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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 16, 2004

16 November 2004
Overqualification Creates Labor Shortage In Tatarstan
Tatar Labor Minister Boris Zakharov told a government meeting on 15 November that in 2004 the republic's unemployment rate fell to 1.28 percent, Intertat reported the same day. Zakharov said that the gradual fall in unemployment is mostly due to the growth of small and medium-sized businesses. Meanwhile, the number of people working in larger factories is decreasing. As a result, there are 16,000-18,000 positions currently vacant industrial sector, due to a lack of less-qualified workers with basic professional education and an abundance of people with higher education.

Tatar Parliament Supports Reintroducing Capital Punishment
The 11 November session of Tatarstan's State Council supported the appeal by Vologda Oblast and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug legislators to the Russian president, government, Federation Council, and State Duma asking for "immediate action to fight terrorism and therefore lifting the ban on capital punishment," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 15 November.

Tatar Communist Leaders Expelled From Party
The Communist Party's committee in Tatarstan on 13 November expelled leaders Aleksandr Salii, Nasima Stolyarova, and Robert Sadykov in punishment for their participation in the alternative congress of Russia's Communists organized by Ivanovo Governor Vladimir Tikhonov, an opponent of present Communist Party head Gennadii Zyuganov, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 15 November.

Stolyarova told Intertat afterward that the vote was illegitimate because the 23 representatives make up less than 10 percent of the party's regional organizations. She assumed that the vote was organized by the party's Moscow office, which feared that at the annual party congress in Tatarstan in December Aleksandr Salii would be reelected to head the republic committee.

Tatar Public Center Calls For Renaming Streets, Schools After Arafat
The moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center made a public statement for the administration heads of Russia's territorial entities on 15 November, calling for them to name streets and schools in their regions after late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 16 November. The center called Arafat a "major modern political leader who made an enormous contribution to the salvation of his people, who wanted to see his country and his people equal with other people of the world."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Police Detain 16 Alleged Members Of Extremist Islamic Party
Bashkir police on 14 November detained 16 people in Ufa, Oktyabrsk, Sibai, and Tuymazi for allegedly distributing leaflets of the extremist Islamic Liberation Party (Khizb-ut-Takhrir al Islami), which is banned in Russian Federation, "Kommersant-Daily" reported the next day.

The leaflets reportedly included calls for a holy war. No criminal investigation has been launched, and the suspects are reportedly expected to receive only administrative sanctions.

The Islamic Liberation Party was founded in 1953 in Jordan and in began its activities in Central Asia in the 19990. In 2003, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that the party is a terrorist organization and banned its activities in Russia. On the eve of 14 November, Bashkortostan's law enforcement bodies were informed that the party's activists would take advantage of the Uraza Baeyrem holiday marking the end of Ramadan month to spread leaflets to believers in major urban centers of the republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi