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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 9, 2005

9 May 2005
Kazan Celebrates 60th Victory Day Anniversary
Kazan police blockaded the center of the Tatar capital on 9 May in order to ensure the security of the military troops, artists and World War II veterans participating in the Victory Day parade held in the city's Freedom Square, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Later in the day, residents enjoyed outdoor commemorations at Kazan's Victory Park.

Veterans From CIS, Baltic Countries Join V-Day Celebrations in Kazan
World War II veterans from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic countries joined celebrations ahead of the 9 May Victory Day events, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 6 May. Members of the Tatar government, congress officials and journalists all participated in congratulating the veterans on the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany. RFE/RL reports that in most of the former Soviet republics, ethnic Tatar and Bashkir communities are cooperating on Victory Day commemorations.

Shaimiev Condemns Marches By 'Nazi' Veterans
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the victorious end of World War 2, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev praised the priceless contribution of Tatar veterans in defending the motherland, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 9 May. Shaimiev recalled that of the more than 700,000 residents of Tatarstan who fought at the front, fewer than half survived. Addressing recent marches by what he called former Nazi officers in the Baltic countries, Shaimiev said he was saddened that "in the city streets of some countries, Nazis are marching again and the antifascists opposing them are the ones accused of violating public order."

KamAZ Says Top Managers' Arrests Not Affecting Business
The press service of the KamAZ automotive firm announced on 6 May that the recent arrests of a purchasing director and the general director of the company's metallurgical division, KamAZ-Metallurgiya, on embezzling charges will not affect the company's obligations regarding contracts signed prior to the arrests. The statement said company management was in full control of KamAZ and its different divisions.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Trade Unions Oppose Bashneft's Restructuring
The trade unions of Bashkortostan's oil and gas industry workers have sued the management of the Bashneft oil company, which recently announced plans to abolish its regional oil and gas extraction boards (NGDU) and convert them into Bashneft territorial divisions, the Volga-Urals edition of "Kommersant" wrote on 7 May. Prior to the proposal, nine NGDUs had been separate legal entities, maintaining cooperation with Bashneft on a contractual basis. In late 2004, Bashneft management decided to merge the nine boards into three territorial divisions, something that was opposed by the unions, which claimed that their rights were violated by the absence of any official notice of the layoffs that would follow. Bashkortostan's Arbitration Court is now hearing the case. Bashneft is one of the top 10 oil companies in Russia, with an annual output of 12 million tons from oil deposits in Bashkortostan and western Siberia. In early 2003, 63.72 percent of the company's state-owned shares were handed to the Bashkirskii Kapital firm, which is controlled by Ural Rakhimov, son of the Bashkir president, Murtaza Rakhimov.

TV Channel Calls Presidential Son The "True Owner" of Bashkortostan's Wealth
An RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 6 May cited Dmitrii Orlov, news anchorman of Russia's TVS television station, as calling Ural Rakhimov "the true owner of all of Bashkortostan's wealth." The journalist claimed that Bashkortostan's economy could only recover if its petrochemical industries are returned to the state.

Rakhimov Appraised For Best Organizations Of Army Conscription
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on 8 May issued a letter of gratitude to Bashkorotstan's President Murtaza Rakhimov, noting his accomplishments in preparing young people for army service and ensuring high conscription figures in his republic, Bashinform reported the same day. Bashkortostan reportedly managed to occupy first place in the nationwide contest for the best preparation for and conduct of army recruitment campaigns.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi