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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 14, 2004

14 October 2004
Tatar Officials Discuss Putin's Administration Reform With PACE Representatives...
At a meeting with visiting PACE officials David Atkinson and Rudolf Bindig on 13 October, State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin spoke about recent initiatives by the Russian president to introduce a new system of electing heads of Russian regions. Mukhametshin said that sometime during Boris Yeltsin's presidency and the formation of a new democratic state a threat to the country's integrity emerged. Mukhametshin said that the heads of the legislatures of the Volga Federal District's entities have proposed amendments to the corresponding federal law. Under the amendments, candidates proposed by the Russian president as entity leaders must be residents of those regions. The same day, the visitors met with Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, Chief Federal Inspector to Tatarstan Marsel Gelimerdenov, and senior officials from the Interior Ministry. Atkinson said Tatarstan's experience in cooperation between government bodies and representatives of ethnic minorities is a model not only for Russia but for the entire world.

...As Journalists Discuss Media Problems
Meeting with representatives of the republic's media on 12 October, the PACE officials said they were impressed by the number of media organizations in Tatarstan. There are 178 state media organizations and 711independent media outlets. Some journalists highlighted problems, such as economic dependence on the state and the scarcity of Tatar-language media organizations.

Tatar Library Opens In Moscow
A Tatar-language library opened in Moscow's Tatar Cultural Center, an RFE/RL Moscow correspondent reported on 12 October. The project was initiated by Yakhya Gyibadullin, director of Moscow's only Tatar publishing house Insan, and Tatar National Cultural Center director Enwer Khoseyenov.

TatCenter Launches Petrochemical Industry Portal
An Internet portal for Tatarstan's petrochemical industry ( has been launched by TatCenter news agency with the support of the republic's Cabinet of Ministers, reported on 13 October. The portal specifically promotes the introduction of innovative technologies in the sector. The portal compiles material from news and analytical publications and industry databases.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Human Rights Activist Arrested
Ufa Soviet Raion acting prosecutor Rostem Geinetdinov said on 13 October that human rights activist Vladimir Simarchuk had been arrested on suspicion of violating an 18-year-old army deserter, Interfax and "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 13 and 14 October, respectively. Simarchuk is the chairman of an organization that defends the rights of servicemen and their families. The deserter, a Bashkir citizen, appealed to the raion prosecutor's office on 9 October to press charges against Simarchuk. The deserter said that Simarchuk raped him in his office, where he came for a consultation in late September. The soldier said that he deserted from the army in March, but realized his wrongdoing. The committee was established in 1990 at the initiative of former military pilot Simarchuk. The committee delivers humanitarian aid to servicemen in Tajikistan, Daghestan, and Chechnya, and carries out educational work among draftees and their parents.

Two Bashkir Citizens Missing In Egypt
Two Ufa residents, Rail and Svetlana Gelievs, who were among the Bashkir tourists in Egypt during the 8 October terrorist blasts at the Haba Hilton hotel, are still missing, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 13 October. The couple's 22-year-old son Adik Geliev has left for Egypt.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova