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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 31, 2001

31 October 2001
Prosecutors Sue Initiators Of Commemoration Meeting
The Tatarstan Prosecutor's Office said it is preparing a case against the organizers of a meeting in Kazan on 14 October to mark the anniversary of Kazan's conquest by Ivan the Terrible, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 30 October. The heads of the Tatar Public Center, the Popular Front, the Idel-Ural movement, as well as intellectuals and Muslim leaders are being accused of "threatening the constitutional security and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation." Prosecutors say they violated law by calling for the establishment of people's militia to defend sovereignty, civil disobedience, and the creation of a "shadow" cabinet.

Novgorod's Prusak Visits Tatarstan
Visiting Novgorod Governor Mikhail Prusak met with President Mintimer Shaimiev to discuss mutual cooperation, including deliveries of KamAZ trucks, chemicals, and fertilizers to Novgorod, and of timber to Tatarstan, Tatar-inform reported on 30 October. Prusak called the current 80:20 distribution of budget revenues between Moscow and the regions "nonsense" and suggested "combating this situation by political means." Prusak criticized the establishment of federal districts in Russia, saying they have failed to prove their worth. He praised the recent adoption of a land code by the Duma.

Shaimiev called Tatarstan's land code more progressive than the federal legislation and stressed that the latter should merely provide a framework for land sales and purchases in the regions. Shaimiev said a strong Russia can be only be based on strong regions.

Prusak, who is a leader within the Democratic Party of Russia, also met with followers seeking to form a party branch in Tatarstan.

Mufti Says Tatarstan-Based Islam Prevents Leaders From Extremism
Tatarstan's Mufti Gusman khazrat Iskhakov said that terrorism can in no way be linked to Islam, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 30 October. Iskhakov said there are significant differences between the "young" Chechen Islam and Tatarstan's Islam, which has existed for more than a millennium and thus curbs political extremism.

Iskhakov also said the embattled imam of the Bulgar mosque, Farid Salman -- who has had a running dispute with the republic's Muslim Religious Board and supports the head of the Religious Board of Russian Muslims, Talgat Tadjutdin -- had been replaced by Shaukat khazrat Abubakirov. The newspaper commented that the republic's Muslim leaders have thus succeeded in ridding themselves of a source of opposition on the eve of upcoming elections.

Residents Mourn Victims Of Political Repression
More than 100 residents took part in a ceremony to pay tribute to Tatarstan's victims of political repression in conjunction with an international day of recognition on 30 October, Tatar-inform reported. Marat Fazleev, the head of a republican commission for the defense of the rights of victims of political repression, said that more than 5,000 repression victims live in Tatarstan. Aleksei Stepanov, the leader of Memorial in Kazan, said some 800,000 residents were shot under the USSR between 1921 and 1953. A monument for repression victims opened as well in Bogelme, where 257 residents were shot in 1930s and 1940s. Roughly 250 residents are now members of the local political repression victims society.

Cabinet Allocates 100 Million Rubles For Bus Assembly In Alabuga
Tatar-Swedish joint venture SkanTatAlabuga won an order from the republic's government for buses in the next five years, Al-inform reported on 30 October. The company's general manager, Viktor Tsitrokop, said the Tatarstan government has already transferred 100 million rubles to his company, enough for 50 buses. He said the first 10 vehicles will be assembled by 2002. The Alabuga bus is equipped with a Volvo-penta engine.

Rossia Airline To Lease Tu-214
Government airline Rossia plans to lease a Kazan-produced Tu-214 jet in March 2002, General Manager Nikolai Shipil told Interfax. Rossia intends to lease two Tu-214s in total.

Rural Schools To Receive 1,600 Computers And 1,100 Modems
Rural schools in Tatarstan will receive 1,600 computers and 1,100 modems in November under a federal program to outfit such schools and create a unified information environment, reported on 30 October. Some 60 percent of the project's costs are coming from the Tatarstan budget, while the rest is being financed by Moscow.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Repression Victims Organization Seeks Kulaks To Be Recognized Stalinism Victims
Maginur Utyabaeva, the leader of the Republican Association of Victims of Political Repression, said the true number of Stalin terror victims in Bashkortostan is much higher than the 50,000 reported by official statistics, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 October. Utyabaeva said that, in 1931 alone in her native Baimak Raion, at least 30,000 peasants were labeled wealthy farmers ("kulak") and subsequently dispossessed but still have not been recognized as victims of Stalinism.

Communications Head Named Director Of The Year
Bashinformsvyaz General Manager Salavat Gaisin received a gold medal and the title "Director-2001," an honor handed out by the European Partnership for Progress program, Bashinform reported on 30 October.

UNIDO To Open Business Center In Bashkortostan
Voiceh Hubner, from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or UNIDO, is visiting Bashkortostan to organize a business consulting center and recruit consultants to implement UNIDO programs, Bashinform reported on 30 October.

Interior Bodies Battling False Terrorism Reports
Gainulla Gizzatullin, an official in the Interior Ministry, told a press conference on 30 October that an envelope containing a white substance and found near a school in Chishme Raion proved to be a "joke" by students. Gazizullin said the republic's law-enforcement bodies had recorded 10 cases of such hoaxes, with one envelope addressed to the Sibai administration head. He added it is still unclear whether they should be qualified as hooliganism or deliberately false reports of terrorism.

Investments Rise 22 Percent
Investments in 19 enterprises being constructed in Bashkortostan under federal programs totaled 25 billion rubles ($843 million) over the first nine months of the year, up 22 percent on a year ago, Bashinform reported on 29 October.

Housing Construction Grows
Housing construction increased by 27 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in the year 2000, Bashinform reported on 29 October. The rates in Ufa and Sterletamaq have more than trebled.

Bashkir Delegation To Join Russian-Turkish Council Meeting In Kazan
A delegation from Bashkortostan led by Deputy Foreign and Trade Minister Marat Sharipov will take part in the ninth meeting of the Russian-Turkish Business Council in Kazan on 1-2 November, Bashinform reported.

Monthly Inflation Totals 1.5 Percent
Consumer prices have risen by 14.9 percent in the first 10 months of the year, while the cost of services has jumped by 28.7 percent, Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee reported on 30 October. The monthly inflation rate totaled 1.5 percent in October.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova