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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 7, 2004

7 September 2004
Tatarstan Helps Beslan Crisis Victims
Employees of the Tatar presidential administration, the Tatar government, and the Tatar State Council will all donate one day's salary to families who lost relatives or were otherwise victimized by the Beslan hostage-taking crisis in Beslan, North Ossetia, Tatar radio reported on 6 September.

Heads and members of the Tatar sport clubs Ak Bars, Rubin, UNIKS, and Dinamo announced on 6 September that they will donate the funds they are to receive for their teams' next games to assist Beslan.

A special bank account has been opened in Ak Bars Bank's Chally branch to collect aid money. The Chally administration has also organized a blood drive to assist those injured in the hostage taking.

Tatar NGOs Warn Against Blaming Peoples, Confessions For Attacks
The council of the Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Tatars of Russia released on 6 September a statement expressing its outrage with the killing of children and adults during the Beslan hostage taking, reported. The statement noted that terrorism has no nationality and has nothing to do with religion, and expressed the hope that nobody will unjustly make sweeping accusations against peoples or confessions for the attack.

Tatarstan's Association of National Cultural Organizations in a 4 September statement expressed its hope that "despite the pain of losses and outrage over the actions of criminals who last their humanity, nobody will make groundless accusations against peoples or confessions."

Tatarstan Adopts Energy-Saving Measures From Denmark
Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov met on 6 September with the director of the European Institute for Ecologically Pure Energy, Sten Stenstrup, and the head of company's Green City Denmark project, Karsten Meller, who are on a three-day visit to Kazan. Among the topics of discussion were ways to ensure that December's Days of Denmark in Tatarstan follow the international symposium's framework on conserving resources and energy.

Stenstrup told reporters following the meeting that during its visit, the Danish delegation plans to sign several agreements with Tatar companies and organizations. He also said a Kazan's delegation headed by Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov is to visit Denmark in October to study the Green City project, which involves environmental protection measures aimed at reducing the consumption of water and introducing modern methods of processing industrial and consumer waste.

Turkey Provides Hotels Observing Shari'ah Law For Tatar Muslims
Muslims from Tatarstan and other republics of Russia can now vacation in Turkey in full compliance of Sharia'ah law, reported on 6 September, citing Feride Gataullina, director of the Idel-Hajj Department of Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board. Contracts have been signed with three hotels located in Didim, Izmir, and Alanya. There are separate beaches for men, women, and families, as well as mosques in each hotel. Food served in their restaurants meets all requirements of Islam.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Urges More Vigilance Against Possible New Terrorist Acts
In a statement published on 6 September, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said that Bashkortostan "will provide all kinds of assistance to those who suffered" from the 1-3 September hostage taking in Beslan, North Ossetia, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Rakhimov said that besides raising donations for the victims, his republic is ready to receive them in its spas and natural resorts, "where they can try to forget what has happened to them."

Rakhimov said that "to reduce the risk of having such massacres repeated in the future, the efforts of the country's president, army, and special services are not enough. War was declared on all of us, every citizen of Russia. I urge the residents of our republic to be vigilant and cautious."

He warned that the multiethnic people of Bashkortostan should, however, maintain their ethnic tolerance, which has been in the republic for ages, "one cannot accuse a part of Russia's people in all of the troubles, because bandits and their patrons have no nationality. Only together can we defeat terrorism."

Also on 6 September, Bashkortostan's cabinet issued a resolution on donating 1 million rubles ($34,000) to the Beslan victims' fund.

Bashkir Communist Leader Offers Support, Criticism Of Draft Election Reform
Valentin Nikitin, first secretary of the Communist Party committee in Bashkortostan, said in an interview cited by an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 7 September that his party favored the new proportional election system for Russia's State Duma proposed by the Central Election Commission. He said that electing deputies according to party lists is justified, because it would contribute to the formation of Russia's party system. Nikitin, who served as Bashkortostan's representative in the first two State Dumas and ran for republican president in 1998, said that most of Russia's political parties can be regarded as such only in a formal sense, "because only the Communist Party has a real system of regional offices, as the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia is more of a bureaucratic structure than a political organization and other parties are active only in downtown Moscow."

Nikitin opposed the 30 percent quota for female deputies promoted by the Central Election Commission, because it is too formal an approach, while a deputy's professionalism is more important than his or her gender.

Many Bashkir Petrochemical Industries See Soaring Share Prices
According to Bashinform, citing reports from the Russian Trading System (RTS) stock exchange on 6 September, in the first half of 2004 the prices of stocks issued by the Ufaorgsintez and Salavatnefteorgsintez petrochemical companies and the Bashneft oil company have gained an average of 20 percent compared to late 2003.

In the first six months of this year Bashneft's share price rose 33.9 percent, while Salavatnefteorgsintez shares gained 23.7 percent and Ufaorgsintez 43.7 percent. However, the shares of another petrochemical-industry-related firm listed by RTS, Novoil motor-oil factory of Ufa, lost 5.4 percent in the same period.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi