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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 21, 2004

21 December 2004
FSB Denies Allegations That Tatar Resident Was Beslan Terrorist
RFE/RL's Kazan bureau asked the Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Tatarstan to respond to a report published in the 20 December issue of "Kommersant-Vlast" magazine, saying that Tatar resident was among the terrorists killed during the Beslan hostage crisis in September. The FSB's press service responded by saying that the cited fact had already been checked and, according to an investigation, no Tatar residents were among the terrorists.

Tatarstan To Amend Legislation Before Adopting New Budget
Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told a government meeting on 20 December that to draft Tatarstan's budget for 2005, the republic will need to amend legislation and alter the existing system of interbudgetary relations, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. The proposed amendments reportedly concern articles within Tatarstan's Budget Code, including the definition of the republican budget and the local budget and more distinct procedures for fund sharing.

Kazan Aircraft Plant Modernizes Strategic Bomber For Russian Army
Igor Khvorov, the commander of the 37th Army of Russia's Air Force, told reporters in Moscow on 20 December that the Kazan Aircraft Plant is modernizing a Tu-160 aircraft, Interfax-AVN reported the same day. Khvorov said that the strategic bomber "will have a wider range of possible combat functions and new air-navigation equipment, as well as new weapons." Following more than a decade of research, the supersonic long-range strategic bomber went into service in the late 1980s. By 1994, as many as 30 Tu-160 aircraft, known as "Blackjacks" abroad, had been assembled in Kazan. Nineteen of them were based in Ukraine and the rest remained at the disposal of Russia's Air Force.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Amount Of Urban Tatars Grows
According to official results of the 2002 national census in Bashkortostan, 67 percent of the republic's Tatars reside in urban areas, while only 42 percent of Bashkirs do the same, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The previous 1989 census reportedly had 56 percent of Tatars and 45 percent of Bashkirs as urban residents. According to Ildar Gebdrefiqov, an ethnology expert, the shift is due to local Tatars being reported as Bashkirs.

Republican Government Leases Animals To Revive Local Farms
In order to help Bashkortostan's collective farms become self-sufficient, the republican government has begun a program where farms can lease from them cows, pigs, and chickens, Bashinform reported on 20 December. The republican government is said to have allotted $2.9 million for supplying the farms with the necessary funds.

Bashkir FSB Chief Says Terrorism Has No Grounds In Bashkortostan
Igor Chernokov, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Bashkortostan, told reporters on 17 December that "there are no fertile social, political, or economic grounds for terrorism and extremism" in the republic, Interfax-Povolzhye reported the same day. However, he admitted that the threat of terrorism "remained dominant" and one of the main tasks of Russia's intelligence services is to prevent terrorism and extremism. Chernokov added that the intelligence services and the Bashkir Interior Ministry are joining forces to investigate an alleged terrorist act committed in Ufa on 5 November 2003.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi