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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 21, 2004

21 October 2004
Authorities File Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Youth Beatings
The republican Prosecutor-General's Office announced on 20 October that criminal charges have been filed in connection with the alleged beatings by four police officers of three illegally detained minors, Regnum reported. Investigators believe that four employees of the Elmet Interior Board improperly detained and then beat the three youths. Parents unsuccessfully appealed to Elmet prosecutors to pursue charges against the policemen. The Kazan Human Rights Center conducted its own probe into the matter and provided a lawyer to the youths' families. Elmet's first deputy prosecutor has on eight occasions dismissed calls for the launch of a criminal case. Human rights groups successfully battled those decisions, however, with raion prosecutors and a court, the Tatar Prosecutor-General's Office, and federal prosecutors.

'Anthropology And Archeology In Eurasia' Releases Tatar Issue
A fall edition of the "Anthropology and Archeology in Eurasia" journal that has just been published by New York-based M.E. Sharpe publishing house is devoted in full to Tatars, reported on 20 October, citing Tatarstan's permanent representation to the United States. The issue, "Tatars. Context for Change," includes papers by Tatar scholars Damir Iskhaqov, Raufa Urazmanova, and Rozalinda Musina on ethnic, cultural, religious, and ethnic and social issues.

Alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir Followers Detained
Police in Tatarstan have detained several Muslims who are suspected of being members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, reported on 20 October. The information was released by the republican Interior Ministry's Aleksandr Popov at a meeting at Tatarstan's Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Ministry devoted to combating possible terrorism at retail centers. Literature of a "recruiting nature" was found in the detainees' possession. A criminal case has been filed.

MTS Completes Buyout Of TAIF-Telkom
The Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) mobile communications provider increased its stake in the TAIF-Telkom from 52 to 100 percent, AK&M reported on 20 October. TAIF-Telkom is Tatarstan's GSM-standard cellular communications provider. MTS purchased 51 percent of TAIF-Telkom from the TAIF holding for $61 million in April and signed an agreement under which MTS would acquire a full 100 percent of TAIF-Telkom. The price for the remaining stake of ordinary shares in TAIF-Telkom was put at a minimum of $49 million, while that of privileged shares was set at $10 million.

MTS is Russia's leading cellular communications company, providing service for 27 million subscribers. MTS's major stakeholders are AFK Sistema (50 percent) and Deutche Telekom/T-Mobile Worldwide Holding (25 percent).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Protest Action To Dismiss Bashkir Interior Ministry In Nizhnii
Protesters alleged tyranny and corruption by Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry at a demonstration in Nizhnii Novgorod's Minin Square on 20 October, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent and NTA reported the same day. Protesters demanded the dismissals of the head of the federal Interior Ministry's Volga Federal District directorate, Vladimir Shcherbakov, and of Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev. The protest emerged as part of an Ufa-Nizhnii Novgorod-Moscow rally that began in Ufa on 18 October (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 18 October 2004). The event was initiated with the support of the Yabloko and People's Will parties, the For Human Rights movement, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and the National Anticorruption Committee. Some 30 residents of Bashkortostan, including human rights activists and members of families of alleged police victims, took part in the meeting. Members of the Nizhnii Novgorod branch of the People's Will party also joined the event.

The action followed July and September meetings in Moscow and Nizhnii Novgorod with similar demands that resulted in a probe of Bashkir Interior Ministry practices by a federal Interior Ministry commission. "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" on 21 September quoted commission head Colonel Dmitrii Artemov as saying that the result of that inspection "has been reported to the minister." The daily also quoted unnamed employees of the ministry as not excluding that "practical conclusions might follow as a result" of the probe.

A similar demonstration was planned in front of the Russian Interior Ministry building in Moscow for 21 October.

Putin Greets Bashkortostan's Poet On 85th Birthday
President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message on 20 October to prominent Bashkortostan poet Mostai Kerim, who was celebrating his 85th birthday the same day, RIA-Novosti reported. Putin emphasized that Kerim's works have become Russian cultural and spiritual treasures. Bashkortostan's President Murtaza Rakhimov sent a similar wish to Kerim. Celebrations held in Ufa and in the writer's native village of Klyashevo in Chishme Raion to mark the jubilee were attended by delegations of Tatarstan's and Chavashia's writers.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova