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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 12, 2005

12 October 2005
Federal Ministry Promotes 'Consolidating Role' Of Ethnic Russians
A draft revision of Russia's ethnic policies concept is based on the concept of "forming a single multiethnic community with the consolidating role of Russian people," "Kommersant" wrote on 11 October. Russia's Regional Development Ministry, which elaborated the draft, would need some 10 million rubles ($357 million) to implement the concept. The new draft reportedly represents principal changes from the existing ethnic-policy concept, which has been elaborated by the ministries of regional development, culture, education, finance, foreign affairs, and justice since 1998.

Tatarstan presidential adviser Refeil Khekimov, interviewed by "Kommersant," said the provision on the "consolidating role of Russian people" raised his suspicions and "resembles a bit of 'Big Brother.'" He reportedly would object to the provision if it "only implied gratefulness to Russians." Khekimov warned that the provision could develop into some sort of superior status for one language as over others in Russia and thus have "grave political consequences in Tatarstan."

Parliament Considers Budget
Tatarstan's State Council began consideration of a draft republican budget on 11 October, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The wider public, along with members of the Tatar parliament, will be invited to discuss the draft, which is available on the State Council's website ( The draft requires three readings in the parliament and must be approved by the president.

Meanwhile, the republic's budget revenues are expected to total 58.8 billion rubles, which represents an amount 23.6 percent higher than the one initially planned. According to Finance Minister Radik Giyzatullin, cited by AK&M on 11 October, the extra budget revenues were gained from federal subventions related to the program of Tatarstan's socio-economic development in 2001-2006 and the preparations for Kazan millennium anniversary celebrations.

Fradkov Effectively Freezes KamAZ Privatization
The fact that KamAZ automotive concern was included on a list of companies of strategic federal importance means at least a delay in its privatization and planned listing on the London Stock exchange, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 12 October, citing international and Russian media. The list of strategic companies was recently drafted by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and must still be endorsed by President Vladimir Putin, but analysts already consider the plans to privatize KamAZ to be effectively halted. Prior to that, Minister of Trade and Economic Development German Gref had announced that the government would propose selling the state-owned stake (34.1 percent) on the London stock exchange, rather than in Russia, to ensure the most profitable sale possible. More than 17 percent of shares are owned by state-owned Vneshtorgbank, 11.2 percent by the Republic of Tatarstan, while more than 40 percent of shares are held by private investors, including foreign companies. The fact that KamAZ will be on the strategic list of companies suggests continued state support for the company, which is considered one of the republic's major industries and a boost for the republic's second city Chally.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan Marks Anniversary Of Sovereignty Declaration
Bashkortostan celebrated Republic Day on 11 October, marking the 15th anniversary of the adoption of its declaration of sovereignty, an RFE/RL correspondent reported the same day. Republican President Murtaza Rakhimov told citizens that the course chosen by the republic has resulted in the "preservation of the republic's strong potential, production growth that has now been taking place for seven years, raising living standards of the population, stability and concord in the society."

Meanwhile, republican outlets published articles marking the jubilee in which many suggested the idea of sovereignty has been expelled from public life. Philosophy professor Fenil Feizullin said restrictions on sovereignty lead to restrictions on the federation itself.

Bashkortostan Prosecutor Criticizes Interior Ministry
In an interview with "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" on 12 October, Bashkortostan Prosecutor Aleksandr Konovalov expressed bewilderment at the fact that Blagoveshchensk city interior directorate head Ildar Ramazanov, who is one of the interior employees being sued over the controversial December Blagoveshchensk raids (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, 7, 10-14, and 17-21 January 2005), has not been dismissed from his post.

Commenting on the case against republican opposition leader Airat Dilmokhemmetov (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 16 September 2005), Konovalov denied allegations by opposition representatives that Dilmokhemmetov is being persecuted for political reasons and that prosecutors are thus carrying out political orders.

Audit Chamber Head Dissatisfied With Group's Activities
Bashkortostan Audit Chamber Chairman Petr Bobylev told "Moskovskii komsomolets v Ufe" on 12 October that the chamber is operating inefficiently. He said the chamber has sent 59 cases to law-enforcement bodies so far this year leading to 31 criminal cases being filed; 17 have gone to court, nine verdicts have been issued, and six people have been convicted. Bobylev said law-enforcement agencies have little chance of adequately investigating complicated economic crimes. He sited an audit of the Culture and National Policy Ministry that revealed that 17 million rubles ($595,000) from the republican budget had disappeared. It is still unclear where the money ended up, Bobylev said. The sum was a part of 30 million rubles the ministry transferred to a company registered in Buryatia under the contract, in which neither the contract's terms nor its conditions were fixed. The document was signed by then Culture Minister Khelef Ishmoratov, Bobylev said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova