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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 21, 2005

21 September 2005
Government Denies That Prime Minister Broke Leg
The press service of Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers on 20 September denied media reports about an injury to Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, Tatar-inform reported the same day.

According to "Vechernyaya Kazan" on 20 September, Minnikhanov, who is currently standing in for vacationing President Mintimer Shaimiev, was urgently sent to Germany for treatment of a broken leg. The press service confirmed that Minnikhanov is on a visit to Germany but is holding negotiations with BASF rather than receiving treatment. RFE/RL's Kazan bureau cited the government's press secretary Ildar Segdetshin on 20 September as saying that Minnikhanov is scheduled to also hold meetings in Moscow.

Tatarstan Deputy Proposed As First Deputy State Duma Speaker
The Unified Russia faction of the Russian State Duma on 19 September backed the candidacy of Oleg Morozov, currently the State Duma deputy speaker and a deputy representing Tatarstan, to the post of the first deputy speaker, Tatar-inform reported on 20 September.

State Duma Commission on Rules and Organizing Work Chairman Oleg Kovalev told the news agency that Morozov will be in charge of "cooperation of the lower chamber of Russia's State Assembly with the government and the presidential administration as well as holding plenary sessions of the State Duma." Morozov told reporters that he will maintain his post as head of a subgroup of the Unified Russia faction. The Duma is to vote on Morozov's candidacy on 21 September.

Kazan Exhibit On Ataturk Premieres
An exhibition called "Ataturk and the History of Turkey in Photographs" opened on 20 September at Tatarstan's National Library, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

Turkey's consul-general in Kazan, Ismail Haqqi Musa Tatar State Council Commission on Science, Education, Culture and National Issues Chairman Razil Weliev, and Deputy Culture Minister Andrei Kuzmin took part in the event as part of the Days of Turkey in Tatarstan devoted to Kazan's millennium celebrations. Musa said a new building for Tatarstan's National Library that is be constructed and equipped by Turkish companies as well as a Turkish Center in the Tatar State Humanitarian Pedagogical University will also open soon.

Defense Industry Trade Unions Join Russia-Wide Protest Action
Some 150 people took part in a meeting in front of the Geliesker Kamal Theater in Kazan that was organized by Tatarstan's Association of Trade Unions of the Defense and Mechanical Engineering Industry, reported the same day.

Participants passed a resolution in which they appealed to the Russian government for an acceleration of the development of a federal program on the promotion of the defense industry complex from 2006 to 2010, the timely allocation of the necessary resources for state defense orders, the resolution of social issues for defense-sector employees, and pay raises. Participants in the meeting also demanded that defense industry companies not have to pay property taxes.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Prosecutors Halt Proceedings Against Bashneft
Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office ended its investigation into the business practices of the Bashneft oil company, which was suspected of the illegal extraction of oil at 52 deposits in the republic, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 21 September.

The case was brought up in December on 2004 based on allegations that Bashneft exceeded officially approved extraction levels. However, investigators later discovered that licenses obtained by Bashneft had no maximum extraction output listed, and the oil company's activities did not lead to uncontrolled losses of oil.

Bashneft's annual oil production based on 160 deposits across the republic is reported to be between 11-12 million tons. Forty percent of the company's shares are managed by the private company under the control of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov's son, Ural, and the Institute of Regional Economics and Law; 20 more percent is owned by the Sistema group of companies. Minor shareholders include Bashkortostan's Ministry of Property Relations.

Bashkortostan Prepares For 15th Anniversary Of 'Sovereignty'
Bashkortostan will celebrate on 11 October the 15th anniversary of the adoption of its declaration of sovereignty, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 September, citing the speaker of Bashkortostan's parliament, Konstantin Tolkachev.

Four years after the 1990 adoption of the declaration, Bashkortostan signed a treaty on the delegation of powers between the republican and federal governments. According to recent reports in the republican media, 72 percent of the tax revenues collected in the republic are transferred to the federal budget. In the first nine months of 2005 these transfers amounted to some $2.8 billion, which is two times higher than the total amount of transfers in the same period in 2004.

Ethnic Bashkirs And Tajik Immigrants Clash Over Drug Trafficking Allegations
Some 300 people were involved in a recent clash between local Bashkir and Tajik immigrants in the village of Iske Sobkhankol, in the Bozyan region of Bashkortostan, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 20 September. The conflict reportedly erupted after attempts by the immigrants to sell drugs in the region. The fight was ultimately broken up by the police's special-purpose detachment (OMON).

Famous Bashkir Poet Dies
Famous Bashkir poet Mostay Kerim died on the night of 20-21 September at the age of 85 from a heart attack, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 21 September. The author of many masterpieces of Bashkir literature, Kerim is also known as a World War II hero and a prominent public figure. His health was seriously impaired by his war wounds, and his life became more difficult after the recent death of his wife.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi