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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 26, 2004

26 July 2004
Shaimiev's Spokesman Denies Rumors Of President's Early Retirement
Airat Zaripov, spokesman for Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, told reporters on 24 July that the recent publication at claiming that "according to reliable sources, [the Kremlin] has demanded the president's early retirement" before the end of his term in 2006 is "absolute nonsense which has no basis." Meanwhile, speculated that a new presidential election may be held in December.

According to RFE/RL's Kazan bureau, during his second and currently third terms in office, Shaimiev was often rumored to be heading for early retirement and preparing to name a successor, following the example of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Tatar Khans Mausoleum To Be Left Untouched
The National Archeological Research Center of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences' History Institute discovered a 15th-16th century mausoleum of Kazan's khans, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 26 July.

According to Airat Sitdikov, the head of the archeological research group, two of the six khan graves were destroyed when a drain system was built in the 19th century. The four remaining graves near the Soyumbike tower were established to be from the Gerey dynasty and the researchers decided not to open them because of the delicate construction material in the mausoleum's walls, the fact that it is impossible to identify the Gerey khans, and for ethical reasons.

The mausoleum was first discovered by the prominent historian, Kazan State University Professor Alfred Khalikov, in the 1970s, but Soviet authorities froze any work from taking place on the archeological project.

Europe's Human Rights Commissioner In Kazan
Alvaro Gil-Robles, Human Rights Commissioner for the Council of Europe, and Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the Russian presidential commission on human rights, met in Kazan on 25 July with the heads of Tatarstan's nongovernmental organizations and local ethnic communities, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. They discussed the situation regarding civil rights in the republic as well as current mechanisms for protecting human rights.

Also on 25 July, Gil-Robles visited the Kazan-based Islamic University and the Orthodox Christian Raifa monastery near the Tatar capital to learn more about interconfessional relations in the republic. Today, the commissioner will meet with President Shaimiev and high-ranking officials in republican law-enforcement bodies.

Tatneft Presents Results Of Oil Deposit Research In Iran
The Tatneft oil company finished a $700,000 deal to do seismic research and make a comprehensive report on the Mond oil deposit in Iran, which will help boost the efficiency of the current wells, "Neftyanik Tatarstana" weekly wrote on 24 July.

The field work, which was directed by the Tatar oil company, was in fact done by the Geoakustik research venture in Moscow.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Police Get Mobile Phones In Lieu Of Radios
The local administration of Uchali in northeast Bashkortostan presented district police officers with 11 mobile telephones at least in part because the police budget is short of funds for radio communications, Bashinform reported on 24 July. The agency suggested that citizens of Uchali "are delighted" at the administration's eagerness to solve material shortcomings concerning the police.

But an unnamed official within the raion administration said that, on the contrary, the lack of funding for Bashkir law enforcement has effectively rendered it to the status of a servant to local administrations across the republic.

Bashkir Petrochemical Enterprise Rated Third-Biggest In Russia
Federal statisticians announced on 24 July that Bashneftekhim petrochemical company was the third-largest oil-processing enterprise in Russia in the first half of 2004 after the LUKoil and Yukos refineries, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 26 July. Bashneftekhim has processed 8.9 million tons of oil in 2004, with a focus on the production of gasoline, sales of which are boosted by the general boom in car sales in Russia.

Average Monthly Wage Up By 15 Percent
Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee reported that the average monthly wage in the republic reached 5,155 rubles ($177) in the first half of 2004, which is reportedly 15 percent higher than the wage in the first half of 2003, Bashinform reported on 24 July.

Baltic Navy Boat's Crew To Comprise Recruits From Bashkortostan
Russia's Baltic Navy will include one craft -- the "Bashkortostan" -- whose entire crew by 2005will comprise recruits drafted in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Vsya Ufa television reported on 25 July, quoting an official within Bashkortostan's Military Commissioner's Office. The republican committee on youth policies recently held a donation campaign for gathering the material aid to the crew serving on the naval vessel named after the republic. The Bashkir government also ensures regular supplies of diesel fuel and motor oil for the boat.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi