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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 26, 2003

26 March 2003
TIU Leader Arrested In Chally
Tatar Public Center in Chally leader Rafis Kashapov was arrested on 25 March in Chally, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported the same day. Kashapov is suspected of inciting interethnic, racial, or religious hatred. Rafis's twin brother Nefis Kashapov was also arrested the same day. Chally Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Brynza told "Vremya novostei" on 26 March that Kashapov was charged on 9 March in the wake of an investigation on the act of vandalism against the chapel of the St. Tatiana Church under construction (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 October 2002). Brynza said there is evidence that men from the TIU, rather than the three elderly women who assumed responsibility and were charged, are responsible. Leaflets calling for destruction of the chapel were reportedly found in the apartments of Rafis and Nefis Kashapov in searches held on 25 March, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported citing local Interior Ministry officials. Computers were also seized from the Kashapovs' apartments.

"Vremya novostei" quoted Rafis Kashapov as saying political motives are behind his arrest. TIU in Chally deputy head Geptrakhman Jeleletdinov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 25 March that the action against the Kashapovs must have been ordered "from above" and is a result of the "political persecution" by prosecutors for several years with the support by the Chally administration.

Gas Price To Increase By 20 Percent
The chairman of the Tatar Energy Commission, Reuf Jamaletdinov, told a briefing of the Cabinet of Ministers on 25 March that the retail price of gas for Tatar residents will be raised by some 20 percent to 70 kopecks ($0.02) per cubic meter as of 1 April, reported the same day. The measure came in response to the 23.5 percent rise in the wholesale gas price the previous month, Jamaletdinov said.

Days Of Tatar Culture In Saratov Oblast
Days of Bashkir and Tatar cultures began in Saratov Oblast, reported on 25 March. During the event, which will run for a month, regional departments of the Saratov Oblast Tatar National Cultural Autonomy will be established in Pugachevskii, Petrovskii, and Perelyubskii raions and concerts and performances of Tatar theater and folklore groups will be held.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Muslim Leader Calls For UN Reform
The head of the Ufa-based Central Muslim Religious Board of Russia and the European countries of the CIS, Telget Tajetdin, told a news conference in Ufa on 24 March that he was concerned about the "authority of the United Nations, which has been damaged by current developments in Iraq," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the next day. Tajetdin also called for "strengthening the UN in order to prevent such developments in the future," suggesting that for more efficiency "every continent should have its own branch of the UN."

Election Results Yet To Be Released
The republic's Central Election Commission has still not released the official results of parliamentary elections that took place on 16 March, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 26 March. Commission Chairman Bariy Kinzyagulov had previously announced that the results would be announced on 24 March. Despite the delay, there has been no reaction from the Bashkir media, which are predominantly state-owned.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi