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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 1, 2005

1 August 2005
One Issue Still Unresolved In Power-Sharing Treaty
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told reporters on 30 July that only one article remains controversial in the new power-sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported the same day. Shaimiev said some mass media outlets recently reported that the treaty "has been almost buried." Shaimiev said he met on 27 July with Russian presidential administration head Dmitrii Medvedev to discuss the issue. The presidential envoy of the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko, and representatives of the presidential administration's legal department took part in the meeting. Shaimiev said "consultations on the article will be prolonged and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is to be held as a result." Shaimiev expressed confidence that a solution to the issue will be found.

Tatarstan's FSB Office Damaged In Fire
A fire at the Federal Security Service's Board building in Kazan on 29 July caused damage there as well as at the Interior Ministry building located nearby,, Tatar-Inform and other news agencies reported the same day.

Tatarstan's Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman, Andrei Rodygin, told reporters the same day that the fire was the biggest in Kazan in the past 10 years. Rodygin said an electrical short circuit, which could have been caused by a thunderstorm, is thought to be the reason for the fire that began in the attic and spread to the third floor of the building. Rodygin added that there is no reason to speculate about the cause having been terrorism. He said 67 vehicles and 211 employees from the ministry were involved in putting out the fire. According to RBK, all documents were evacuated from the building.

Kazan Gets New Transport Facilities
The commuter train station in the Tatar capital was reopened on 29 July after undergoing reconstruction, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin took part in the opening ceremony. The reconstruction took more than one year, cost 143 million rubles, and was financed equally by Tatarstan and the Russian Railway.

A new bridge called Millennium was opened in Kazan on the same day. The bridge over the Kazanka River connects both halves of the Tatar capital. The 1.5-kilometer structure has an "M" shape supports and symbolizes Kazan's millennium-long history.

A business terminal at Kazan's international airport, a 17-kilometer-long stretch of a national highway from Kazan to Orenburg, and a passenger pier at the Kazan River station were also launched in the same week.

Draftee Threatens To Blast Military Unit
The Alabuga Prosecutor's Office has filed a criminal case alleging terrorism against an unnamed 21-year-old draftee, Regnum reported on 29 July, citing the Russian Interior Ministry's Department on Fighting Organized Crime and Terrorism. The department was told that the man is a member of the extremist society Islamic Jamaat. In June 2005, as he was taking his medical examination upon enlisting, the man repeatedly threatened to blow up the military unit to which he will be sent. He was detained.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Retired Bashkir Police Officer Accuses Former Colleagues Of Managing Illegal Firearms Supplies
Top officials within Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry organized the transfer of guns seized in Chechnya to their republic with the help of Bashkir police deployed in the breakaway republic, Aleksandr Derevyanko, a former senior officer on a special task force within the organized crime department of Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry told the "Svoya Versiya" program of Russia's TVTs television on 16 July. Derevyanko said that while working on the task force he was instructed to transfer the weapons by his commanders.

On 31 July, published an article denouncing Derevyanko as a "traitor" to his colleagues and referred to alleged numerous cases of him disobeying senior officers, which brought his early retirement and a suspended sentence in March 2001. In 2004, Derevyanko appealed to Russia's prosecutor-general to investigate the alleged shipment of firearms from Chechnya to Bashkortostan.

Public Groups Denounce Justice Ministry Comment On Blagoveschensk Case
The official Russian Interior Ministry's request for a special operation to restore order in Blagoveschensk, Bashkortostan in December 2004 fully conforms to existing federal laws, the head of the Russian Justice Ministry's State Justice Department, Yevgenii Zabarchuk, said on 28 July, reported.

This statement was sharply criticized by Marat Kheirullin, a member of a public commission investigating the alleged numerous human-rights violations during the violent Blagoveschensk police raid, speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio the same day. Kheirullin said that Zabarchuk's comment was further "spitting in the eyes of the public," while in his opinion, the aforementioned request "in fact meant that the Interior Ministry has a right to open fire on any people who think differently or who disagree with something.... We will protest and try to attract the attention of the international community [to this problem]," he said.

Meanwhile, alleged victims of the Blaveschensk raid will join a nationwide movement called "Beaten Russia," which will unite public groups opposing torture, "cleansings," and other cases of violent abuse by law enforcers, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 28 July. The public movement was reportedly initiated by Veronika Shakhova, a journalist from Blagoveschensk who was herself a victim of police brutality.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi