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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 19, 2004

19 November 2004
Shaimev Says Reports Of Religious Extremism In Tatarstan Are Unfounded
In response to a question posed by a reader of the daily "Argumenty i fakty," President Mintimer Shaimiev said in an interview published on 18 November that the Russian press is still reporting on outdated reports of cases of religious extremism in Tatarstan.

Shaimiev told the newspaper that several years ago there were attempts to promote Wahhabism in Tatarstan, but they were detected and investigated, and accused some unmentioned parties of digging up the past to meet their own interests.

Interior Ministry Detains Alleged Islamic Group
Tatarstan's Interior Ministry in early October detained a group of followers of the Islamic Liberation Party, which is accused of recruiting and training militants of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, "Kommersant-Daily" wrote on 19 November. The group allegedly operated in Tatarstan Republic and Ulyanovsk Oblast and was led by an Uzbek named Alisher Hedjaev.

Public Movement Established To Promote Use Of Latin Script
Fendes Safiullin, a former leader of the moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center and a former Tatar deputy in the Russian State Duma, is establishing a public organization called Latin Font to promote the use of the Latin alphabet for Tatar the Tatar language, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 18 November.

Safiullin told RFE/RL that his organization does not have political goals and intends to ensure the practical implementation of the use of Latin script despite a 17 November ruling by the Russian Constitution Court restricting use of Latin script for Tatar.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Presidential Aide Dismisses Reports Of Political Pressure On Suicidal Singer
Bashkir presidential spokesman Rostislav Murzagulov told an RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa on 18 November that rumors of a political subtext to the recent suicide of Ufa philharmonic singer Viner Mostafin was spread "by unhealthy forces" interested in destabilizing the republic's political situation. Murzagulov dismissed allegations that Mostafin was subjected to strong pressure from his superiors at work after having served as an activist for Relif Safin, who opposed President Murtaza Rakhimov in his 2003 reelection bid.

Also on 18 November, the leader of the Tatar Public Organizations Union in Bashkortostan, Ramil Bignov, told RFE/RL that nongovernmental organizations in his republic have differing views on the early November tragedy and cited Mostafin's relatives as confirming that he was deeply distressed by a lack of work in the last days of his life.

Bashneft Reports Soaring Profits
Global oil prices contributed to a tripling of Bashneft oil company's profits in the third quarter of 2004, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 19 November. The oil company reportedly showed a 5 billion-ruble ($172 million) profit.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi