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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 20, 2004

20 February 2004
Kurgan Military Unit To Pay Compensation To Mother Of Dead Soldier
A Shadrinsk military unit in the Kurgan Oblast will pay Tatarstan resident Tamara Weliullina 70,000 rubles ($2,456) in compensation for the death of her son Rinat Weliullin, Regnum reported on 18 February. On 2 April 2002, 18-year-old Weliullin, who was called up on 3 December 2001 and was serving at the Shadrinsk military unit, was found dead. The unit's command informed Weliullina that her son had committed suicide. Evidence gathered by Weliullina, however, suggested that her son had been beaten and she appealed to the Shadrinsk Raion court. The court ordered the military unit to pay compensation to Weliullina.

Tatar Delegation Visits Bangladesh
A Tatar delegation headed by Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov has visited Bangladesh, the ministry's press service reported on 19 February. The visit was aimed at promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation, including the organization of deliveries of KamAZ trucks, petrochemical production, and helicopters to Bangladesh. The delegation met with the trade minister and had meetings at the Power Engineering Ministry and the Bangladeshi Trade and Industry Chamber. The participation of the energy concern Tatneft in a tender on prospecting and producing oil and gas in Bangladesh was also on the agenda. A working group was formed to promote deliveries of tea, frozen products, drugs, and clothes to Tatarstan and of gas meters and KamAZ-produced engines to Bangladesh.

KamAZ Increases Presence On Kazakh Market
KamAZ dominates some 60 percent of Kazakhstan's automobile market, NTA Privolzhe reported on 19 February. Sales of KamAZ vehicles doubled in 2003 in comparison with the previous year, while sales of KamAZ-produced spare parts increased by 70 percent. At a meeting of the automobile consortium Kazakhstan-KamAZ in Astana on 18 February, it was reported that in 2003 the Alma-Ata Isker company assembled over 200 KamAZ trucks.

U.S. Communications, IT Companies Establish Ties With Tatar Firms
Leading U.S. communications and IT companies, including Sun Microsystems, Corning, Harris, Motorola, Paradyne, Oracle, and AESP, held a presentation on 19 February at the Tatar Communications Ministry, reported. The companies presented information about their latest technological innovations. The measure was initiated by the Communications Ministry and organized by the trade representation of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

World Bashkir Congress Executive Says Repatriation Of Ethnic Bashkirs Should Be Encouraged
Ekhmet Soleimenov, chief executive of the World Bashkir Congress, on 19 February said he believes Bashkortostan should encourage the repatriation of ethnic Bashkirs living elsewhere in the Russian Federation, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported. He explained that "many Bashkirs are spread across vast territories, where they went to become oil and petrochemical industry workers." According to Soleimenov, their repatriation to the republic is key to preserving its "ethnic balance and preventing the dissolution of Bashkirs" by other ethnic groups. "If we are so hospitable to people from the Caucasus and the CIS republics, why shouldn't we open our doors to our brothers?"

International Observers To Monitor March Elections In Bashkortostan...
OSCE election monitors Charles Magie and Erica Lundstrem are currently visiting Bashkortostan to observe the current campaigns for the 14 March Russian presidential election and those for regional and municipal-assembly polls, RosBalt reported on 19 February. On the eve of the vote, the OSCE and the CIS Executive Committee will send additional monitors to Bashkortostan.

...Which Are To Cost $4 Million
The federal budget will allocate 112 million rubles ($4 million) for holding the Russian presidential poll and elections for municipal and regional assemblies in Bashkortostan, Bashinform quoted republican Central Election Commission Chairman Baryi Kinjegulov as saying on 19 February. Some $2.5 million of that money will be spent on the first round of the presidential election, of which 65 percent will be used to pay the salaries of members of local-election commissions. The 14 March elections are expected to cost the federal budget 4.3 billion rubles ($153.5 million).

Parliament Votes To Retain Procedure Of Appointing Regional-Administration Heads...
Bashkortostan's State Assembly on 19 February voted to suspend the newly adopted law on local state government, which allows for the election of regional- and municipal-administration heads instead of by presidential decree. Bashkir parliamentary speaker Konstantin Tolkachev explained before the vote that federal law taking effect as of 2006 allows the regions to suspend the reform until that year.

...And Replaces Bashkir Government's Representative To Federation Council
Also on 19 February, the State Assembly approved President Murtaza Rakhimov's resolution appointing Radik Iskujin as his representative in the Russian Federation Council, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Iskujin, 53, replaces Aleksandr Yakubov, who held the position since 2001. Iskujin is an ethnic Bashkir and decorated KGB officer who has worked for Gazprom, Transneft, and Mashinoimport, and has served since 2003 as an adviser to the secretary of Unified Russia's General Council.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi