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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 9, 2002

9 August 2002
Shaimiev Pays Visit To Astrakhan
Upon arrival in Astrakhan on 8 August, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told reporters that the most import tasks for the area were the preservation of the Caspian Sea -- its environment and biological resources -- reported the same day. Shaimiev came to Astrakhan at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

On 9 August, Shaimiev will move on to Daghestan's capital of Makhachkala where he plans to visit the ship "Tatarstan" that was constructed in Yeshel Uzen.

Tatar Prime Minister, Federal Resources Minister Discuss Environmental Protection
Russian Deputy Natural Resources Minister Irina Osokina arrived in Kazan on 7 August for a two-day visit, reported the next day. Upon her arrival, Osokina met with Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov to discuss cooperation between regional and federal environmental-protection bodies. Specifically, they discussed the creation of a body in Tatarstan that would be responsible for implementing the decisions of state bodies in both the Russian Federation and Tatarstan in terms of environmental protection.

A corresponding resolution was signed by Russian Natural Resources Minister Vitalii Artyukhov and President Shaimiev in February, saying that such a local body was to be established within one month of the signing. Nothing, however, has been done so far. The website reported that the Tatar Environment and Natural Resources Ministry is concerned about this issue.

Ukrtatnafta Gets Seal Of Approval From Supervisory Board
The supervisory board of the Tatar-Ukrainian joint venture Ukrtatnafta, which is headed by Tatar First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov, said at a recent meeting in Kyiv that the venture's board of directors is to work out a long-term agreement with Tatneft on the delivery of oil from Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported on 8 August. The supervisory board also reviewed and approved the results of the company's work in the first six months of 2002.

During that period, the company's Kremenchug oil refinery processed 3.9 million tons of oil, or 87 percent of the entire amount it processed the previous year.

The supervisory board also approved the implementation of the company's program for improving its financial position, in accordance with which debts were decreased while profits and wages were increased.

Tatneft General Director District's Most Professional Manager
The general director of Tatneft, Shafagat Takhautdinov, was ranked first among the Volga Federal District's 100 most professional managers in a recent survey conducted by the Association of Russian Managers, reported on 8 August. Nizhnekamskneftekhim General Director Vladimir Busygin was eighth on the list, while Kazanorgsintez head Nail Yusupov was ranked 11th.

KamAZ Partners Gather In Chally
Representatives of more than 120 Russian companies that produce vehicles on KamAZ-built chassis gathered in Chally on 7 August for a three-day meeting, reported the next day, citing the KamAZ press service. The meeting is to look at common approaches to such issues as vehicle markets, technical policies, and price formation.

Human-Rights Group To Observe Investigation
"Zvezda povolzhya" weekly published on 8 August a note written by Liliya Imaeva, a lawyer from the Tatar Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, in which she said that her committee plans to follow the investigation into a fight that took place on 2 August, Paratroopers Day, between about 50 former paratroopers and ethnic Azerbaijani traders at the Central Market in Kazan. Imaeva said the committee plans to publish the results of the investigation in the international press.

Imaeva said that following the melee, the head of the Kazan Public-Safety Police, Colonel Rim Shakurov, denied reports that any ethnically motivated fights had taken place in Kazan. At the same time, she said, dozens of people witnessed the paratroopers uttering threats against the Azerbaijanis, eight of whom were injured in the fight.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Debate Grows Surrounding Tatar Congresses In Bashkortostan
In an article published in "Zvezda povolzhya" weekly on 8 August, Tatar ethnology professor Damir Iskhakov, who took part in the 3 August congress of Bashkortostan's Tatars in Ufa, reported that Kazan initially planned to provide a quota of 40 seats for the third World Tatar Congress (BTK) to Bashkortostan's Tatar civic groups, while the congress of Bashkortostan's Tatars was supposed to elect another 40 delegates. However, a technical mistake by "one minor bureaucrat on the BTK staff" ruined the plan and the congress elected 80 delegates, Iskhakov said. "If the plan had been implemented, we could better understand the real situation [in which Tatars live in Bashkortostan]", something that Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev has sought, Iskhakov said.

Iskhakov noted that more than 50 percent of the delegates elected at the congress of Bashkortostan's Tatars are representatives of official bodies of different levels: 20 percent are from the education sector, 12 percent are representatives of culture and art, and 6 percent are scholars.

Meanwhile, Bashkortostan's Tatar civic organizations are still planning to hold a congress on 10 August to elect 40 delegates to the BTK. BTK Executive Committee Chairman Indus Tahirov refused to comment on the situation in Bashkortostan when asked by RFE/RL's Kazan correspondent on 8 August about an alternative election of delegates.

UNESCO School Commemorates Crash Victims
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's international school in Ufa held a meeting on 8 August to commemorate the 71 victims of an air crash over southern Germany on 1 July involving a Bashkir Airlines passenger jet and a DHL cargo jet, Bashinform reported the same day. The majority of the victims were students from Bashkortostan who were on their way to Spain on a UNESCO-sponsored vacation.

Rim Sufiyanov, the executive director of the Bashkir Committee on UNESCO Affairs who also lost his daughter in the crash, said, "Our sorrow and despair as a result of this loss are shared by residents of the entire republic."

First Vice President of the Federation of Russia's UNESCO Associations, Centers, and Clubs, Yurii Borisikhin, proposed that all newly formed UNESCO clubs be named after children who died in the crash.

Government Commission Continues Efforts To Help Crash Victims' Families
Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Ramil Mirsaev told a meeting of the government commission set up to help the relatives of the 1 July crash victims that financial and medical assistance have been provided to the relatives of crash victims, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 8 August. Mirsaev said that work is being carried out to improve their living conditions, such as by installing telephone lines in their homes. He said that five apartments have also been given to the families of Bashkir Airlines crew members who died in the crash. Architect Ramzit Maskhulov presented at the meeting plans for a memorial and monuments to commemorate the victims.

A special fund that was established to collect money to distribute among the victims' family members has so far raised 22 million rubles ($697,000).

The commission plans to hold its next meeting in late August.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova