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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 11, 2005

11 April 2005
National-Bolsheviks Detained During Protest Meeting In Kazan
Several National Bolshevik Party members were detained on 9 April in Kazan during a meeting organized by local Communists to protest the government's substitution of monetary payments for social benefits, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported the same day. Some 100 pensioners who joined the meeting demanded that compensations for groups of pensioners currently paid from federal and regional budgets be equalized. They also called for public transport tariffs to be maintained and for housing and municipal services tariffs to be reduced. The participants equally called on the Russian government to check if the Kazan metro project is meeting safety requirements and if the allocated budget for it is being used properly. They also called for not rushing work on the metro in order to fulfill plans to inaugurate it in time for the Kazan millennium celebrations on 30 August.

Think Tank Head Predicts Crisis In Russia In Four Years
Speaking before Kazan State University students, Institute for Ethnopolitical and Regional Studies Director Emil Pain said a new empire with racist features is being formed in Russia, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 8 April. In his interview with an RFE/RL Kazan correspondent the same day, Pain said that if Russia continues in this direction it will face a crisis in four or five years. Pain said the problem comes not from the fact that numerous national republics and entities exist in Russia but from attempts to force them to live under Russia's pressure. He warned that countries governed by vertical power disintegrate as soon as the authority of central bodies weakens. Pain also said that corruption is growing and the standard of life is falling. He called an "Orange Revolution" unlikely in Russia but a red-brown revolt possible, since 17 million residents, according to polls, are ready to back the "Russia for Russians" slogan.

Government Promotes Tatar Holiday As UNESCO Heritage
Acting Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva met on 8 April with UNESCO officials to discuss the inclusion of the Tatar national holiday Saban Tue in the UNESCO world heritage list, Tatar-inform reported the same day. UNESCO representatives are on a visit to Kazan to take part in a session of the UNESCO Committee of World Heritage that opened on 6 April (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7 April 2005). UNESCO General Conference President Michael Omolewa said following the meeting that Welieva attracted their attention to the Saban Tue holiday by saying "this is a burning issue for the republic government that takes it to heart." Omolewa said, "We realize that [Saban Tue] should be included in the list to preserve centuries-old cultural traditions. We are very much inspired with the intense activity of the republic's leadership aimed at the preservation of traditions and objects of heritage.

KamAZ Boosts Profit
KamAZ's net profit grew in 2004 by 125 percent to 208 million rubles ($7.4 million) compared to the previous year, reported on 8 April, citing RBC. The company's gain increased in the same period by 58.5 percent to 46.5 billion rubles. Sales of trucks increased by 20 percent to 28,515 units, of small cars by 4 percent to 41,200 units, and sales of buses by 24 percent to 561 units.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Anti-Rakhimov Meeting Participants Sued
Bashkortostan's Prosecutor Aleksandr Konovalov told a press conference on 8 April that a criminal case has been filed against participants in the 26 March meeting in Ufa that called for the dismissal of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, Interfax-Povolzhe, RosBalt, and other news agencies reported the same day. The participants are charged with making public exhortations to extremist action. Konovalov said he filed the charges on 1 April after he watched videotapes of the March meeting provided by the Interior Ministry. Konovalov added that the Russian Federal Security Service's Bashkortostan's Board is investigating the case.

Prosecutor In Charge Of Yukos Case Appointed To Bashkortostan
Prosecutor Konovalov says the former investigator in the Prosecutor-General's Office in charge of serious crimes, Salawat Kerimov, has been appointed his deputy, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 9 April. Kerimov, who worked before 2000 in Bashkortostan, has investigated criminal cases against leading businessmen and oligarchs, including Mikhail Khodorkovskii, Platon Lebedev, Vladimir Gusinskii, and Boris Berezovskii during the past five years. "Kommersant-Daily" on 9 April cited an unidentified source in the Prosecutor-General's Office saying Konovalov will likely be moved to Moscow by the end of the year and Kerimov may be appointed to his position. Konovalov, who formerly was St. Petersburg's first deputy prosecutor, was appointed Bashkortostan's prosecutor on 24 February.

Ural Rakhimov's Supporters Resign From Parliament
Three Bashkir State Assembly deputies representing the republic's fuel-and-energy sector -- Reshit Mokhetdinov, Rinat Tukhteev, and Leonard Sadyiqov -- have given up their parliamentary seats, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 8 April. The three, all senior officials of Bashneft subdivisions, took part in the February plot in the Bashkir Parliament aiming for the dismissal of Speaker Konstantin Tolkachev and his replacement by Ural Rakhimov, the son of the republic's president. The Bashkir Central Election Commission has scheduled by-elections in their three electoral districts for 26 June.

"Kommersant-Volga-Urals" quoted Krasnokholmskneft Chief Engineer Sadyiqov as explaining his resignation by saying "it is impossible to be involved in politics and in administering the manufacturing sector at the same time." He also referred to the forthcoming reorganization of Bashneft, saying he will have no time to attend sessions of the legislature. The daily quoted an unidentified deputy saying he and several more parliamentarians representing the fuel-and-energy sector will also soon give up their terms in office. The source explained the moves as "unwillingness to further cause irritation of republic's authorities."

Bashneft Workers Protest
Roughly 10,000 workers of the Bashneft oil company met in Oktyabrskii, Tuimazy, and the village of Priyutovo on 9 April to demonstrate against the policies of Bashneft's leadership, against the company's reorganization, and against the mass lay-offs of company employees, RosBalt reported the same day. Under the reorganization plan, nine sections responsible for extraction of oil and gas are expected to be abolished and thousands of workers dismissed. The republic's oil-and-gas sector trade unions appealed on 4 April to the Arbitration Court to stop the reorganization of Bashneft. The court has halted the reorganization order and slated appeal hearings for May.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova