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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 4, 2005

4 April 2005
Tatar Public Center Elects New Chairman
The Tatar Public Center (BTIU) unanimously elected political analyst and journalist Telget Bariev its new chairman at its plenary session on 2 April, Tatarinform reported the same day. The forum was attended by 116 delegates, including 51 from Kazan, 53 from Tatarstan's raions, 12 from Russia's entities, and 51 guests. The session also elected new regional council comprising more than 50 representatives and a presidium of 14 members. For the past six years, the group has been headed by scholar Reshit Jegeferov.

Crimean Tatars Oppose Stalin Monument In Crimea
The deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatars' Milli Mejlis, Refat Chubarov, contacted Crimean prosecutors to protest a decision by the Livadia settlement council to erect a monument to commemorate Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt. The decision passed recently in an overwhelming 19-1 vote. Crimean Communist leader Leonid Grach called for a space on the central square in Livadia for the monument, which is due to be erected by Victory Day celebrations on 9 May. Grach charged that only "national radicals from the Mejlis" oppose the monument. A number of Crimean Tatar writers issued a public appeal against the construction of the monument.

Alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir Supporters Go To Trial In Elmet
An Elmet city court held a hearing on 31 March in the criminal cases against five local residents accused of distributing materials for the banned Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir group, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 2 April. Prosecutors have asked for a minimum of two years in prison for the defendants. Tahir Sairuzov, Eldar Khemzin, Ildar Shaikhetdinov, Eduard Nizamov, and Airat Nurullin were arrested by the Federal Security Service in late 2004 for distributing leaflets and books propagating Hizb ut-Tahrir and stand accused of inciting national, racial, and religious hatred.

Sairuzov refused to testify at the hearing, claiming he was tortured. Defense lawyers argued that literature seized from the accused was not subjected to expert scrutiny to determine whether it is extremist. The lawyers also argued there is no evidence that the suspects are Hizb ut-Tahrir followers.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Is Volga Federal District's Leading Taxpayer
According to the Federal Tax Service branch in Bashkortostan, in the first two months of 2005 the republic contributed more tax payments than any other federation subject in the Volga Federal District, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 3 April. Of the 15 territories in the district, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Samara Oblast account for about 50 percent of tax revenues, the daily reported. As a result of tax reform and the implementation of new collection procedures, Bashkortostan collected 2.2 times as much tax revenue in the first quarter of 2005 as it did in the same period in 2004. Tatarstan and Samara Oblast reported increases by a factor of 1.7 over the same period.

Former Property Minister Gets New Job At Bashneft
Former Bashkir Property Affairs Minister Zoefer Ebdrekhimov, who was recently dismissed by President Murtaza Rakhimov for purportedly failing to fulfill his professional obligations, this week will begin a new job, Regnum reported on 4 April. The agency cited unnamed government sources as saying that Ebdrekhimov has been hired as an adviser to senior management at Bashneft with a monthly salary of "several tens of thousands of dollars." At his previous job as a member of the Bashkir cabinet of ministers, Ebdrekhimov earned some $600 per month.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi