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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 21, 2002

21 November 2002
Tatarstan, Gorkovskaya Railroad Sign Cooperation Accord
The Tatar government and Gorkovskaya Railroad signed a cooperation agreement for 2003 on 20 November during a visit to Kazan by Russian Deputy Railways Minister Khesen Zebirov and Gorkovskaya Railroad head Shewket Sheidullin, Tatar-inform and other Tatar news agencies reported the same day.

Sheidullin said during his visit that railway tariffs will not be increased in the near future, adding that passenger traffic has increased in the republic by 4 percent so far this year in comparison with the same period in 2001. In Russia as a whole during this period, the number of passengers decreased by 5 percent.

During their visit, Zebirov and Sheidullin also opened a new railway-station building in Shemordan.

Government Passes Additional Safety Measures For Mass Events
Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers has passed a resolution in accordance with which it will be illegal to hold mass events without the presence of police and officials from civil-defense and emergency-situations bodies, Deputy Interior Minister Rafil Nogomanov told a briefing of the Cabinet of Ministers on 20 November, Tatar news agencies reported. About 700 such events took place in Tatarstan in the first 10 months of the year, at which some 50,000 police officers were present, Nogomanov said. The deputy minister also said that in accordance with the resolution, the sale of alcohol in bottles or metal containers will also be prohibited at such events.

Tatarstan Gives Apartments To Black Sea Fleet Servicemen
Members of Russia's Black Sea Fleet stationed in Sevastopol, Ukraine, were given 20 apartments in a building constructed using funds from the Tatar government and Tatneft on 20 November, Tatar-inform reported the same day. Tatarstan originally took the fleet under its patronage a decade ago by donating fuel, food, clothing, and money. Tatar First Deputy Prime Minister Rawil Moratov, Tatneft administration head Nurislam Syubaev, Black Sea Fleet commander Vice Admiral Vladimir Masorin, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin attended the ceremony. Chernomyrdin expressed thanks to President Mintimer Shaimiev for the assistance provided by Tatarstan to the fleet. Masorin pointed out that Tatarstan has built not only apartments for the fleet but ships as well.

Police Officer Frees Hostages, Kills Alleged Hostage Taker
A police officer shot and killed in Tatarstan's Mamadysh Raion on 20 November a man who allegedly took three people hostage the previous day, reported, citing Tatar Deputy Interior Minister Nogomanov. The man allegedly hijacked a car with three people inside in Kukmara Raion and forced them to drive to Mamadysh Raion. The police officer stopped the car and negotiated the release of the driver and two passengers. After freeing them, the carjacker shot the police officer, who returned fired, killing the man.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Supreme Court Chairman Seeks Reinstatement In Conference of Judges
Marat Vakilov, chairman of the Bashkir Supreme Court, is planning to call an emergency meeting of the republic's Conference of Judges on 21 November, an unidentified source in the Bashkir government told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 20 November. Vakilov is hoping to have his membership in the conference reinstated, having been barred in April as a result of corruption charges against him (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 22, 24, 25, 29 April, 6, 23, 27 May, 9 June, and 26 August 2002). The charges against Vakilov were later dropped.

The Bashkir edition of "Moskovskii komsomolets" daily on 20 November commented that "soon after the first Conference of Judges [in April], Vakilov began persecuting the judges who criticized him...[and now] city and regional judges are in constant fear of losing their jobs."

According to the paper, the board of Magistrate Judges in Bashkortostan has called on magistrate judges in the republic to boycott the planned 21 November conference, saying that "it would be illegitimate if even one part of the judiciary does not send a sufficient number of representatives." Thus, "Moskovskii komsomolets" commented, "it's possible that the conference won't even take place."

"Izvestiya" also commented on the issue in its 16 November Bashkir edition, saying that Vakilov's actions as Supreme Court chairman over the past three years have "already exasperated Bashkortostan's judges, but Moscow's drawn-out proceedings [regarding his possible dismissal] have badly damaged the entire judicial system in the republic."

Bashkirenergo To Finalize Privatization By Month's End
Bashkirenergo plans to complete its division into three separate entities dealing with networking, the provision of heat, and the sale of electricity by the end of this month, RosBalt reported on 20 November, citing the company's press service. The company has already privatized five of its minor services in the areas of maintenance and transportation.

Bashkirenergo's new networking company is expected to be an important part of the new energy holding. In accordance with an agreement reached between the Bashkir government and Russia's Unified Energy Systems (EES) on 20 September, the republican government will own a controlling stake in the networking company, while the second-largest share will belong to EES, which now owns 22 percent of Bashkirenergo.

Russian Revival Party Claims To Be Making Inroads In Republic
The leader of the branch of the Russian Revival Party in Bashkortostan, Vladimir Shishkin, told "Respublika Bashkortostan" daily on 20 November that the party, while currently awaiting official registration with the Bashkir Justice Ministry, already has 1,740 members in the republic and is preparing for elections to the Russian State Duma in December 2003. Shishkin also said that if Duma elections were held now, about 17 percent of the electorate would support his party. He also added that his party supported the idea of maintaining the presidency in the republic and of strengthening presidential power.

Two Chechens Detained On Extortion Charges
Two former residents of Grozny and Urus Martan in Chechnya were detained in the Meleuz region of Bashkortostan on 20 November on suspicion of attempting to extort 10,000 rubles ($314) from a local farmer, Bashinform reported the same day.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi