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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 29, 2003

29 December 2003
Parliamentary Speaker Regrets Withdrawal Of Government Officials From State Council
Speaking to Intertat on 26 December, Tatarstan's State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin said he "regretted" that in the future Tatar parliament to be elected in March 2004 there will be no regional administration heads, "who contributed their practical experience to laws and resolutions that we adopted." According to the new Tatar Constitution, members of the executive branch are not allowed to combine their jobs with legislative work. Nevertheless, Mukhametshin agreed that regional administration heads working in parliament "did not make any speeches" during the hearings.

The federal Prosecutor-General's Office has in the past questioned the validity of all legal acts adopted by the Tatar parliament while it included executive officials, and thus violated the principle of division of branches of government.

Second Subway Tunnel Finished In Kazan
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov attended the completion ceremony of the subway tunnel connecting the Kremlevskaya and Tukay Square stations on 27 December, local media reported the same day. In addition to the 1,200-meter tunnel, in the last seven years another one of almost the same length was built between Tukay Square and Sukon Bistese. Kazan's first subway line of some 8,700 meters is to be completed by the Kazan millennium celebrations in 2005. The entire 46-kilometer subway network is to be built by 2015. Construction of the first subway line is to cost $480 million, of which $110 million has already been spent.

RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service Wins Tatnet Stars Award
The website of RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service ( won the award for the best (Latin-script) Tatar website at the annual "Tatnet Stars" international web-projects contest on 27 December, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day.

Meanwhile the web version of the "Tatarstan Yeshlere" daily ( won the prize for best Internet Tatar media and the site maintained by the "Megrifet" weekly ( was named the best Cyrillic-script Tatar website.

The website of the World Tatar Congress ( received the award for best public organization site, and Turkic-Tatar World ( was named the best among web resources dedicated to Tatar culture and history. Moscow Tatar Students Assembly ( was named the best Tatar youth site and the Tatar songs, humor, and culture site at ( was named the best amateur site. The web portal of the Republic of Tatarstan ( received the award for best official Tatar website, while the site maintained by Russia's Muftis Council ( won the prize for best religious Tatar website.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

TsIK Chairman Lists Bashkortostan Among Regions With Major Election Violations
Russian Central Election Commission (TsIK) Chairman Aleksandr Veshnyakov said on 26 December that the TsIK has reports of violations during the presidential elections in Bashkortostan in the registration of candidates and the preparation of ballots, as well as the inability to prevent the usage of administrative resources, RosBalt reported the same day. Veshnyakov added, however, that he does not think there were any serious violations, and even if election results are annulled in some districts, it would not affect the overall results. He added that all alleged violations will be thoroughly investigated.

Veshnyakov criticized attempts by some parties to prove that mass violations occurred during the elections. The TsIK members found no evidence of the violations claimed by the Communist Party, he added.

Daily Speculates On Prosecutor's Killing
The Bashkir police published in republican newspapers a picture of the suspected killer of Sibai Prosecutor Khenif Qarachurin (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 24 December 2003), RIA-Novosti reported on 25 December. The Bashkir Interior Ministry revealed during the investigation headed by minister Rafael Divaev that Qarachurin received repeated threats in the past two years and his house under construction and garage had been set fire to. Qarachurin, 55, has been heading Sibai prosecutor's office for 10 years and was respected by residents and colleagues for his honor, adherence to principles, and strict observance of the law, "Kommersant-Daily" wrote on 24 December.

Qarachurin had had strong conflicts with a local law-enforcement head whom Qarachurin accused of bribe taking, according to the daily. The police official was arrested but then was released. "Kommersant-Daily" quoted an unidentified source in the Bashkir Interior Ministry as saying Qarachurin had reported some two weeks ago that the investigation into the fire at his house was almost finished and evidence would soon be given to the court.

The daily also quoted Aleksandr Slyusarenko, presidential candidate Relif Safin's campaign chief in Zaurale, as saying that the killing might be linked to the strong support Qarachurin provided to opposition presidential candidates' campaigners and independent observers in the 7 December presidential elections. Slyusarenko said that following appeals to the Sibai prosecutor's office, results of the first round were immediately annulled in Sibai's two polling districts and voting results in another four districts were appealed in the Bashkir Supreme Court.

BTK Leader Opposes Official Status For Tatar
In an interview with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 26 December, Bashkortostan Tatar Congress (BTK) Executive Committee Deputy Chairman and philology professor Radik Sibegetov said the republic's Tatar civic organizations should promote state status for the Tatar language. "President Murtaza Rakhimov said he would like to raise this issue following the presidential elections, so we should work together with the president in this direction," Sibegetov said. He said two positions exist on this issue -- state status or official status for Tatar. Sibegetov spoke in favor of state status, saying there cannot be two different statuses among the republic's three top languages -- Russian, Bashkir, and Tatar. Russian and Bashkir are state languages in Bashkortostan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova