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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 9, 2005

9 August 2005
Tatar Public Figures Advocate Detained Turkish Religious Group
Following the Federal Security Service's (FSB) arrest in Kazan and Chally of activists from the Islamic religious group Nurcilar on charges of religious extremism, prominent Tatar historian and ethnologist Damir Iskhakov said in an interview by RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 8 August that he considers the group to be "one of the most peaceful and tolerant."

Iskhakov also mentioned the origins of the group, which emerged during a time in Turkey of strong regulations against Islam when the party struggled for a more secular role for Islam. Iskhakov's opinion is reportedly shared by the imam of newly opened Qol Serif Mosque, Ramil khezret Yunis, and Damir Shegeliev, a theology expert on the religious affairs board of Tatarstan's cabinet, who reportedly claim there are no expressions of extremism in Nurcilar's literature.

TRT Broadcasts Documentary Series About Far Away Tatar Communities
On the eve of the 1,000th anniversary of Kazan, Turkey's state TRT television has launched a documentary series dedicated to Tatars residing in Lithuania, Poland, Finland, and Hungary, Tatar-Inform reported on 8 August. The series reportedly covers the history and contemporary lives of Tatars, whose forefathers left their motherland more than one century ago.

Shaimiev Welcomes New Nizhnii Novgorod Governor
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev joined the inauguration ceremony of the newly appointed Nizhnii Novgorod governor, Valerii Shantsev, on 8 August, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

In his speech at the ceremony in Nizhnii Novgorod, Shaimiev welcomed the appointment of the former Moscow deputy mayor. Shaimiev emphasized that in his opinion the new governor "knows what to do and how to do it. We already have been and want to remain good neighbors." Later the same day, Shaimiev told reporters that Nizhnii Novgorod was "lucky to get Shantsev as a governor and it was a brilliant decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin." Commenting on the fact that Shantsev is not from Nizhnii Novgorod, Shaimiev said that his appointment was caused "by the hands of Nizhnii Novgorod's native residents. If the real conditions were handled better during the reforms [in that region], then it is quite possible that such a necessity [of an outsider being appointed governor] would not have emerged."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Interior Ministry Concerned About Discipline Among Employees
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev told Interfax-Povolzhe on 8 August that the ministry has taken measures to secure discipline and to prevent and uncover any criminal behavior by law enforcement officials. Divaev said the issue is on the agenda of an extraordinary meeting in the ministry on 6 August where "strict" measures will be developed to strengthen discipline. According to an order by the minister, all interior employees have been informed that they will be sacked in case of driving while intoxicated. Divaev added that he ordered the firing of Reval Ekhmetshin, an employee in Miyaki Raion, who struck and killed a girl on 25 July while driving drunk. The leadership of the Interior Ministry appealed to the Prosecutor's Office to arrest Ekhmetshin, Divaev said. Divaev also said 21 Interior Ministry employees have been dismissed for other violations so far in the current year.

Measures To Prevent Bird Flu Taken
Bashkortostan's sanitary and veterinarian services have tightened measures in an effort to prevent the spread of the bird flu, RosBalt reported on 5 August.

The republic's Agriculture Ministry issued an order under which bird farms should introduce a "closed regime." Probes of birds' blood is being regularly taken in all of the nine chicken factories in Bashkortostan and have thus far revealed no cases of the disease that was registered in Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen, and Kurgan oblasts as well as in Altai Krai.

Government To Provide Help For Rural Raions Damaged By Hurricanes
The Bashkir government will compensate losses to rural raions that suffered in July and August from tornadoes, RosBalt reported on 8 August. According to the Bashkir presidential press service, 1.5 million rubles ($53,000) were allocated from the presidential fund to Chaqmagysh Raion, where damage caused by a storm on 30 July totaled 14 million rubles. The government will also allocate money for the raion because hundreds of hectares of crops were lost and electricity-supply facilities were destroyed.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova