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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 10, 2004

10 September 2004
Tatarstan's President Cautions Of Instability In Caucasus...
Speaking live on Ekho Moskvy on 9 September, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said this month's terrorist attack in Beslan cannot merely be considered an episode of terror and that recent acts of terrorism are reminiscent of a state of war. A spot appeared in Russia that has grown to the scale of international terrorism, he said, adding, "We should draw far-reaching conclusions." Tatarstan is not going to introduce restrictions on entry to the republic, Shaimiev said. "If we restrict rights, this will mean those who planned the terror reach their aims," said the president. The tragic events in Beslan should not be allowed to destabilize the situation in the Caucasus or elsewhere in the country, Shaimiev warned. "We should come out of this [incident] wiser and not aggravate the situation," he said, adding that the tragedy should not be allowed to " negatively affect international relations among the Caucasian peoples." Shaimiev also wished North Ossetian President Aleksandr Dzasokhov "tenacity and patience."

...Rues Tatarstan's Position Regarding Oil Extraction In Chechnya...
President Shaimiev also said on 9 September that Tatarstan would like to help Chechnya in the revival of its oil industry but "we are not allowed in there." "One Russian oil company has already appeared that is involved in oil production there." he added. "We have experience, we work abroad,... but the oil market, including natural resources, has already divided." Tatarstan has in the past taken part in the reconstruction of housing and the municipal-services sector and provided effective help, he said. The Chechens and Ingush know about this, Shaimiev said.

...Calls For Return Of Holy Icon To Kazan...
Answering a question during the 9 September interview on whether Tatarstan needs the Mother of God of Kazan icon -- a symbol of the Christianization of Tatars -- Shaimiev said the return of the icon to the republic would be accepted with gratitude by not only the Orthodox community but all people in the republic. "If we would like to live in peace and concord, we should be more tolerant toward each other," he said, adding, "We would like very much the return of the icon."

...And Examines Controversial Building Issue
President Shaimiev met with Kazan's Nurulla mosque community and representatives of the Milli Mejlis and the Union of Muslim Women, who were staging a picket near the parliament building in which the plenary session of the State Council was being held on 9 September, Tatar-inform reported the same day. Picketers were protesting the razing of a controversial building near the Nurulla mosque, where an Islamic library and children's center are reportedly planned. The building was hit by a fire on 8 September, and Milli Meijlis leader and Nurulla imam Gebdulla Geliullin was reportedly assaulted by unknown attackers, according to the Milil Mejlis press service.

Shaimiev asked the protesters to prepare the related documents and promised to look into the issue. At the session where opposition Deputy Aleksandr Shtanin called Geliullin's beating "terror aimed at religious leaders," Shaimiev charged the Kazan Wakhitov Raion administration, the Tatar Arbitration Court, the Land and Property Relations Ministry, and the Prosecutor-General's Office to investigate the issue within two days. The same day, the Arbitration Court ordered a halt to any demolition until the issue is sorted out, something that Milli Mejlis representatives have been advocating for some time.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Collects Aid For Beslan Victims
The Political Council and the executive board of Bashkortostan on 9 September launched a fund-raising campaign for victims of the hostage crisis in Beslan, North Ossetia, by donating 30,000 rubles ($1,034) to the fund, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 9 August. The same day, youth in Tuymazi staged a rally against terrorism and in remembrance of those who were killed in the siege.

Earlier this month, Bashkortostan's Women's Union opened a bank account to collect funds for victims of the tragedy. The union's chairwoman, parliamentarian Reshide Soltanova, said her organization hopes to raise at least 1 million rubles ($35,000).

Bashkir President Meets With High-Ranking Gazprom Executive
President Murtaza Rakhimov and senior Gazprom official Aleksandr Ryazanov on 9 September discussed the implementation of a cooperation treaty signed by Bashkortostan's government and Russia's gas monopoly in 2003, the presidential press service reported the same day. During the closed-door meeting, the two discussed the ongoing creation of a Gazprom-owned holding comprising the Salavatnefteorgsintez chemical plant, and Kaustik and Kauchuk synthetic rubber plants.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi