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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 7, 2004

7 April 2004
Chally Lack Funds For Innovations Workshops
Chally Deputy Mayor Gulnaz Kayrova told Kama-Press on 6 April that "only a venture fund could help" launch the "Technopolis" innovations workshop at the KamAZ automotive concern, the agency reported. According to Tatarstan's innovations-development plans, "Technolopolis" should boost the development of small, innovations-based enterprises. Chally-registered universities have spent just $200,000 on practical research in the last two years, while the city's industrial production is reportedly $1.6 billion per year.

Interior Minister Touts Planned Memorial Complex
Tatarstan's Interior Ministry will erect a memorial complex to fallen law-enforcement officers that includes a mosque and an Orthodox Christian church near its main building in the Black Lake area of downtown Kazan, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 7 April. The complex should be completed ahead of Kazan's millennial celebrations in 2005 and will cost an estimated $1.4 million. The daily emphasized that $94,000 in construction expenses will be covered by donations raised among police officers. Interior Minister Esget Seferov said through the ministry's press service that the memorial complex will give subordinates an opportunity to pray for fellow servicemen who fell in the line of duty. He added that an "absence of any ideology within the last decade complicates our work with staff. People have to believe in something, in the law and in the Lord. There's nothing wrong with a person belonging to this or that religion."

Minister Seferov ensured that police officers' donations were made voluntarily, according to "Vechernyaya Kazan." An unnamed officer serving in Tatarstan's Interior Ministry had claimed in a human rights program by RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service on 28 March that ministry officials were told that they should donate three days' wages to the memorial project or else quit their jobs. Moreover, some non-Muslim officers were reportedly bewildered at being forced to donate to the construction of a mosque because they were unaware the complex would include both a mosque and an Orthodox church.

Court Grants Former 'K-19' Sailor's Compensation Claim
A Tuben Kama city court upheld a workers' compensation claim by retired navy sailor Aleksandr Shashabrin, who had filed a suit against the local offices of Tatarstan's Social Security Ministry. The ministry was ordered to pay Shashabrin 250,000 rubles ($8,800) in for adverse effects on his health stemming from work cleaning up the effects of a nuclear accident aboard the "K-19" Soviet submarine near the U.S. maritime border on 4 July 1961. Shashabrin was subsequently diagnosed with radiation sickness. In 1994, the former sailor was officially acknowledged as disabled and received a special pension until May 2000. The compensation award will supplement Shashabrin's roughly 5,000 ruble ($175) monthly pension.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ufa Bread Producers Found Guilty Of Price Collusion
The Russian Antimonopoly Ministry's Bashkir board ruled on 6 April that Ufa's major bread producers conducted "actions aimed at settling and maintaining increased prices for main types of bread," Bashinform and RosBalt reported the same day. The board came to its conclusion after investigating allegations that those companies violated antitrust legislation. The board revealed that Ufa's three largest bread-producing companies, which control 65 percent of the city market, raised bread prices simultaneously on 20 March. In the summer, the same companies were also deemed to have colluded over wholesale prices. The facts provide evidence of "agreed actions" of the companies and represent a violation of federal law on competition and restrictions for monopoly activities on trade markets, the watchdog found. The body ordered the companies to reduce wholesale bread prices to previous levels. Bread prices have grown by 30 percent so far this year despite the fact that Bashkortostan produced Russia's third-largest grain harvest (4.2 million tons), with 660,000 tons sent to the republican grain fund. The republic estimates its requirement at 520,000 tons of grain a year. The government has repeatedly criticized rises in bread prices as unjustified.

Bashkir Authorities Work To Combat Illegal Immigration
Seventy-five foreign nationals will be deported from Bashkortostan following the recently concluded Operation Illegal Migrant, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Ufa on 6 April. The Bashkir Interior Ministry's head of migration affairs, Rim Kerimov, said the operation was aimed at the legalization of illegal migrants, rather than their repatriation. The results reportedly suggested a high number of violations by Tajik, Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Uzbek citizens. Many of the companies violating migration laws in Bashkortostan operate in the construction sector, officials suggested.

Tuimazy Raion Head Fired
Tuimazy Raion administration head Rim Khemzin has been dismissed from his position, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Ufa on 5 April. Unidentified experts suggested that former LUKoil Vice President Relif Safin's first-round victory in December's presidential election in Tuimazy Raion is behind the move.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova