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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 8, 2003

8 May 2003
TIU Leader To Undergo Psychiatric Examination
The Chally city court has upheld an appeal of the city prosecutors' office to keep Rafis Kashapov, the leader of the moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center (TIU), in custody, reported on 7 May. Kashapov, who is accused of inciting interethnic discord (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 26 March and 14 April 2003), will remain in custody until 9 August. According to the court's decision, Kashapov will undergo a psychiatric examination in Kazan. Meanwhile, a group of prominent members of the Tatar intelligentsia, including Mufti Gosman Iskhaqov, appealed to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and the heads of the republic's law enforcement bodies to state their concern about the "persecution" of Kashapov, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported on 7 May.

Tatneft Managers Fix Dividends Rate
The management board of Tatneft, the primary oil producer in Tatarstan, has recommended the dividends rate for shareholders to pay in 2002: 100 percent interest per privileged share and 10 percent per ordinary share worth 1 ruble ($0.03), Tatar-Inform reported on 7 May. In total, 365 million rubles ($11.7 million) will be spent on the payment of dividends. The shareholders' meeting, slated for 27 June, will approve the company's annual report, elect a new management board, and appoint an auditor.

Kazan Administration Clamps Down On Holiday Boozing
The authorities in Kazan have prohibited the sale of alcohol on the streets and in stores during festive gatherings, according to a resolution signed by Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov, reported on 7 May. Only non-alcoholic beverages will be on sale in those places.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Liberals Join Move To Expel Pokhmelkin, Nisnevich
An emergency conference of the branch of the Liberal Russia party in Bashkortostan voted to exclude the party's co-Chairman Viktor Pokhmelkin and its political council secretary Yulii Nisnevich on 7 May, RosBalt reported the same day. Viktor Shmakov, the head of the Bashkir branch, explained the decision by saying that Pokhmelkin and Nisnevich had "attempted to split up" the political party. According to Shmakov, "this situation is especially dangerous for the party since it has already overcome the 5 percent margin and is maintaining its opposition stance to the existing government." Shmakov confirmed that his organization and 55 more regional Liberal Russia branches supported the self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovskii, who initially sponsored the party but was later expelled in a move spearheaded by State Duma Deputy and Liberal Russia's co-Chairman Sergei Yushenkov in October 2002 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 October 2002). According to Shmakov, Berezovskii, who's goal is reportedly to unite his own supporters in Liberal Russia with former supporters of Yushenkov, "authorized" the ousting of Pokhmelkin and Nisnevich. Yushenkov was murdered in Moscow on 17 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 April 2003).

Bashkortostan's Housing Expenditure Among Lowest In Russia...
Bashkortostan's Housing Minister Pavel Kachkaev told a meeting of his staff on 7 May that following the tasks set by Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, the republic's housing sector has managed to ensure low maintenance expenditures so far in 2003, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. The average expenditure per square meter of housing in Bashkortostan has remained at 14.5 rubles ($0.46), while the Russian average is 23 rubles per square meter. Meanwhile, 80 percent of Bashkortostan's residents currently pay for their housing services on time, while in 2002 that figure was 75 percent. The nationwide average is 81 percent.

...While Housing Sector Searches For Ways To Reduce $254 Million Debt
Deputy Housing Minister Damir Akamov told the same meeting that the mutual debts between Bashkortostan's cities and regions, the housing sector, and the energy suppliers amounts to more than 8 billion rubles ($254 million), Bashinform reported on 7 May. Akamov said that this year the Housing Ministry will elaborate a scheme for restructuring the debt with the help of local administrations, housing departments, and energy suppliers.

Bashkir Weekly 'Idolizes' Bashkir President
Bashkortostan's state-owned youth-weekly "Yeshlek" has resumed a column titled "My Idol" featuring letters from its readers dedicated to the people they admire the most, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 7 May. Like previous incarnations of the column, there is only one "idol" mentioned: Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov. Readers, who are said to represent all sectors of Bashkir society, praise Rakhimov for his "best human qualities" and thank him for "constantly improving the standard of living in rural and urban areas" of Bashkortostan. In December 2003, the republic will elect a new president and Rakhimov, who is now nearing the end of his second term in office, will likely run again.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi