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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 3, 2004

3 June 2004
Shaimiev: Moscow Wants To Shift Social-Security Burden Onto Regions
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, who attended a recent session of the State Council in Moscow that discussed sharing power with the regions (see "RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 June 2004), told reporters on 2 June that the federal government is planning to hand over responsibility for 60 percent of those receiving social support to regional authorities. The other 40 percent of beneficiaries, comprising World War II veterans and disabled, will have their social compensations paid directly from Moscow.

Shaimiev said he doubted that all of the regions will be able to afford the additional expenditures, which would mean more financial pressure on the regions that contribute more to the center than they receive, such as Tatarstan.

Conference Discusses Civil Development In Multiethnic Societies
The Carnegie Foundation and the Kazan Institute of Federalism Studies held a conference on 2 June dedicated to building a civil society in multiethnic and multiconfessional regions, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Kazan State University professor Galina Morozova told the conference that according to public-opinion surveys, Tatarstan's youth has little confidence in governmental bodies in general, while in comparison with Moscow, young people have more confidence in regional authorities because they regard it as "closer and easier to understand." Morozova's report also mentioned that modern Russian society is heading toward authoritarian rule rather than a democratic state.

Bashkir professor Rushan Gallyamov told the same conference that in his opinion, both Tatarstan's and Bashkortostan's political leaders, researchers, and ethnic organizations have to take the first steps towards resolving the situation with Tatar rights in Bashkortostan, "without waiting for the permission of federal government."

Presidents Of Tatarstan, Buryatia Meet In Kazan
President Shaimiev met with his counterpart from Buryatia Republic Leonid Potapov in Kazan on 2 May, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. After the closed-door meeting, Shaimiev told the media that "lately we have been putting lots of effort into establishing scientific and economic ties with foreign countries, often forgetting about Russia's regions." He emphasized that it was necessary for the regions to develop deeper integration and learn more about each other's potential., though he added that such integration had to be combined with, rather than replace, the development of foreign economic affairs.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

150 Employees Protest In Durtoile
One-hundred-fifty employees of the Tang public catering and entertainment company are picketing for three days in Durtoile to protest the company's closure, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 June. Twenty to 30 employees are taking part in the picket every day. Company head Rinat Sekhibjatin said the protest is not aimed at the company's management but raion authorities, who, according to him, are exerting pressure on the company. Sekhibjatin said the authorities disconnected the company's energy supply on the orders of the head of the Durtoile administration for alleged violations. A regional court is scheduled to hear those allegations on 15 June.

Bashkortostan, Orenburg Oblast To Boost Ties
A five-year agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical, social, and cultural cooperation between Bashkortostan and Orenburg Oblast was signed during a visit of a Bashkir delegation headed by Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov to Orenburg on 2 June, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent and Bashinform reported the same day. The delegation met with oblast Governor Aleksei Chernyshev. Bilateral trade turnover has increased fourfold in the past five years to 3 billion rubles ($103.6 million). Orenburg Oblast is Bashkortostan's ninth-largest trading partner among Russia's entities. Small businesses, joint investment projects, scientific research, diversifying industrial production, training managers and teachers, direct ties between medical care institutions, and environmental monitoring were listed as priority areas of cooperation.

Police Officers Accused Of Kidnapping...
Two Chelyabinsk police officers have been detained in Ufa accused of extortion and kidnapping, Novyi region (Chelyabinsk) and RosBalt reported on 1 and 2 June, respectively. Andrei Gantsev, the head of Bashkortostan's prosecutor's office, told RosBalt that police officers illegally detained an Ufa resident, kept him in Chelyabinsk for three days, and demanded that 167,000 rubles ($5,743) be paid in ransom. The Ufa Kirov Raion court has ruled that the employees must be kept in custody. On 30 May, the captive was freed during a special operation by the Bashkir Interior Ministry's Anti-Organized Crime Board.

�Convicted Of Murder
The Bashkir Supreme Court has sentenced a former police detective Ruslan Lotfullin to seven years imprisonment for murder, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 June. Last year, Lotfullin shot dead a 21-year-old businessman in his office. Following the murder, Lotfullin put a hunting knife into the victim's hand and said he was defending himself against assault. The court reduced Lotfullin's punishment taking into account his good service in Chechnya.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova