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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 24, 2003

24 June 2003
Government Discusses Measures To Raise Efficiency Of Tatarstan's Representations Abroad
The Cabinet of Ministers discussed on 23 June the efficiency of Tatarstan's representations in Russia and abroad, Tatar-inform and reported the same day. Ten of the republic's 23 representations are profitable, while others in 2003 have been given 57.3 million rubles ($1.9 million) in subsidies from the republican budget. At the meeting, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov called for the adoption of a republican law on Tatar representations. He also said that not all of the representations carry out with their main function, which is the promotion of Tatar goods and services and attracting investments to the republic. Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khafiz Salikhov said the republic's foreign-trade turnover has doubled in the past four years -- exceeding the last decade's maximum of 43.5 billion rubles.

Day Of Memory And Sorrow Marked In Kazan
A meeting devoted to the Day of Memory and Sorrow was held in Kazan on 22 June to commemorate the start of World War II (known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia), Tatar-inform reported on 23 June. Tatar Deputy State Council Chairman Marat Mehdiev and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov attended the event. Currently, 76,000 World War II veterans live in Kazan. In the war 252,000 Tatar residents out of a total of 600,000 lost their lives fighting.

Muslim Cemetery Defiled In Kazan
Sixteen gravestones were defiled at the New Tatar Cemetery in Kazan on the evening of 22 June, reported the next day. Vandals broke stones on Muslim graves and tipped over others. Law enforcement bodies have opened an investigation, the report said.

Tatar Internet Leaders Gather In Kazan
Heads of Tatar-language Internet projects from across Russia gathered in Kazan on 20 June for a seminar devoted to the development of the Tatar Internet, reported on 23 June. The meeting was arranged by the Tatar Cabinet of Ministers and the electronic newspaper. The forum discussed the observance of international and federal legislation on information security and the national and cultural development of the Tatar people using modern technologies. After the seminar participants called for the development of Tatar-language computer and telecommunication systems, the creation of services to host newly established Tatar Internet resources, and the promotion of Internet training for Tatars.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Election Commission Again Refuses To Register Opposition Candidate As Parliamentary Deputy
The Bashkir Central Election Commission (CEC) has appealed to the Russian Supreme Court against the 9 June verdict by the Bashkir Supreme Court obliging the commission to register Anatolii Dubovskii, the leader of the opposition political movement Rus, as a Bashkir State Assembly deputy and to publish the election results in the republic's media, RosBalt reported on 23 June. Dubovskii won the 16 March parliamentary elections in the Ufa Chernikovskii electoral district with 31.6 percent of the vote. However, although the local election commission approved the results, the Bashkir CEC annulled them in response to a complaint by Dubovskii's competitors who said that not all voters were able to take part in the elections because the electricity was switched off at several polling stations.

Natural Resources Ministry Set Up
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov signed on 23 June a decree to establish the Bashkir Natural Resources Ministry, Bashinform reported the same day. The new ministry will be set up as a result of a merger of the existing Forestry and Natural Resources Ministry, the State Committee on the Protection of the Environment, and the Directorate on Geology and the Usage of Natural Resources. The new ministry is charged with the "improvement of the system of management in using natural resources, the protection of the environment, securing environmental safety, and increasing the efficiency of the usage of natural resources." Alfred Feukhetdinov, who has headed since 2000 the Bashkir State Committee on the Protection of the Environment, was appointed the natural resources minister.

New Bashtransgaz Head Appointed
Sergei Pashin, 57, was appointed the new head of Bashtransgaz and introduced on 23 June to company employees by Gazprom Deputy Board Chairman Aleksandr Ananenkov, RosBalt reported on 23 June, citing the Gazprom press service. In the past few years Pashin has served as the executive manager of Topenergy, Gazprom's branch in Bulgaria. Pashin was born in Bashkortostan and graduated from the Ufa Petrol Institute.

Speaking in a program broadcast on the State Television and Radio Company Bashkortostan (GTRK Bashkortostan) on 23 June, Ananenkov said the candidacy of Pashin was agreed with President Rakhimov and Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov. Pashin's predecessor Aleksandr Veremeenko, who was dismissed last week for opposing an agreement between Gazprom and Bashkortostan (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 19 and 20 June 2003), was appointed the previous year without consultation with the republic's leadership. In an interview with GTRK Bashkortostan, Pashin said he is not going to get involved in politics. His priorities, he said, were "increasing the reliability of the gas transportation system" and "resolving social issues."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova