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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 30, 2003

30 September 2003
Bodies Of Kidnapped KamAZ Officials Found, One Prisoner Released...
The bodies of three of the kidnapped KamAZ officials have been found, the head of the Chally Interior Ministry Feizulla Khosniev and Sergei Brynza, a deputy prosecutor, told a press conference in Chally on 29 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 4 and 6 June, 18 and 21 July, and 7 and 25 August 2003). The bodies of KamAZ Deputy General Manager and Metallurgy Plant General Director Viktor Faber and Metallurgy Plant Economic Department Head Natalya Starodubtseva, who were kidnapped in May, as well as the general director of the Chally Avtomaster company, Yevgenii Kornev, who was kidnapped more than a year ago, were found on 28 September in Tatarstan.

A Chally businessman, founder of the Alisa company and director of the Bulai chocolate factory Bulat Bayazitov, who was kidnapped in July, was released on 27 September, Khosniev said. Bayazitov, imprisoned in the dark and with little food and water, was hospitalized. During the operation to release Bayazitov, seven suspects were detained. A cache of arms was also found, including machine guns, explosives, and the uniforms of various law-enforcement bodies. Implicated in the crimes are some 30 members of the "Tahirjanov" organized crime group, named after its leader Eduard Tahirjanov.

The same day, Tatar Interior Minister Esget Seferov issued a statement saying that Faber and Starodubtseva were probably killed early on in their ordeal after criminals received a large sum of money. On 27 May, Faber reportedly ordered the transfer of 10 million rubles ($326,583) to the Moscow-based Sodbiznesbank. Three bank employees were detained during the investigation. Seferov said that the suspects in the case were linked to some law-enforcement bodies and senior officials, some of them outside Tatarstan.

...As Chally Prosecutor Implicated In Case
The Chally-based newspaper "Chelny LTD" published on 24 September a photo allegedly of Chally Prosecutor Ildus Nefiqov relaxing in a bathhouse with organized crime boss Eduard Tahirjanov. Artur Semigullin, editor in chief of "Chally LTD," told "Vechernyaya Kazan" on 26 September that the photograph was given to the newspaper by relatives of alleged members of Tahirjanov's group, currently in custody.

Bulgaria To Purchase Tatar-Produced Tu-214 Jets
An agreement on the delivery of four Tatar-produced Tu-214 jets to Bulgaria was signed on 29 September in Plovdiv, Bulgaria by visiting Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Lidiya Shuleva, the Tatar government press service reported the same day. A Tatar government delegation, including representatives of the Tatneftekhiminvest petrochemical holding, the Kazan Gorbunov Aircraft Plant, and the Tatkhimfarmpreparaty pharmacological plant, was taking part in an international trade fair in Plovdiv. Minnikhanov and Shuleva met to discuss bilateral trade and further cooperation between Bulgaria and Tatarstan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Replaces Head Of Presidential Staff
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov has appointed Radii Khabirov, former director of the Law Institute at the Bashkir State University, as head of his presidential staff, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 29 September. Khabirov replaced Ildar Gimaev, who was appointed head of the social and economic policy department within the presidential staff. Most likely, however, Gimaev will retire due to poor health.

Meanwhile,, a website maintained by the supporters of Sergei Veremeenko, former head of Mezhprombank and advisor to the Unified Russia party, said the same day that "according to one version of current developments, Gimaev was punished for failing to fulfill the tasks set by President Rakhimov." also reported that there have been rumors that Gimaev was a contender for the post of prime minister.

Russian Prosecutors Confirm Corruption In Bashkir Interior Ministry
According to the "Versiya" weekly on 29 September, Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Gerasimov has published a report into alleged corruption in the Bashkir Interior Ministry. A complaint about possible corruption was initially filed by Aleksandr Torshin, deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council, and Mikhail Grishankov, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma committee on security. The report says that high-ranking officials within the ministry had "illegally cooperated" with a charitable foundation established by the notorious mob leader Erast Fomichev. As a result of the report, Interior Minister Refeil Divaev has received an official warning, while his first deputy Nikolai Patrikeev was dismissed. The prosecutor's report also cited numerous cases of violence, forgery, and other crimes by Bashkir police.

Opposition Forces Protest Against Changing Local Council Election Date
Activists from the opposition Rus movement and the Bashkir branch of the Yabloko party have filed more than 20 legal suits against the decision to move local council elections from December to March 2004 to coincide with Russian presidential elections, RosBalt reported on 29 September. On 27 September, Gennadii Shabaev, a Bashkir State Assembly deputy representing Yabloko, appealed to a court in Ufa claiming that the decision to move the elections was illegal under federal law. Shabaev demanded that the vote for local councils be held together with Russian State Duma and Bashkir presidential elections in December.

Police Arrest Car Bomb Suspect
Investigators have arrested the owner of a vehicle wired with explosives, which was defused in downtown Ufa on 27 September, RIA-Novosti reported yesterday (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 September 2003). The 34-year-old suspect, who was detained on 28 September, has reportedly said that he had sold the car to unidentified individuals without arranging a sales contract. According to law-enforcement officials, the bomb was made from a land mine and a grenade. The mine was the same used by terrorists on 9 May 2002, when 45 people were killed during a Victory Day parade in Kaspiisk.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi