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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 2, 2005

2 June 2005
Shaimiev Proposes Inclusion Of Chavashia In TURKSOY
Meeting on 1 June with International Organization for Common Development of Turkic Culture and Arts (TYURKSOI) General Director Polad Byul-Byuloglu and organization members, President Mintimer Shaimiev suggested that Chavashia be accepted as a member, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. "Chavashs are a Turkic-speaking people who have an ancient language and rich culture," Shaimiev said, adding that he discussed the issue with Chavash President Nikolai Fedorov. Shaimiev also listed the Caucasus republics Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Cherkessia, and Crimean Tatars as possible candidates for membership of TYURKSOI.

Tatar Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Zile Welieva told reporters on 1 June that a meeting of TYURKSOI's permanent council agreed to hold a Turkic opera festival and a shaman festival in 2006. Welieva said TYURKSOI members also decided to establish an international center for the preservation of the so-called tangible and intangible heritage of Turkic peoples. The center will unite outstanding Turkic cultural figures to choose nominees for inclusion on UNESCO's list of tangible and intangible heritage. TYURKSOI members have agreed to include the Tatar national holiday Saban Tuye on the list, Welieva said.

High-Voltage Power-Transmission Line Explodes
A high-voltage power-transmission tower was destroyed in an explosion in Tatarstan's Teleche Raion on 1 June, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Investigators found parts of a timing mechanism at the site of the incident, Tatar-inform reported. A senior assistant to republican prosecutor Ildar Mokhemetjanov said prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into a possible terrorist act, ITAR-TASS reported. The incident occurred at 1.30 a.m. on the 900th kilometer of the Moscow-Ufa motorway near Teleche Raion's village of Nyrsy and left several villages without electricity. The power supply has been completely restored, Ekho Moskvy reported on 2 June.

Suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir Member Convicted Of Possessing Explosives
The Kazan Yanga Savin Raion court has sentenced 42-year-old Uzbek native Alisher Usmanov to nine months in jail after he was convicted of illegal possession of explosives. Usmanov was acquitted of charges connected with his alleged involvement in a terrorism-related crime and of organizing a banned group. Usmanov was arrested in October and a grenade, a detonator, TNT, and printed materials calling for the establishment of an Islamic state were found during a search of his apartment. Usmanov testified that he left the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2000 -- before the organization was banned in Russia. Usmanov, who has spent eight months in pretrial custody, will serve one more month in prison. State attorney Eduard Safin said he will appeal the verdict, which in his words "doesn't correspond to reality."

Prominent Muslim Women Object To Beer Hall Near Qol Sherif Mosque
Tatarstan's Union of Muslim Women appealed to President Mintimer Shaimiev to work for the closure of the "Crayfish" beer house near the Kazan Kremlin, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 1 June. "Muslima" newspaper Editor in Chief Almira Adiatullina and the mother of Tatarstan Muslim Religious Board Chairman Rashida Iskhaqi are among the signatories. The authors say the beer hall, which is in the neighborhood of the Qol Sherif Mosque that is scheduled to open this month, is an insult to the memory of Muslims who died defending Kazan. Numerous appeals by public forces to remove the beer hall from the site under the Kremlin walls were rejected by Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov, who argued that the restaurant is popular among residents.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Court Prohibits Bashneft Reorganization
The Bashkir Arbitration Court on 1 June rejected an appeal by Bashneft to annul the court's ban on starting the oil company's reorganization, RosBalt reported the same day. Deputy Chairman of the Oil and Gas Industry Trade Union Aleksandr Grishin told the news agency that this is the second decision of the republic's Arbitration Court, after Bashneft appeals, since the beginning of May. Grishin said he believes the court "has taken a position of principle to annul the illegal decision by the Bashneft management to abolish nine oil and gas producing boards (NGDU) that will result in the lay-offs of 18 percent of the workforce or some 700 people."

Bashneft's February decision to close nine NGDUs was reportedly not agreed with the trade unions. The unions have now contested this decision in court. On 8 April, some 10,000 oil industry workers staged a meeting to demand an annulment of the order concerning Bashneft's reorganization. A court hearing on the trade union's lawsuit to annul the order is slated for 14 June. Grishin said "the Bashneft management has no chance of defending the reorganization as the Arbitration Court...has issued a decision to return the company's controlling interest to the state." He recognized, however, that lay-offs are possible if "they are economically reasonable."

Ad Agencies Win Suit Against Ufa Council
The Bashkir Constitutional Court on 30 May upheld a lawsuit by the Association of Professional Advertisers against the Ufa City Council and ruled that new advertising rules introduced by the council are unconstitutional, RosBalt reported on 1 June. Association member Anderi Yegorov told the news agency that the court satisfied all the applicants' demands and annulled all the six new rules introduced by the council. The Ufa City Council has recently prohibited street ads for tobacco, beer, and spirits and has introduced harsh restrictions on flyposting.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova