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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 2, 2001

2 October 2001
Those Deemed Responsible For Cholera In Kazan Receive Punishment
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov told a meeting of his administration on 1 October that 36 officials have been found guilty of allowing a cholera epidemic to break out in Tatarstan's capital this summer. He said 10 of those responsible, including the director of the state company Vodokanal, Grigory Arutunov, were dismissed, while others received formal warnings. Iskhakov stressed in his speech that although the outburst of the disease generally represented "a disgrace for Kazan, it was eliminated in a very short period of time [2 weeks]."

Tatar Muslim Leader Explains The Origin Of Islamic-Related Terrorism To U.S. Officials
Muslim Religious Board chairman Gusman khazret Iskhaq told U.S. State Department officials Peter Mizell and Kelly Kivler in Kazan on 1 October that "the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Tatarstan condemned the terrorist attacks against America." He called the negative statements by some Russian residents regarding American policies "remnants of the Soviet epoch." Khazret Iskhaq said that he approves of the fact that Washington "didn't rush into the planning of retaliatory acts in Afghanistan, because otherwise the civil population would inevitably have been hurt." The religious leader reminded the American guests that the Taliban movement emerged in that country as a result of the "American-Soviet rivalry."

Military Official Unhappy With Recruitment Figures In Tatarstan
The chief military commissioner, Rim Mustaev, said during a meeting of the recruitment commission in Tatarstan's State Council on 1 October that this fall the republic "would traditionally fail to fulfill the conditions of the recruitment plan of the Russian Defense Ministry." He named the higher education institutions of Tatarstan's major cities as "a major reason for the low draft figures" because students are free from compulsive military service during their time at university.

KamAZ Increases Exports
The KamAZ automotive concern increased its trucks exports compared to the previous year by selling 2,500 vehicles so far in 2001, reported on 1 October. The agency quoted one of the top KamAZ managers, Yevgeny Pronin, as saying that his company sought to reach the total exports at 3,500-4,000 this year. In the same time, Tatarstan's largest automobile maker reportedly intensified the operation of its assembly lines in Ethiopia and Kazakhstan and seeks to launch a new one in Azerbaijan. In 1999 and 2000 KamAZ was acknowledged to be Russia's best automotive exporter.

Drug Addiction Grows In Chally
Drug addiction statistics jumped 27 percent compared to the previous year in Chally, the newspaper "Respublica Tatarstan" reported on 1 October. Currently the number of officially registered addicts totals over 2000 and the chief of the Chally drug clinic suggested that the true number of drugs users can be estimated by multiplying that figure by 12.

Senior Citizens' Day Marked In Kazan
Some 283,000 pensioners in Kazan received official greetings from Tatarstan's top officials on Senior Citizens' Day, which is marked on 1 October. Less fortunate pensioners received gift sets worth some 100 rubles ($3.40) that contained rice, preserved meat, sugar, tea, and different grains.

Shaimiev Watches Nur Theater Play
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev watched a play by the Nur Tatar State Theater from Bashkortostan, which began its tour in Kazan on 1 October. Some of the Tatar media assessed this move as a "sign of the president's attention to the problems of the Tatar people in Bashkortostan," RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported the same day. The Nur Tatar Theater was established in 1912 as the first Muslim theater anywhere that featured women actresses. After being closed down after the October revolution in 1917, it was revived in the early 1990s.

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Independent Paper Predicts Early Elections In Bashkortostan
An RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa quoted the latest issue of the independent monthly "Otechestvo" on 1 October as saying that the next presidential elections in Bashkortostan would be held in the first half of 2002 and that President Murtaza Rakhimov will face Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov in a bid for a third term in office. The magazine, which is published outside of Bashkortostan, suggested that Baydavletov would be a strong rival, since he enjoys the support of many of the administration heads of the republic's regions.

Arinin Condemns Bashkir Government
The director of the Federalism Institute, Aleksandr Safin, reportedly told "Otechestvo" that Bashkortostan's government represents "a corrupt anticivil regime abusing basic human rights, [and] infringing on freedom of speech." Arinin is known as a former presidential candidate in Bashkortostan and is a Russian State Duma deputy representing the republic.

Rakhimov Says The 'Great Urals' Follow Putin's Tasks
President Murtaza Rakhimov, State Assembly speaker Konstantin Tolkachev, and Premier Rafael Baydavletov took part in a meeting of the Great Urals Regional Economic Association on 28 September, Bashkortostan's presidential press service reported. In his speech at the meeting, President Rakhimov said that the association "stood for principles of consequent policies regarding different industries," following the priorities set by Russian President Vladmir Putin.

HIV Infections Continue To Spread
Last week saw 50 more cases of HIV infection in Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported on 1 October. According to Health Ministry officials, the majority of the 2,023 officially registered virus carriers are drug addicts between the ages of 15 and 30.

Unity Party Membership Shows Quick Gains In Bashkortostan
The Unity Party branch in Bashkortostan announced on 1 October that it already has 3,152 members who will be represented by 16 delegates at the upcoming party congress.

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