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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 10, 2002

10 May 2002
Veterans Honored On Victory Day...
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov honored veterans in their Victory Day addresses at a ceremony in Kazan's Victory Park on 9 May, which was devoted to the 57th anniversary of the victory of allied forces over fascism in World War II, RFE/RL's Kazan correspondent reported the same day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 May). Half of the 350,000 Tatarstan residents who fought in the war were killed in action.

In an address to veterans the previous day, President Shaimiev said the world has seen the appearance of the threat of spreading global conflict inspired by political terrorism, nationalism, and religious extremism, reported. Shaimiev stressed that a future without violence should not excuse the use of violence to achieve that goal. Acts of terrorism committed by fanatics and extremist groups cannot justify the use of state terror or accusations against entire nations and religions groups, he said.

Thousands of Kazan residents were in attendance at Kazan's Arskoe Cemetery on 9 May to commemorate the victims of the Great Patriotic War -- as World War II is called in Russia -- the agency reported.

...As State Still Owes Veterans
Deputy Minister of Social Care Rafiz Mukhamatdinov told on 9 May that World War II veterans in the republic are not receiving in full the privileges stipulated by the federal law on veterans. Some 3,770 veterans are waiting for new apartments, 1,700 of them in Kazan. In 2001, only 167 veterans were given new apartments, and only 10 of those were in Kazan.

Some 3,350 veterans are also waiting for Oka cars. The federal budget allocated 3.3 million rubles ($106,000) this year to provide veterans with cars, which is enough to purchase 51 vehicles.

Some 800 veterans living in Kazan do not have a telephone line and only 114 of those will be connected this year.

About 14,000 veterans are waiting for their turn to go to a health resort, while 1,150 of those will be given such an opportunity this year.

On 9 May, veterans were allowed to make free telephone calls to other cities and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic states.

Volga District Leaders Reportedly Dissatisfied With Kirienko
"Zvezda povolzhya" weekly reported on 8 May that Sergei Kirienko, presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, has fallen out of favor with a number of the region's other political leaders. Among them, the weekly listed Tatarstan President Shaimiev, Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov, and governors of Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Gennadii Khodyrev, Samara Oblast Konstantin Titov, and Saratov Oblast Dmitrii Ayatskov. The paper added that the uniting of such political "heavyweights" could lead to Kirienko's dismissal.

Government Commission Unveils Bureaucratic Bribe List
A group of Kazan businessmen, who preferred to remain anonymous, compiled a list of bribes often taken by state officials for providing businessmen access to state property, �Vremya i dengi� reported on 7 May.

The idea was initiated by the Interdepartmental Republican Commission for Economic Reforms and Support of Businesses, which is headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov. This body was established in 2001 to help the development of small and medium-size businesses and to remove bureaucratic obstacles interfering in their ability to do business in the republic.

In 2001, the commission introduced a "one-window" registration procedure for businesses, whereas previously they had to go through dozens of state bodies to obtain the necessary registration and were forced to pay numerous bribes.

The "Vremya i dengi" report lists some 40 different types of bribes that are typically paid to state officials for the lease or sale of state property, the construction or reconstruction of buildings, and the sale of shares.

The paper compiled the list by asking businessmen to provide information about bribes they had paid in a number of different situations.

Two Killed In Dormitory Collapse
On 9 May, rescue workers found the bodies of 13-year-old Gulnara Yusupova and 36-year-old Yelena Zolotykh among the rubble of the Kazan Construction Academy dormitory, which collapsed the previous day, reported (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 May 2002). The two are thought to be the only casualties of the incident. Eight-year-old Lenar Gazizov, who was injured in the collapse, is currently in stable condition in hospital.

Rafis Burganov, deputy head of Kazan's Vakhitov Raion administration, said dormitory inhabitants will be provided new housing within three days.

RFE/RL's Kazan correspondent reported on 9 May that this was the third case of buildings collapsing in the republic's capital in the past week.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Authorities Increase Payments To Veterans
Bashkortostan Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov said at a Victory Day ceremony in Ufa on 9 May that more than 700,000 Bashkortostan residents served in World War II, and that 320,000 of them died during the war, Bashinform reported the same day. Baidavletov said everything possible is being done in the republic to improve the living conditions of veterans, and that over the past two years payments to veterans have doubled to more than 873 million rubles ($28 million).

More than 81,000 residents throughout the republic participated in various cultural, sporting, and other events in honor of Victory Day, while 7,250 police officers were deployed to maintain order, the agency reported, citing the Interior Ministry press service.

Fate Of Russian Taliban Still Undecided
Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. ambassador at large for war-crimes issues, said three Russian citizens in detention at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be tried in either Russian or U.S. courts, reported on 7 May, citing ITAR-TASS (see, "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 3, 4, 15, 23 April 2002).

Russia's Prosecutor-General's Office announced earlier that it may ask the United States to extradite Ravil Gumarov and Shamil Khazhiev, natives of Bashkortostan, and Rasul Kudaev, a former resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, back to Russia. Prosper said, however, that Washington and Moscow have not yet begun discussing the possible extradition of the prisoners and that U.S. authorities are still in the process of interrogating the prisoners.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has also appealed to the United States to conduct a proper investigation into the actions of the three men in order to find proof that they actually fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the Prosecutor-General's Office for the North Caucasus has already filed charges against the men, accusing them of crossing the Russian border illegally, serving as mercenaries, and of serving in illegal armed units.

NefAZ Introduces U.S.-Produced Engine In New Line Of Buses
NefAZ automotive concern presented a new passenger-bus model in Ufa on 8 May, Bashinform reported the same day. NefAZ General Director Raif Malikov said the new vehicle is equipped with an engine produced by the U.S. company Caterpillar, which replaces the one used in previous models produced by Tatarstan's KamAZ automotive concern. Malikov said the imported engine is more efficient and meets European environmental safety standards. Transport Companies from Moscow and St. Petersburg have expressed interest in purchasing the bus, Malikov said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova