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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 2, 2004

2 July 2004
Audit Chamber Head, Members Appointed
Tatarstan's State Council on 1 June confirmed Aleksei Demidov, head of Alekseevskii Raion administration and deputy speaker in the previous State Council, as chairman of the Audit Chamber, Tatar media reported. The law on the Audit Chamber was passed by the parliament in June. Demidov was nominated by President Mintimer Shaimiev, who described him as an honest man of principle. Shaimiev and State Council speaker Farid Mukhametshin said they have no ties with Demidov, as is required by law. Ilnur Moberekov, Damir Shamgunov, and Sergei Kolodnikov were approved as chamber auditors, while Seriye Welieva became deputy chairwoman. All have worked in the Finance Ministry. Shaimiev said that the presidential Supervision Board is abolished with the formation of the Audit Chamber and all its functions are passed to the latter.

Businessman Sentenced To Prison For Delaying Wages
Businessman Aleksandr Novodvorskii, former head of a privately owned housing and municipal-services company in Kazan's Moscow Raion, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for failure to pay wages on time, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 1 June. Novodvorskii was sued by employees of his company whom he owed 350,000 rubles in back wages. An assistant to Moscow Raion prosecutor Airat Ekhmetshin, who demanded a two-year sentence, told the daily that he is satisfied that the businessman was sentenced to a real, not conditional term.

Muslim Women Fight Against Obscene Ads
Tatarstan's Union of Muslim Women appealed to Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov to remove obscene street advertisements, reported on 1 July. The activists demand that ads featuring naked women be removed from the streets and a special body on supervision of morality in advertising be formed.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Kazakh President Visits Ufa
Tatarstan and Bashkortostan will take on the leading role in developing relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said on 1 July while visiting Ufa, RosBalt reported the same day. Nazarbaev said the two Russian republics and Kazakhstan have common Turkic origin, similar economies, agriculture, and cultures, adding that "all this should promote developing relations between Russia and Kazakhstan." He also called for removing mediating structures between subjects of economic activities of Russian regions and Kazakhstan. Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said he is not satisfied with the volume of trade between Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan and said he pins his hopes on the visit of Nazarbaev to Ufa and a new intergovernmental agreement between Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, which was discussed during Putin's visit to Astana.

At their meeting the same day, Rakhimov and Nazarbaev agreed on the opening of a Bashkir representation in Astana. The leaders also reached agreement on deliveries of Kazakh petrochemicals to Bashkir oil refineries, joint production of fertilizers, and taking environmental measures to increase agricultural fertility.

Journalists in Bashkortostan were not given any opportunity to meet with President Nazarbaev and ask him questions, though permission was granted to some journalists questions prepared several days before the visit, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 1 July.

Relatives Of 30 Air-Crash Victims Appeal To U.S., Spanish Courts
American lawyer Gustavo E. Fuentes appealed to courts in the United States and Spain on behalf of 30 families of victims of the July 2002 midair collision over Lake Constance, Germany, RosBalt reported on 1 July, citing Zolfet Khammatov, a representative of the families. Khammatov said, "Our main aim is not to obtain maximum compensation for damages but to punish those guilty." He added that 30 families did not agree with the proposal by Skyguide to pay $150,000 for each victim. "We consider the size of payment as the degree of recognition of the guilt by Swiss air-traffic controllers so we think the sums of compensation should be determined by a court," Khammatov said. Fuentes said Spanish or U.S. courts will be able to provide maximum compensation and added that all the compensation figures proposed by Skyguide are "unacceptable."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova