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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 18, 2004

18 May 2004
Bashkir President Discusses WTO-Related Industrial Regulations
President Mintimer Shaimiev met with the chairman of the Russian State Duma's economic policies, entrepreneurship, and tourism committee, Valerii Draganov, on 17 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. Topics included new rules for industrial standardization to be introduced in Russia within seven years in conjunction with the country's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In Kazan, Draganov also participated in an international conference on WTO technical regulations, Russian national interests, and expectations from entry to the WTO. The conference was organized by the Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry and the UN's European Economic Commission, and it involved representatives from 12 regions across the Russian Federation and within the Greater Volga economic association.

Kazan Resident Freed From Captivity In Iraq
Two Russian citizens employed by the Interenergoservis company and abducted in Iraq have been freed in the southern suburbs of Baghdad after a week in captivity, RIA-Novosti and Russian media reported on 17 May. Another Interenergoservis employee, 44-year-old Aleksei Konorev, was killed during the abduction. One of the two hostages, Andrei Mesheryakov, is a resident of Kazan who three years ago began seasonal work in Iraq. Mesheryakov's family is meanwhile still unaware of his whereabouts; the only information they have received has been television news.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Arbitration Court Head Under Investigation.
The office of Bashkortostan's Arbitration Court Chairman Fenil Safin was sealed up and put under guard on 14 May by federal law-enforcement agencies, "Kommersant" reported on 17 May. The Arbitration Court head is being investigated on corruption charges, the daily reported. Safin has legal immunity and an investigation against him can only be held with the consent of a special judicial commission.

Bashkir President Calls For Unbiased Investigation Into Officer's Death
President Murtaza Rakhimov appealed to Baltic Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Vladimir Valuev to take under personal control the investigation into the death of Bashkir officer Pavel Mardan who served on a torpedo-boat destroyer in Kaliningrad, "Kommersant" reported on 18 May, citing Rakhimov asked Valuev to ensure an unbiased investigation into the criminal case, adding that "those guilty of those crimes should be punished within the full strictness of the law." Mardan died on 4 April after rebuking a group of officers for drinking alcohol. Following the incident, Mardan was found dead with signs of beating on his body. In an appeal to President Rakhimov, Mardan's father said he had been told his son had died of epilepsy.

Truck Containing 700 Kilograms Of Narcotics Seized
Bashkir police have seized their biggest-ever narcotics haul, estimated to be worth between 100 million rubles ($3.5 million) and 500 million rubles, "Kommersant," RosBalt, and other news agencies reported. Over 36 kilograms of heroin and 696 kilograms of opium were found in Tuimazy Raion in a truck transporting cabbages that turned over in an accident. The detained drivers of the truck said they were delivering narcotics from Kazakhstan to Tolyatti's Tajik diaspora.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova