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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 3, 2004

3 May 2004
Trade Unions, Unified Russia Hold Joint May Day Activities...
Some 3,000 people participated in the May Day parade and rally on 1 May Square in front of the Kazan Kremlin, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 3 May. The participants in the 1 May rally demanded higher wages for industrial workers. Trade Unions Federation Chairwoman Tatyana Vodopyanova and Labor and Employment Minister Boris Zakharov, the head of Unified Russia's executive committee in Tatarstan, spoke at the rally about the need to raise the minimum wage and to improve social benefits. They also criticized recent rent hikes and the ending of traditional state benefits such as the provision of summer camp for children.

...As Opposition Parties Fail To Find Common Language
Also on 1 May, representative from the local branches of the opposition Communist Party and Russia's Party of Life gathered for a short meeting near the Geliesker Qamal Tatar Drama Theater in Kazan to promote workers' rights, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 3 May. The parties' representative expressed opposing views regarding Moscow's social policies, with the Communists accusing the federal government of carrying out a genocide against its own people and the Party of Life focusing in general on the importance of worker solidarity. The subsequent march to Freedom Square for another protest rally and a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument to Vladimir Lenin attracted a much smaller crowd than anticipated by Communist Party officials.

Communists March Alone In Chally
In Tatarstan's second city of Chally, separate May Day rallies were held by the local Unified Russia branch, trade unions, and the Communist Party, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 3 May. Unified Russia's event culminated in a holiday concert, while the Communists and trade-union representatives gathered in different locations near the KamAZ Culture House. However, the Communists were the only group to hold a march.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Monument To Air Crash Victims Opens In Germany
Over 60 people who lost relatives in the 1 July 2002 midair collision in southern Germany left Bashkortostan for Germany on 2 May to take part in a ceremony unveiling a monument in Ueberlingen commemorating the crash victims, Radio Rossii reported on 2 May. The delegation is headed by Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov.

The director of the Air Accidents Investigation Department, Wilfried Schultze, said the final report on the investigation of the collision will be published in Germany on 17-23 May, RIA-Novosti reported on 30 April. Schultze said that less than two years after an accident is considered by experts to be a short term in which to finish an investigation. The aim of the investigation was to determine if there were any technical reasons for the collision between the Bashkir Airlines' Tu-154 and DHL's Boeing 757 that claimed 71 lives, most of them children from Bashkortostan.

Tatar Leaders To Appeal To Strasbourg Court On Tatar-Language Issue...
The notion of filing an appeal with the Strasbourg Human Rights Court on the issue of elevating the status of the Tatar language in Bashkortostan was on the agenda of a meeting of the council of Bashkortostan's Tatar civic groups on 30 April, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Recently, a group of Bashkir scholars from Bashkortostan's History, Language, and Literature Institute sent an appeal to the Bashkir presidential administration to oppose raising the status of Tatar in Bashkortostan to a state or official one.

Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center head, Airat Gyinietullin, said at the meeting that participants will also prepare an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to inform him about the persecution in Bashkortostan of people who backed President Murtaza Rakhimov's rivals in the December presidential elections.

...Promote Opening A Representative Office Of Tatarstan In Ufa
A group of Bashkortostan's Tatar civic leaders adopted an appeal to Tatarstan's leadership to open a representative office in Bashkortostan, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 May. In the document, the authors cite numerous allegations of violations of the rights of Tatars living in Bashkortostan and call for the immediate opening of such a mission in the republic. The deputy head of the Tatar Unity Association, Damir Sherefetdinov, said a group of leaders from Bashkortostan's Tatars have sent the appeal to the Tatar presidential administration.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova