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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 21, 2004

21 July 2004
Growing Crime Rates Are Explained By Increasing Vigilance Of Police
Speaking at a 20 July ministerial meeting, Interior Minister Esget Seferov said there has been a general 20 percent increase in crime rates across the republic this year, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Seferov commented on the growing crime statistics by saying that the numbers indicate extra police vigilance and the fact that police are no longer concealing or misreporting crimes. However, the republic's police were praised for managing to detect and prevent an unprecedented amount of financial crimes, which could have cost the republican budget some $16 million. More than 30 percent of that amount has already been paid back to the state. As for the campaign against organized crime in Tatarstan, within the first six months of 2004 police investigated some 5,000 felonies committed by mafia groups and jailed 300 mafia leaders.

Kazan Orthodox Church Begins Preparations For Return Of Icon
Following the recent announcement that the Vatican will return the Mother of God of Kazan icon to Russia during a 28 August ceremony, the Kazan eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church held a religious procession on the streets of the Tatar capital on 21 July, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. The icon is 425 years old this year.

Shaimiev Meets With Yemeni Ambassador
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met with Yemeni Ambassador to Russia Abdulwahhab al-Rawhani on 20 July in Kazan to discuss mutual cooperation, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Shaimiev suggested that Tatarstan's industries could assist Yemen in exploring and extracting its oil. The men also discussed their experiences in ensuring the interconfessional concord in societies where Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims co-exist together.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Salavat Yulaev Days To Become Annual Event
President Murtaza Rakhimov signed a decree making the commemoration of Bashkir national hero Salavat Yulaev an annual June event, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 21 July. Rakhimov obliged the cabinet to prepare a list of annual activities in connection with the event. Bashkortostan made much of this year's celebration of the 250th anniversary of the 18th-century peasant war leader's birth. Yulaev was caught by tsarist authorities in November 1774 and was exiled until his death in 1800.

Transcontinental Blimp Flight To Make A Stop In Ufa
Ufa is expected to briefly host what is billed as the largest airship in the world in late July with a stopover of the "Zeppelin New Technology" -- which is traveling from Germany to Japan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the historical flight of the "Duke Zeppelin" airship in 1929, Bashinform reported on 20 July. The "Zeppelin New Technology" has already overflown Europe and St. Petersburg.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi