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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 5, 2004

5 May 2004
Government Officials Tour The Countryside
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov visited rural areas of Tatarstan's Kama region on 4-5 May, accompanied by Agriculture Minister Marat Akhmetov and Ayrat Kheirullin, a State Duma deputy representing Tatarstan, deputy chairman of the Duma committee on agriculture, and chairman of the Krasnii Vostok brewery, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 5 May. During the trip, Minnikhanov praised the brewery, one of Tatarstan's major taxpayers, for investing in new barley and cattle farms.

Tatar parliamentary speaker Farid Mukhametshin spent his May Day holiday touring rural areas in the southeast of the republic, where he attended a meeting held by Agriculture Minister Akhmetov, discussing the need to take advantage of the spring weather to plow as much land as possible. At the meeting, local collective-farm directors raised the traditional issue of the lack of agricultural machinery fuel and motor oil, as well as fertilizer.

Telephone Networks To Grow By Some 40 Percent In 2004
Communications Minister Marat Zalyalov told reporters on 4 May that in 2004 the republic's communications sector will receive no less than 2 billion rubles ($69 million) in investments, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 5 May. In addition to the current 1 million landline network users and 1 million of cellular network users, Tatarstan expects to have 175,000 more landline connections and 585,000 new mobile-phone users. By Kazan's millennium celebrations in 2005, the penetration of landline networks is expected to reach 100 percent in Tatarstan's capital and 26 connections per 100 people in Tatarstan. Current mobile-phone penetration in Tatarstan is reported at 25.1 percent.

World War II Veterans To Get Free Phone Calls On Victory Day
On the day before and on Victory Day in Tatarstan, the republic's Tattelekom will allow World War II veterans and those who worked for victory on the home front to make free intercity and international phone calls to greet fellow veterans, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. However, the calls are not to exceed a total duration of 10 minutes per veteran. Veterans will also get a 20 percent discount for sending telegrams inside Russia.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Memorial To People Killed In Air Crash Opens In Ueberlingen
A monument to victims of the 1 July 2002 air crash over Lake Constance opened on 3 May in the Ueberlingen region of Germany, reported the same day, citing NTV. A delegation of over 60 Bashkir residents who lost relatives in the accident took part in the ceremony. The event was initiated by the authorities in Ueberlingen. Over 130 German and Bashkir artists, sculptors, and designers took part in the competition for the monument, which was won by an Ueberlingen native, Andrea Tzaumzail. The sculpture, featuring a torn necklace of 71 pearls, was erected where the biggest piece of the Bashkir Airlines jet was found. The crash killed 71 people. A personal photo exhibition of Bashkir photographer Ramil Kilmemetov also opened in Branhenroit and trees were planted in memory of the victims.

Yulaev's Role In Bashkir History Revisited
Changing views on the role in Russian history of Yemelyan Pugachev, the leader of a peasant revolt, has led to a revision of the role of Salawat Yulaev, a Bashkir national hero and Pugachev's comrade-in-arms, in the run-up to his 250th anniversary in July, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 4 May. While during the Soviet period Pugachev was considered a hero fighting against tsarism, which oppressed ordinary people, now he is believed to be a gangster who pillaged cities, towns, and people. On 24 April, "Respublika Bashkortostan" wrote that the participation of Bashkirs under the leadership of Yulaev in Pugachev's rebellion resulted in great misfortune for the Bashkir people, as after the rebellion was suppressed, a lot of Bashkir villages were annihilated and many Bashkirs, including children, were killed.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova