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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 16, 2003

16 June 2003
Shaimiev To Attend State Council Meeting In St. Petersburg
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev arrived on 15 June in St. Petersburg to take part in a meeting of the Russian State Council due to discuss cultural issues, reported the same day. Shaimiev attended the opening of a memorial plaque on Bolshoi Avenue on a building in which the first Tatar newspaper "Nur" was issued in 1905. During the ceremony, Shaimiev granted honorary degrees to representatives of the Tatar community of St. Petersburg.

Kazan Delegation Attends Bishkek Jubilee Celebration
A Tatar delegation led by Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov took part in celebrations devoted to the 125th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek on 13 June, reported the same day. Speaking at the ceremony, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev said cooperation in oil production is among important issues that link his republic with Tatarstan. Tatneft is developing oil deposits in Kyrgyzstan's southern raions. The Tatar delegation also aims to prolong the 1998 cooperation agreement between Kazan and Bishkek in the social, economic, cultural, trade, and education spheres and to organize industrial fairs in both republics.

Anti-Extremism Conference Held In Kazan
Representatives from the United States, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ryazan, Stavropol, and Ulyanovsk gathered in Kazan on 13 June for a three-day international conference on preventing extremism, reported the same day. The conference was held within the framework of the Russian-American Climate of Confidence project. Issues of nationalism, extremism, and the psychological aspects of interfaith incomprehension were on the agenda. The conference discussed the possibility of developing the project in the Central Asian republics.

Russian Regional TV Companies Hold Festival In Tuben Kama
Programs made by Russia's 50 regional television companies were presented at the "Culture On Air" festival being held in Tuben Kama, reported on 14 June. The festival, organized by the federal television channel Kultura, promotes the revival of the culture of speech and information. President Shaimiev, who took part the same day in a video conference between Kazan and Tuben Kama, welcomed participants of the festival and said that the forum is to help maintain cultural values in the transitional period. Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi praised Tatarstan's cultural pluralism.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Tatar National Cultural Autonomy Leader Dismissed
Bashkortostan's Tatar National Cultural Autonomy council expelled Mejit Khujin, the Ufa branch's vice president, from the organization at a 10 June meeting, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 15 June. The council members said that Khujin had misrepresented the activities of the Tatar organization in the media and had violated its rules. The move came after an interview with Khujin appeared in the republic's state newspapers in which he condemned the Tatar National Front (TMF) in Bashkortostan and said that TMF head Zahir Khekimov used the Tatar issue to pursue his own private interests (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 4 and 9 June 2003).

Bashkir, Tatar Youth Leaders Criticize Rakhimov...
Speaking on the federal TVS television channel's "New Century" program on 11 June, Bashkir Youth Union leader Airat Dilmokhemmetov sharply criticized the national, cultural, public, and social policy of the Bashkir leadership. Dilmokhemmetov accused Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov of being a dictator, establishing an authoritarian regime, and pushing the republic into poverty. Zahir Khekimov, the leader of the TMF and Bashkortostan's Azatlyq Tatar Youth Union, who also took part in the program, backed Dilmokhemmetov's accusations.

...Attract Attention From Police
Dilmokhemmetov told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 15 June that police officers arrested him on 12 June in front of the Sport's Palace in Ufa where he was attending a holiday concert devoted to Russian Independence Day. Dilmokhemmetov was released later that day. Meanwhile, Khekimov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 15 June that six people, one of whom was in a police uniform, searched the Azatlyq office. The men didn't present a search warrant and when Emil Biktimerov, the union member on duty asked them to leave, they reportedly forced him to leave the office. Azatlyq members have since been shut out of the office.

Children's Home Established In Ufa
A children's home opened in Ufa on 12 June, RosBalt reported the next day, citing the Ufa administration. The home provides accommodation for 65 children between the ages of three and 16 who come from broken homes. The facility provides living, sport, social, and medical facilities. According to statistics cited by the Ufa administration, there were 160 vagrant children in Ufa in 2002 and 2,000 families were unable to provide the necessary conditions for bringing up children.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova