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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 13, 2004

13 January 2004
Unified Russia Yet To Reveal Candidate List For Tatar Parliament
So far 118 candidates have applied for registration to run in 50 single-mandate districts across the republic in March 2004 parliamentary elections, "Vechernyaya Kazan" wrote on 13 January. The Ibragimov district of Kazan is reported to have the highest competition with 15 registered candidates; Tatarstan's second city Chally is also mentioned among the most crowded areas with five or six candidates running in each district. In five rural voting districts in Tatarstan there still has not been a single candidate seeking official registration. As for the 50 seats to be distributed among political parties, 22 have been claimed by the Party of Life, 41 by the Communist Party, and nine by the Russian Communist Working Party-Russian Party of Communists. The aforementioned parties are also said to have proposed respectively 23, 27, and 20 representatives for single-mandate districts. Nonetheless, the local branch of the Kremlin-backed Unified Russia party, which is considered to be the major political force in the region but has not yet submitted its candidates list, despite having already held a party conference discussing the list on 10 January.

Crimean Tatars Push For Using Historical Names
The Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar parliament, has appealed to Ukraine's parliament suggesting that a special commission should be set up to restore the historical Crimean place names, inhabited by Tatars before the mass deportations of 1944, Rosbalt reported on 12 January. Mejlis chairman Mustafa Jemilev told reporters that it was important to give the places their original names -- to locations renamed not only after but also before the deportation, as there "were many silly things done before 1944." Within the last decade, the ancestors of deported Crimean Tatars have undertaken efforts to return to their motherland and have made numerous claims on plots of land there.

Moscow Linguist Says Kashapov Arrest Was Ungrounded
Irina Levontina, a linguist from the Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, testified before the Chally city court on 12 January that leaflets found in the apartment of the local Tatar Public Center (TIU) leader Refis Kashapov contain no incitements of interethnic or interconfessional hatred, Kama-press reported the same day. Invited to the court session by Kashapov's defense team, Levontina said that the leaflets called for the peaceful resolution of existing conflicts. Levontina disagreed with the earlier statements by Kazan State University linguists, whose assessments of the controversial leaflets led to Kashapov's arrest.

Kazan Plant Wins Major Contract From Russian Military
The Elekon electronics plant in Kazan has won a Russian Defense Ministry tender to produce three types of connecting adapters for modern military machines, Tatar-inform reported on 12 January. According to local sources, the connectors, worth several hundred thousand dollars, will be used for Russian air-defense rockets.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Prominent Businessman Killed In Ufa
Bashkir Electronic Telephone Association (BETO) General Director Vladimir Gavrilov died on 12 January after being assaulted on 10 January, Bashinform, RosBalt, and other news agencies reported on 12 January. Gavrilov, 54, who was shot in the chest on a staircase on the threshold of his apartment, was hospitalized the same day and underwent surgery. A pistol and cartridges were found on the site. Police employees have detained a director of the Frisko company, who is accused of the murder, Interfax reported. BETO is one of Bashkortostan's largest companies; the Chinese-Russian joint venture BETO-Huawei produces cellular telephone equipment. During Soviet times, Gavrilov worked in Communist Party bodies, headed the Industry, Transport, and Communications Department at the Bashkir Soviet Cabinet of Ministers and the State Committee on Management of State Property.

New President At Bashkir Academy Of Sciences
The Bashkir Academy of Sciences (BFA) elected Marat Ilhamov as its new president at its general meeting on 9 January, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 12 January. Ilhamov, a 69-year-old ethnic Bashkir, who is also a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, replaced Robert Nigmetullin, a 63-year-old ethnic Tatar, also a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who has headed the BFA since 1993. Nigmetullin said he left the post on the orders of the Bashkir president. Nigmetullin, who was a deputy in the previous State Duma, ran for Bashkir president in the December 2003 elections. While in the Duma, Nigmetullin, who is a brother of Russian Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Bulat Nigmetullin, strongly lobbied for legislation permitting the import of spent nuclear fuel into Russia.

Moscow Transferred 1.2 Billion Rubles To Ufa In 2003
In 2003, Bashkortostan received 1.2 billion rubles ($41.6 million) in capital investments from the federal budget, Bashinform reported on 12 January. The money was spent on the construction, reconstruction, and purchase of equipment for 94 companies included in the federal program on Bashkortostan's socioeconomic development through 2006. For its part, the republican budget allocated 4.3 billion rubles for those companies. Specifically, 1.8 billion rubles was allocated for a polyethylene plant and 450 million rubles for the Yumaguzy water reserve. Some 329.3 million rubles was spent on health-care, 425 million on education, and over 381 million on physical education and sports.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova