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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 2, 2003

2 September 2003
Ambassadors Visit Helicopter Plant
Ambassadors to Russia from 29 countries, who arrived in Kazan on 29 August at the invitation of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, visited on 31 August the Kazan Helicopter Plant (KVZ), reported the same day. Plant General Director Aleksandr Lavrentev introduced the visitors to the new Mi-38 helicopter, capable of seating 44 persons, which, he said, will make its test flight in 35-40 days. The Moscow Helicopter Plant, the Canadian Pratt & Whitney firm, and the French-German Eurocopter contributed to the production of the aircraft assembled at KVZ. An air show was attended by the visitors, where the Mi-17 and Ansat aircraft were demonstrated.

Predecessor To Egerje Administration Head Accused Of His Murder
Prosecutors presented the case of the murder of Egerje Raion administration head Rafis Seyetov to the Tatar Supreme Court on 30 August, "Kommersant" reported on 1 September. Seyetov was shot dead on 31 August 2002 (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 and 18 September and 11 November 2002 and 2 January 2003, and "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 13 September 2002). Seyetov's predecessor as raion-administration head and a Tatar State Council deputy, Rostem Zakirov, was arrested and is accused of contracting the killing. Four alleged killers residing in Udmurtia have also been arrested. Investigators believe the killing was due to hostility between Zakirov and Seyetov, whom Zakirov considered responsible for his dismissal from the post of administration head.

Two Interior Ministry Officials Under Investigation
Tatarstan's Prosecutors' Office has filed a criminal case against the head of the Kazan Soviet Raion Interior Department, Fayaz Shabaev, and head of that raion's State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate, Sergei Lavrov, on allegation on abusing power, RosBalt reported on 1 September, citing an unidentified source in the Prosecutors' Office. The case arose after a complaint by businessman Viktor Litvin when police confiscated a building he bought at an auction held by the Kazan Committee on Management of Communal Property in May. According to prosecutors, on 19 June police took over the building on Lavrov's orders, who was following verbal instructions by Shabaev. In turn, Shabaev referred to an order, also verbal, from Soviet Raion administration head Albert Kamaleev. Meanwhile, the Soviet Raion administration has appealed the results of the auction in the Tatar Arbitration Court, RosBalt reported.

Shaimiev Promotes Mortgages For Teachers
Visiting Kazan Pedagogical University on 1 September, President Shaimiev said the Tatar government plans to raise the prestige of the teaching profession and launch in 2004 a program of mortgage loans for teachers of secondary and high schools, Tatar and Russian agencies reported the same day. Under the program, teachers will be able receive loans to purchase apartments with no initial payment at 8 percent interest for 20-years.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Tatar Leader Files Defamation Suit Against State-Run Newspaper
Zegyr Khekimov, the head of the Tatar People's Front, which campaigns for Tatar rights in Bashkortostan, has sued the republic's major Tatar-language daily "Kyzyl Tang," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 1 September. In a recent issue the state-owned newspaper accused Khekimov of "exploiting Tatar ethnic interests for getting a seat in the republican parliament and making money with it." Khekimov has demanded 1 million rubles (around $30,000) in compensation for moral damage caused by the article.

Russia's Railways Seek Wider Partnership With Bashkir Companies
Russian Railways Minister Gennadii Fadeev told Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov on 1 September in Ufa that his ministry is considering the possibility of placing a number of its orders with Bashkir companies, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. According to the minister, the railways could use rubber products and metal casts made in Bashkortostan. From Bashkortostan alone, the railways sector buys some $50 million worth of fuel and lubricants each year, Fadeev said.

UralSib Management, Bashkir Government Accused Of Illegal Practices
An Ufa court has begun considering a suit filed by Salavat Migranov, the former president of UralSib Bank, against the bank's management and the Bashkir Property Affairs Ministry, "Ekspert-Ural" weekly wrote on 1 September. Migranov told the weekly that his goals are to protect the interests of the state, which were damaged during the privatization of Bashkreditbank (later renamed UralSib) and the interests of the bank's workers. Bashkreditbank was established by Bashkortostan's Cabinet of Ministers in 1993 and, in 1998, it was transformed into a joint-stock venture. In April, Russia's Interior Ministry launched an investigation into the handover of state-owned shares packages in 47 Bashkir companies to Bashkreditbank for further sell-off on the secondary shares market. The case was closed after UralSib President Azat Kurmanaev claimed immunity as a Bashkir parliamentary deputy.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi