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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 23, 2005

23 August 2005
Russia Dismisses Ukraine Proposals For CIS Summit
An official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Kamynin, told ITAR-TASS on 22 August that a number of issues proposed by Ukraine for discussion at the upcoming CIS summit in Kazan "cannot be on the agenda, as they require detailed and thorough study, including in different formats and at other forums." He said the issues include the readmission or mutual return of illegal emigres, demarcation of borders, establishment of transport corridors for transportation of energy carriers, a free-trade zone, and measures on social defense of citizens of the CIS. Kamynin said the common practice of introducing issues for agenda of meetings of the CIS supreme bodies exists but that Ukraine made its proposals just two weeks before the meeting. The proposed issues "affect a number of a very serious issues and demand substantial study," he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Boris Tarasyuk claimed the Russian chairmanship refused to include Kyiv's suggested issues on the summit agenda.

Former State Duma Deputy Convicted Again
A Wahitov Raion court in Kazan convicted former State Duma deputy and businessman Sergei Shashurin on 22 August of fraud, Tatarinform and "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 22 and 23 August, respectively. Shashurin was found guilty on all six counts and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Taking into account a previous verdict by the Kazan Moscow Raion court issued in February on a charge of slandering Tatar Interior Minister Esget Seferov, for which Shashurin was eventually sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison. The court also ordered Shashurin to pay 895,000 rubles ($31,300) to Tatneft NN (Nizhnii Novgorod) and 283,000 rubles to five private individuals. Shashurin maintained his innocence and accused the judge of being "on the side of true criminals." He said he has plans to appeal the verdict in the Tatar Supreme Court.

Shashurin was convicted three decades ago of hooliganism and resisting police. Shashurin was elected Tatar State Council deputy while he was in pretrial detention in 1995 on a fraudulent documents charge and an alleged assault on an investigator. In December 1995, he was elected to the State Duma and was reelected to the Russian parliament in 1999. During his second term in the Duma, Shashurin was the deputy chairman of the Environmental Committee and a member of anticorruption and geopolitical commissions.

Court Absolves Man Who Spent Six Years In Prison
A Volga Raion court in Kazan declared Airat Khelilov not guilty of having murdered a car driver and stolen a car stereo in 1998 and spent nearly seven years in detention, and "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" reported on 22 and 23 August, respectively. Khelilov's sentence was confirmed three times during his incarceration. Khelilov was released on 22 August after the new verdict. During the investigation, Khelilov was tortured but did not confess. A Khelilov acquaintance and crown witness, who reportedly was also tortured, told investigators that he had seen Khelilov kill the driver of the car. The court concluded, however, that investigators' findings contradicted the witness testimony and some of the evidence was gathered in a manner inconsistent with the law.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Security Measures Increased In Bashkortostan Ahead Of Kazan Celebrations
The head of the Russian Interior Ministry's Volga Federal District Chief Directorate, General-Colonel Vladimir Shcherbakov, convened a closed-door meeting of the leadership of the Bashkir Interior Ministry on 22 August to discuss security in Bashkortostan during celebrations of the 1,000th anniversary of the capital of neighboring Tatarstan, Interfax-Povolzhe reported the same day. Shcherbakov said he will inform the Russian interior minister on 23 August regarding measures taken to provide security on federal motorways. Shcherbakov met the same day with Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov.

Bashkortostan sent 308 interior employees to Kazan for the duration of celebrations.

Seemingly Bogus Reports Emerge In Connection With Weapons Stash
Meanwhile, the Ingush Interior Ministry informed the Bashkir Interior Ministry that an arms cache was discovered in the republic along with a note in which the purported owner is asked to hurry with "actions" devoted to the Kazan millennium and pledges payment, "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" reported on 22 August. The paper reported that Bashkir opposition leader Ramil Bignov's name is mentioned in the note, although the name that appears in the note is in fact "Ramil Biganov," not "Bignov." The daily quoted Ingush Interior Ministry spokesman Murat Zurabov as saying that the weapons -- a Kalashnikov machine gun and cartridges, along with three grenades -- and the note were actually found near the village of Maiskii in North Ossetia. "In the note, payment for some actions was guaranteed but the Kazan millennium wasn't mentioned," Zurabov added. The Bashkir Interior Ministry declined to comment on the report, saying the information "shouldn't be disclosed."

Eight Policemen To Go On Trial Over Blagoveshchensk Raids
Criminal hearings were set for a Blagoveshchensk city court on 15 September in a number cases against police officers who took part in the Blagoveshchensk security raids on 10-14 December, during which hundreds of incidents of suspected abuse took place, Regnum reported on 22 August, quoting a police source. Eight people will go on trial, including Blagoveshchensk Interior Directorate head Lieutenant Colonel Ildar Ramazanov, Major Oleg Mirzin, Major Oleg Sokolov, Major Oleg Shapeev, Lieutenant Aidar Gilwanov, Captain Vil Khemetdinov, Sergei Fomin, and Foreman Yurii Golovin. All are reportedly accused of exceeding authority or abuse of power, and all have proclaimed their innocence. Some are also accused of using or threatening to use violence under special circumstances. They could face three to 10-year terms in prison if convicted. More than 300 people reportedly had their rights violated during the raids, including nearly 200 subjected to violent treatment at the hands of authorities.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova