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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 31, 2005

31 May 2005
Kazan Hosts TYURKSOI Meeting...
The 22nd meeting of the Permanent Council of the International Organization for Common Development of Turkic Culture and Arts (TYURKSOI) opened in Kazan on 30 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Ministers of culture from Azerbaijan, the Altai Republic, Bashkortostan, Gagauzia (Moldova), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Sakha (Yakutia), Turkmenistan, Turkey, Tyva, and Khakasia, gathered in Kazan for the forum. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told the council members that 12 million representatives of Turkic peoples live in Russia and the close cooperation of those republics with TYURKSOI has allowed for joint projects on preservation, studying, and developing cultural and national values. Shaimiev emphasized the role of the Turkic world in the history of human civilization and called for "preserving the memory of the past and informing new generations about that wealth through its spiritual revival and flourishing." In his greeting sent to the council participants, Russian Culture Minister Aleksandr Sokolov said TYURKSOI's activities promote a stable peace and the preservation of peoples' cultural heritage in the face of globalization. All 11 visiting ministers praised the role of Kazan in developing Turkic peoples' cultures.

TYURKSOI was established in July 1992 in Almaty. The same year, Tatarstan joined the organization as an observer. TYURKSOI is headquartered in Ankara. The organization's supreme body, the Permanent Council of Culture Ministers, convenes twice a year.

...And Turkic-Language Theater Festival
A colorful performance was held in front of the Tatar State Galiesker Kamal Theater on 30 May to open the eighth International Theater Festival of Turkic Peoples, called Neuruz, devoted to the Kazan millennium, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Ministers from TYURKSOI member countries headed by TYURKSOI General Director and Azerbaijani Culture Minister Polad Byul-Byuloglu attended the ceremony. Fourteen theaters from Russia, CIS countries, and abroad will perform on 30 May-5 June. Neuruz, set up in 1989 is held by the Tatar Culture Ministry with the assistance of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, Russian and Tatarstan's theater figures unions, and TYURKSOI.

Former Interior Employee Convicted Of Torture
A Kazan Yanga Savin Raion court on 30 May convicted former interior employee Vladimir Lyamzin of exceeding authority through violence against detainees and gave him to a five-year suspended sentence, Regnum reported the same day. The investigation revealed that Lyamzin, together with his colleagues, tortured two young men who were detained on 13 May 2004 in an effort to coerce a confession that they stole a mobile telephone. One of the youths was shocked with electrical current. Under duress, both men confessed. After they were released, the men underwent medical examinations. On 16 June 2004, the Yanga Savin Raion prosecutor's office filed a complaint against Lyamzin and advised the victims to appeal to the Kazan Human Rights Center for help; the center provided them with lawyers. Center Director Pavel Chikov told the news agency that the verdict provides hope for defending victims' rights and, with the center's help, the young men will file suits seeking damages.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Turkey's Sisecam, EBRD Ink Loan For Bottle, Jar Plant In Ufa
A delegation from Turkish Sisecam holding and representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) arrived in Ufa on 30 May to sign a credit agreement to fund a factory to produce glass containers in Ufa, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The agenda of the delegation's visit includes meetings with Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov.

17 Candidates Compete For Four State Assembly Seats...
By-elections to Bashkortostan's legislative assembly will be held in four electoral districts on 26 June, "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" reported on 30 May, citing the republican election commission. The seats were vacated when Nikolai Protasov was appointed to executive bodies and three other lawmakers -- Reshit Mokhetdinov, Leonard Sadyiqov, and Rinat Tukhteev -- left the assembly in the wake of a scheme aimed at nominating the son of republican President Murtaza Rakhimov, Ural, to be parliamentary speaker (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 25 February 2005). Between three and six candidates will compete in each of the four districts.

...As 200 Run For 35 Ufa Municipal Seats
Two hundred candidates have been registered for the Ufa municipal elections scheduled for 26 June, "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" reported on 30 May. Under the planned local self-government reforms, the number of elected representatives for Ufa was reduced from 60 to 35. Thirty-six members of the acting Ufa council are seeking reelection. Twenty-three women are in the race, and a vast majority of the hopefuls are senior executives.

Explosion At Kauchuk Seriously Injures Three
Three employees were hospitalized with severe burns after an explosion and fire on equipment processing butadiene at the Kauchuk facility on 23 May, reported on 31 May. Authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova