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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 24, 2005

24 May 2005
Kulikovo Battle Anniversary Sparks Controversy
Reshid Yegeferov, the coordinating chairman of the Tatar National Council, told Ekho Moskvy on 23 May that the Tatar public is opposed to celebrations marking the anniversary of the battle of Kulikovo, which began 23 May 1380 in the Nikolo-Ugreshskii monastery in the Moscow Oblast city of Dzerzhinskii. Yegeferov said, "Tatar scholars have proven that there in fact was not a major war between the Golden Horde and the Moscow state, only skirmishes between individual princes and khans. And if celebrations of the Kulikovo battle begin nevertheless, this will be made public." He added that "this will be unpleasant for both Tatars and Russians, as the governments of Tatarstan and Moscow are not interested in such scientific discussions. Yegeferov suggested that Tatar activists should meet with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to discuss the issue.

Patriarch Alexsii II on 23 May called on people not to look at the Kulikovo anniversary as a symbol of antipathy between the Russian and Tatar peoples, Interfax reported the same day. "One shouldn't think the meaning of the Kulikovo battle was the fight of the Russians against the Tatar-Mongols." The patriarch said there were many Tatars among the fighters loyal to Russian Prince Dmitrii Donskoi, as well as Russians on the side of the Golden Horde's Khan Mamai.

Viktor Ilyukhin, the deputy chairman of the State Duma Security Commission, told Ekho Moskvy on 23 May that Kulikovo should be celebrated as a victory by the Russian people over hostile invaders. He said the Kulikovo battle is "a nationwide holiday, as we fought not against Tatars who lived in the Russian Federation, but against newcomers who were coming to subdue Russia."

Two Out Of Three Key Facilities Deemed Vulnerable To Terrorism
The Antiterrorism Commission of the Volga Federal District, after inspecting 15 key facilities in Chally, Kazan and Tuben Kama, pronounced only five of them properly protected from terrorism, Tatar First Deputy Prime Minister Raqil Moratov told reporters on 23 May. Moratov, on the same day, hosted in the Cabinet of Ministers a meeting of Tatarstan's antiterrorism body to discuss ways to boost counterterror activities. Vladimir Tatarchuk, the assistant to the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko, attended the meeting and praised Tatarstan's law-enforcement bodies, saying they are far more effective than their colleagues in other Russian regions. Tatarchuk cited efforts by the republic's law-enforcement agencies to fight illegal arms and narcotics trafficking and general gangsterism.

Investments In Chemical, Petrochemical Sectors To More Than Double
Tatneftekhiminvest-holding General Director Rafinat Yarullin said on 23 May that investments in Tatarstan's chemical and petrochemical sectors will increase this year by 150 percent to 14 billion rubles ($499 million), and will for the first time exceed investments in the fuel industry, AK&M reported the same day. Specifically, Nizhnekamskneftekhim will invest 6.7 billion rubles in the production of polystyrene, polypropylene and new sorts of rubber. In 2004, investments in the company totaled 2.6 billion rubles. Another firm, Kazanorgsintez will increase investments for the production of bisphenol-A and polycarbonate from 1.4 billion rubles in 2004 to 6.7 billion rubles.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Registration Of Candidates Completed For Local Self-Government
Three-hundred nine candidates will compete for 35 seats on the Ufa City Council, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 23 May, citing a list of candidates published the same day by election officials. Elections to those local bodies, whose powers are to be expanded under local self-government reforms that should be in place by November, are slated for 26 June.

Ufa Election Commission Accused Of Bias
Five would-be candidates for the Ufa City Council who were refused registration held a news conference on 20 May to accuse the local election commission of unfairness, reported on 23 May. The group includes Novoufimskii Oil Refinery executive Sergei Akulov, Bashkirenergo's Sergei Kasatkin, energy sales executive Sergei Yerokhin, and Novoil's Erik Islakaev.

Durtoile Raion Head Files Defamation Suit
Durtoile Raion and city-administration head Rawil Dewletov filed a defamation suit against resident Egine Bulatova in which he is seeking 1 million rubles ($35,600) in compensation, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 23 May. Bulatova, who campaigned against President Murtaza Rakhimov in the December 2002 presidential election, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Interior Ministry to complain of perceived persecution against her that began after Rakhimov's victory. Bulatova has sought 1 million rubles in compensation of moral damages from Dewletov.

Kauchuk Reportedly Struggling
The leadership of Bashkortostan-based Kauchuk, Russia's largest manufacturer of synthetic rubber, said the plant is in crisis and on the verge of bankruptcy, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 23 May. The company reported in its first-quarter results that losses increased during the period by 282 million rubles to 1.1 billion rubles. In 2005, Kauchuk plans to produce 172,800 tons of rubber. President Rakhimov has said Kauchuk -- alongside the Kaustik and Soda chemical plants -- could join the Moscow-based holding Bashkirskaya khimiya this year.

Kauchuk produces 24 percent of Russia's isoprene rubber. Bashkortostan's Property Ministry owns a 25 percent stake in Kauchuk.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova