, and cultural cooperation between Tatarstan and Iran, reported. At a meeting with officials of the Russian Islamic University (RIU) the previous day, the sides discussed mutual exchanges of students and teachers. It was agreed that teaching Farsi will start at RIU and that the Iranian center will help supply the university with textbooks and other literature.

Court Begins Hearings On Murder Of Former Krasnyi Vostok Director
The trial of Sergei Pavlov, a convicted member of the Khadi Taqtash organized criminal group who was sentenced in January 2002 (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 28 January 2002) and who is now accused of murdering former Krasnyi Vostok Director Eibet Eibetov, began on 22 March in Tatarstan's Supreme Court, Regnum-VolgaInform reported. Eibetov was shot outside his Kazan home in February 1996. According to investigators, the killing was contracted by Eibetov's companion, Boris Bulatov. Bulatov has been detained in Spain where he has lived for several years, and it is expected that he will be extradited to Russia in the near future.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Youth Union, Eurasian Movement Pledge To Hunt Down "Orange" Opposition...
The pro-government Bashkir Youth Union (SBM) will join forces with the newly formed Bashkortostan branch of the Eurasian movement, chaired by Pavel Zarifullin, Regnum reported on 22 March. At the movement's presentation the same day, SBM leader Fauzil Malikov told reporters that groups will work at suppressing "orange" public movements in Bashkortostan by holding mass actions against demonstrations staged by liberal groups. According to Regnum, the Eurasian movement opposes globalization and "infusions of cultures" from different peoples. Just as protestors did in Ukraine in late 2004, demonstrators at the Bashkir opposition groups' protests are reportedly wearing orange clothing as a sign of their liberalism and devotion to democracy. According to previous reports in the Bashkir and Russian media, the Bashkir Youth Union allegedly maintains a militant wing of youths trained by retired officers of the Soviet and Russian special forces.

...As Former Bashkir Youth Union Leader Insists That Blagoveshchensk Case Was "Cooked Up"
The fact that businessman Oleg Kataev's case is being considered in a closed court indicates that the investigation into alleged police brutality in Blagoveshchensk in December was conducted illegally, former Bashkir Youth Union leader, singer, and businessman Rinat Baimov said on 22 March. Kataev is one of three people suspected of instigating the conflict that led to violent police raids in the city, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. The court ruled that Kataev can continue to be held, Baimov said, adding that Kataev has proclaimed his innocence. Baimov accused the republican prosecutors' office of inflaming the situation, claiming that at least half of the complaints against police were "cooked up" and that the numerous reports of human rights groups "were paid for by political forces that want to remove the existing republican government."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi