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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 23, 2005

23 June 2005
Interior Ministry Admits Spread Of Corruption In All Levels Of Government
Tatarstan's police have managed to detect cases of bribery by some 34 percent, having prevented 127 acts of bribery thus far in 2005, Mars Badrutdinov, the head of the Interior Ministry's board for enforcing economic crime, told reporters on 22 June, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Badrutdinov emphasized that corruption plagued "practically all levels of government," which provided his agency with many chances to catch perpetrators. Additionally, a total of some 300 cases of abuse of power by Tatar officials were detected in the first five months of 2005, which is 47.5 percent higher than in the same period of 2004.

Court Considers Abuse By Police Officer
The Soviet district court of Kazan began hearing the case of police officer Sergei Stepanov, 28, who is accused of using excessive force against a 32-year-old Kazan resident who was walking by the police officer during an inspection of an apartment block allegedly used by drug dealers, "Kommersant-Povolzhye" reported on 23 June. Lawyers from the Kazan Human Rights Center assisted the victim in preparing for his case. If Stepanov is found guilty, Stepanov would face a 10-year sentence. However, according to the center's activists, Stepanov is likely to receive disciplinary action instead of a jail sentence.

Tatneft To Coordinate The Tuben Kama Refinery Project
Tatneft was chosen to coordinate the construction of a second oil refinery in Tuben Kama with a processing capacity of 7 million tons per year, PRAIM-TASS and "Vedomosti" reported on 22 June. The company will also have a tender for other participants in the project. The shareholders of the Tatar-Korean Petrochemical Company made this decision based on the fact that South Korea's LG Corporation failed to produce the technical documentation for the project and could not organize its financing.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress Urges That Rakhimov Be Kept From Kazan Anniversary Celebrations...
The congress of Tatar national and cultural autonomy (NKA) in Bashkortostan adopted a resolution on 22 June denouncing President Murtaza Rakhimov for "infringing on the rights of the Tatar people" and urging his retirement, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Some 250 congressional delegates from all regions in Bashkortostan appealed to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Russian President Vladimir Putin, insisting that it would be "unacceptable to allow president Rakhimov's presence at the millennium anniversary celebrations in the Tatar capital."

...Discusses New Political Platform...
Ramil Bignov, NKA committee chairman and leader of the united Bashkir opposition, said in his speech at the same event that Bashkortostan's Tatar community will promote the merger of their region with either Samara or Orenburg Oblast, two oblasts that have significant numbers of ethnic Tatars. However this suggestion did not make it into the final resolution of the Congress, which acknowledged the need to further study the subject.

...And Emphasizes The Role Of International Organizations
Inspired by the success of the Marii national movement, which managed to obtain a European Parliament resolution denouncing infringements on their people's rights in their own republic, Bashkortostan's Tatar rights movement decided to appeal to the same body, asking them to protect "Tatar cultural values from republican authorities" and to promote the granting of an official status to the Tatar language in Bashkortostan. Bashkir presidential spokesperson Rostislav Murzagulov told reporters the same day that the congressional resolution represented a "pathetic attempt to seed a quarrel between the two brotherly peoples [Tatar and Bashkir]." He said: "it made no sense to comment on the irresponsible statements of individuals not possessing any support from the local population."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi