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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 8, 2002

8 April 2002
Tatarstan, Ukraine To Invest $200 Million To Modernize Kremenchug Refinery
Tatarstan and Ukraine have agreed to invest $100 million each for the modernization of the Kremenchug oil refinery, located in the Poltava Oblast, Ukraine, reported on 5 April. Tatarstan Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Dubina signed a protocol to finalize the agreement in Kazan on 5 April. Minnikhanov told the agency that the U.S. Foster Willis engineering company is developing the technical and economic means to modernize the plant.

Dubina said the two sides reached an agreement on all the issues they discussed, including deliveries of oil from Tatarstan, as well as joint investments. Commenting on reports about plans to sell the Kremenchug refinery, Dubina said that the issue "is not so urgent" since the plant became profitable eight months ago.

The Kremenchug refinery belongs to the Ukrainian-Tatar UkrTatnafta joint venture, which was established in 1994 to process Tatarstan's sulfur-rich oil. Tatneft, Tatarstan's largest oil company, now delivers some 500,000 tons of oil a month to the Kremenchug refinery.

Leader of Russian Regions Faction Opposes Efforts To Ban KPRF
In an interview with on 5 April, Oleg Morozov, the head of the Russian Regions faction in the State Duma, said he suggested that Aleksandr Fedulov, the deputy chairman of the State Duma Legislation Committee, renege on his proposal to ban the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). Morozov said he categorically opposes the initiative to ban the KPRF and he "looks very negatively upon Fedulov's idea to arrange 'a second Nuremberg process' against the KPRF." Morozov also said the council of the Fatherland�All Russia (OVR) faction announced the same day that Fedulov will be kicked out of OVR if he does not renounce his proposal. Morozov added that if Fedulov insists on bringing this issue to a vote in the Duma, then the Russian Regions faction will vote against it.

Criminal Groups Seeking Control Of Tatarstan's Leading Companies
Daniil Galeev, the deputy head of the Anti-Organized-Crime Department of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry, told the "Vostochnyi ekspress" weekly on 5 April that there are 122 criminal groups with roughly 7,000 members in Tatarstan. Recently, according to Galeev, the leaders of such criminal groups have moved away from the traditional crimes of murder and extortion in favor of attempts to take over controlling interests in the republic's leading companies. For example, the Drakon criminal community, which unites several gangs operating in Kazan and Moscow, is currently trying to take over one of Tatarstan's largest chemical companies following its recent failure to gain a controlling interest in the Minnibaevskii gas-processing plant. Radik Yusupov, the head of the Drakon group, is currently working on his doctoral thesis and regularly communicates with many of the republic's senior officials, Galeev said.

Galeev added that one of the leaders of the Kazan-based Tukaevskaya criminal group is a board member at one of the republic's leading joint-stock companies and that members of the Kazan-based Zhilka criminal group, which is closely connected to authorities in Sevastopol, took part in the sale of navy property there.

Khaider, Zhilka's former leader who was killed several years ago, used to say that it was too bad he couldn't reach Kazan via the Black Sea, because he would like to sail there in a navy warship.

Galeev said that he thought his department would bring the Zhilka case -- under which some 20 members have been arrested already �- to court this summer. He also added that State Duma deputies from Tatarstan "are not averse to working with members of criminal groups."

Tatarstan, Uzbekistan To Cooperate In Religious Education
A delegation from Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board completed a seven-day visit to Uzbekistan on 4 April, reported on 6 April. Deputy Mufti Valiulla Yakupov said the revival of relations between the Muslims of both countries, which have fallen off in recent years, is the main result of the visit. Tatarstan's Muslim leaders met with the chairman of Uzbekistan's Muslim Religious Board, Abdurrashit Kori Bakhromov, who also stressed the necessity to develop bilateral relations. The deputy chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee, Shuazim Minovarov, suggested that five teachers in Islamic theology be sent to Tatarstan to work in local madrasahs.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan To Produce Helicopters For Seoul
Russia will continue deliveries of Ka-32 helicopters to South Korea to repay $1.8 billion it currently owes Seoul, �Kommersant� daily reported on 6 April. According to a contract signed the previous day, two Ka-32 helicopters produced at Bashkortostan�s Kumertau aviation plant will be delivered to South Korea this year. Russia has delivered 40 of these aircraft to South Korea since 1993.

Rakhimov Claims Republic's Agriculture Sector Booming
Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov told �Selskaya zhizn� on 4 April that �bread rebellions do not threaten Bashkortostan�, since the republic can not only meet its own agricultural needs but is also able to help other regions. Rakhimov said the republic allocated 11 percent of its budget, or 4 billion rubles ($129 million), for agriculture in 2001, as compared to the federal government, which spent only 2 percent on the development of the sector. He said the republican budget provides subsidies for farms -- both private and collective -- adding that in the future, private farms, of which there are some 4,000 in the republic, will be given priority.

TPC In Bashkortostan Holds Congress
A delegation of the Tatar Public Center (TPC), led by its chairman Rashit Yagfarov, was to take part in a congress of the TPC Bashkortostan on 6 April in Ufa, reported the same day. Though no information is available about the outcome of the congress, Nabi Nuriev, the representative of Bashkortostan�s TPC in Kazan, told the agency that the agenda would include the upcoming census and Tatar-Bashkir relations. Nuriev also said that the Bashkortostan branch of the TPC is especially concerned about the "Bashkirization" of Tatars in Bashkortostan.

Leaders Of Tatar Organizations Comment On Problems Facing Bashkortostan�s Tatars
Farid Urazaev, the secretary of the Federal Tatar National Cultural Autonomy, told RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent on 7 April that Tatar national cultural autonomies have been established in 20 subjects of the Russian Federation and such bodies are currently being formed in 10 more regions. Urazaev said Bashkortostan is the only region where a branch of the organization has been refused registration in the past two years. He also added that Tatar rights are being violated in Bashkortostan.

The Ufa correspondent quoted Rimzil Valiev, the deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Tatar Congress, as saying that Kazan still has not developed a mechanism to help resolve the problems of Tatars living in Bashkortostan. VAliyev said that the replacement of Tatar signs by those in the republic's official languages, Bashkir and Russian, is a violation of Tatar language rights, as provided by the republican Law on Languages.

Rafail Khakimov, an adviser to the Tatarstan president, was quoted as saying that he considers Tatars and Bashkirs to be the same people, as their history, culture, language, faith, traditions, and fate are the same.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova