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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 27, 2004

27 April 2004
Furor Continues Over Roman Catholic Church Project In Kazan
Tensions are increasing between Old Believers and Catholics in Kazan over a Catholic church due to be constructed next to an Old Believers church, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 26 April. The daily quoted the Reverend Ariel Alvares as saying that the Roman Catholic Church has big plans for the construction of churches throughout the republic. The site on which the Catholic church will be erected was sanctified in October with the participation of the papal nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini. "This is only beginning, [and we] will construct more churches here in Kazan and in all of Tatarstan," he said. The Catholic parish in Kazan currently unites about 150 parishioners, some 100 of whom attend regular services.

Old Believers have repeatedly appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev demanding that another location be chosen for the Catholic church. The authorities in Kazan have responded by saying the construction of the church does not contravene the law.

Scientific Forum On Tatar History Held In U.S.
A seminar devoted to Tatar history was held on 24 April at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, reported on 26 April, citing Tatarstan's permanent representation to the United States. Participants presented papers on the cultural and historical effects of Genghis Khan's conquest of Eurasia; the cultural, historical, and architectural legacy of Islam; the coexistence of the Tatar and Russian cultures in Siberia and Central Asia; the history of the Kazan khanate; and modern Tatarstan and Kazan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Appoints Representative To Turkey
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov signed a decree appointing Kanshaubii Miziev head of the recently established Bashkir representation in Istanbul, Rosbalt reported on 26 April. Miziev, 53, has been working at Bashkortostan's Ministry of Foreign Economic Affairs and Trade in Turkey since 1997. In August 2003, Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov received official permission from the Turkish government to open a representation in that country. Bashkortostan and Turkey signed a treaty on trade, economic, and technical cooperation in June 1996.

Bashkirenergo Shareholders To Convene In Late May
Bashkirenergo's shareholders will elect a new directors board on 25 May, the company's press service announced on 26 April. Shareholders will discuss the energy company's economic performance, distribution of profits, and payment of dividends according to shares. Bashkirenergo's directors board, chaired by President Rakhimov's son Ural, will advise shareholders to use 87 percent of the $14 million profits to pay dividends and retain the remaining 13 percent in a reserve fund. Bashkortostan's electricity and heating consumers currently owe Bashkirenergo $157 million for consumed energy. The major 33.6 percent shares package is owned by the Bashkirskii Kapital private company, Russia's Unified Energy Systems has a 22.29 percent stake, individual shareholders own 12 percent, Bashneft oil company and Ufa oil refinery own 7.6 and 7.5 percent of shares respectively.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi