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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 15, 2005

15 September 2005
Tatar Antidrug Program Criticized For Low Efficiency
According to Tatar-inform, after a 14 September interdepartmental commission on drug control, the problem of drug addiction remains critical in the republic. The Tatar government has been annually spending some $2.3 million on its antidrug program, which was launched in 2002. The commission's chairwoman, Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Zile Wlieva, said during the meeting that the number of drug addicts is increasing in rural areas and that a new antidrug concept was needed. She recommended that republican antidrug agencies joined forces with the federal antidrug program to elaborate on concrete measures to decrease trafficking.

Gref Suggests Promoting KamAZ Shares At LSE
Trade and Economic Development Minister German Gref announced on 13 September that he will advise the federal government to float shares of the state-owned KamAZ automotive concern on the London Stock Exchange, "Kommersant" wrote the next day. According to previous reports, the federal government is planning to privatize its 34 percent shares package in KamAZ in 2006.

UNIKS Signs Contract With NBA Star
One of the leaders of Russia's national basketball league, UNIKS, has announced that it has signed a contract with the NBA's Travis Best, who previously played for the New Jersey Nets, Tatar media reported on 14 September. The Kazan-based basketball team, sponsored by Tatarstan's National Bank, is considered one of the richest clubs in Russia and has already drafted a number of Lithuania's and Russia's national basketball teams.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Trial Against Blagoveshchensk Raid Participants Postponed...
The court hearing on a criminal case against eight participants and organizers of the December police raid in Blagoveshchensk scheduled for 14 September was postponed till 12 October on an appeal by lawyers of the accused and prosecutors, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 14 September. Lawyers and prosecutors referred to the fact that they had not been informed about the trial five days before as required.

...As Victims Challenge Questionable Decree
An Ufa raion court on 14 September accepted for consideration an appeal demanding that Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office be obliged to check if the use of the 10 September 2004 internal order No. 870 signed by then Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov during the Blagoveshchensk raid was legal, Regnum reported the same day. On the basis of the document that allows the establishment of filtration stations, such a station was set up in Blagoveshchensk and hundreds of local residents were illegally held in it.

A lawyer for the Blagoveshchensk raid victims, Stanislav Markelov, told Regnum that the Independent Expert Legal Council held an expertise on the order and concluded that it violates Russian law. No legal act defines a filtration station or regulates its use and grounds for detaining people. Under the order, filtration stations can be set up in "emergency circumstances" but no definition of such circumstances is available in legal documents.

Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office had refused to study if the use of the order was legal until the verdict is issued on the criminal case against Blagoveshchensk raid organizers and executors.

Tatar Civic Group Files Defamation Suit Against Daily
Ufa's Tatar National Cultural Autonomy head Mejit Khujin told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 14 September that his group has filed a defamation suit against the newspaper "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" in Ufa's Oktyabr Raion court. In the wake of the Kazan millennium celebrations in late August, the daily published an article claiming that Bashkortostan's Tatar representatives who attended celebrations were "dishonest" and "unknown." Khujin said the group is demanding 1 million rubles ($35,300) in compensation.

Metro Cash & Carry Comes To Ufa
The Germany's Metro Cash & Carry hypermarket opened in Ufa on 14 September, "Kommersant-Volga-Ural" reported on 15 September. Tatar President Murtaza Rakhimov attended the opening ceremony. General Director of Metro Cash & Carry in Russia Andrea Martinelli told a news conference that Rakhimov was "the first president in attendance at a hypermarket opening" in history.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova