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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 4, 2005

4 July 2005
First Mari Radio Station Launches Broadcasting
The first national Radio Marii El began broadcasting on 1 July, Interfax-Povolzhe reported the same day, citing the Marii El presidential administration�s information board. The first national project in republic radio broadcasting is addressed to rural raions of Marii El. As of 1 July, Mari-language programs and Mari pieces of music will be added to Russian-language programs. In the nearest future, the Radio Marii El will begin broadcasting in Tatar. Through 1 September, Mari-language programs, including news, digest of national press, information and entertainment programs will total 3.5 hours a day. In the fall, broadcasting in Mari will be increased to eight hours a day. The project is implemented by the non-state radio station Puls-radio Yoshkar-Ola that won a tender on arranging state radio broadcasting in Mari held by Marii El�s Culture, Press and Nationalities Affairs Ministry. According to the 2002 Russia-wide census, Marii El�s population includes 47.5 percent of Russians, 42.9 percent of Maris and 6 percent of Tatars.

Nizhnii Legislators Again Warn They Won�t Vote For Appointment Of Incumbent Governor�
Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Legislative Assembly deputies on 28 June appealed to oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev informing him that they won�t back his candidacy in case it is proposed by the Russian president to the oblast legislature, Regnum reported the same day. Member of the initiative group on collecting signatures, oblast parliament Deputy Mikhail Veselkin told reporters that 36 of 42 deputies of the legislature have signed the appeal. Two months ago, deputies issued a similar appeal that was signed by 36 deputies as well but received no response from the governor.

�As Moscow Still Indefinite Regarding Governor Candidacy
Despite the term of submitting by the Russian president of a candidacy for the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast governor expired on 4 July, no proposal has been made to the oblast legislature, �Kommersant-Daily� reported on 5 July. The daily cited local experts commenting that delay is explained by the fact that the Kremlin hasn�t yet chosen a candidate. The list of candidates introduced to the Kremlin by Volga Federal District envoy Sergei Kirienko in May includes Governor Khodyrev, the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Legislative Assembly speaker and local Unified Russia leader Yevgenii Lyulin, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergei Mitin, Severstal-grupp Deputy General Manager Viktor Klochai, LUKoil Vice President Vadim Vorobev and Nizhnii Novgorod Mayor Vadim Bulavinov. Khodyrev told reporters on 22 June that he �raised the issue of his reappointment before the president yet on 23 March� and is waiting for a meeting with him. The daily cited an unidentified source in the Volga Federal District saying the meeting has been appointed for 11 July. Khodyrev�s term expires on 8 August.

Motherland Leader Positive About Introduction Of Position Of Vice President
Motherland leader Dmitrii Rogozin backed the idea on introduction of the post of vice president that was proposed by the Nizhnii Novgorod Muslim Religious Board, Regnum reported on 2 July. Rogozin made his comments during a meeting with representatives of publicity in Nizhnii Novgorod on 1 July. Rogozin said the post should be occupied by a representative of Russia�s indigenous people. Rogozin emphasized that �national policy often became not only bone of contention but the issue of defaming a perspective political force.� �I completely reject any allegations of nationalism and chauvinism brought against Motherland.� Rogozin also called for �reviving a permanently working roundtable in which all authoritative national communities could take place.� Rogozin said a council on national policy will be established within the Motherland party to discuss and resolve issues of nationalities, adding that not only party members can join it.

Muslim Leader Criticizes Security Services For Unfounded Persecution Of Muslims
Representatives of security services appealed to the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Muslim Religious Board to provide explanation regarding the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization and its activity, board chairman Umar Idrisov told a meeting of the Volga Federal District Commission on Development of Ethnocultural and Confessional Relations and Civil Identity on 28 June, reported on 1 July. Idrisov said the request was made after the series of arrests in the oblast of Muslims suspected of being involved in this organization. Idrisov expressed his bewilderment with the fact that special services once arrest people and then begin thinking what they were arrested for. In October-November 2004, over 10 residents were detained in Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast on allegation of being involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir. Local branches of the organization were also revealed, among other regions, in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Udmurtia. Idrisov also charged that Muslims, unlike Orthodox believers, are often forgotten by authorities. �There are only calls for tolerance but no dialogue or cooperation between authorities, religions and the very [Muslim and Orthodox] communities,� Idrisov said.

Two Journalists Sued For Money Extortion In Nizhnii
Two reporters are accused of extortion of money from Stolitsa Nizhnii General Director Oleg Sorokin, Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 30 June, citing the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Interior Directorate. Sorokin appealed to interior bodies on 23 June against an unidentified correspondent of an unspecified federal newspaper who allegedly suggested that Sorokin pay him $4,500 for non-publishing materials compromising the businessman. The journalist was detained by interior employees and is kept in pretrial detention. Accusation was also brought against the deputy editor in chief of the same outlet who gave a written undertaking not to leave the place. The journalists can be sentenced to up to seven years� imprisonment.

Bill On Formation Of Permskii Krai Becomes Law
President Vladimir Putin signed on 1 July the amended federal law on the establishment of a new federation subject, Permskii Krai, as a result of a merger between Perm Oblast and Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug. Amendments to the law were passed by the State Duma on 17 June and by the Federation Council on 22 June. Under the document, the Perm Krai governor will be appointed by the Perm Oblast Legislative Assembly and Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug Legislative Assembly for a five-year term at the introduction by the Russian president. The candidacy of the first governor will be proposed not later than 35 days before the formation of Perm Krai.

Verdict Convicting Skinheads Annulled
The verdict against Saratov Oblast�s skinheads who were convicted of a murder in February will be revised by the Samara Oblast Court, Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 29 June, citing Saratov Oblast Prosecutor�s Office representative Igor Gereshenko. The Russian Supreme Court has annulled the verdict against four skins who murdered in June 2004 Avarian Dzhavad Sheikhov. The verdict under which the skinheads were sentenced to between 5.5 and 13 years of imprisonment was appealed by the convicts. Public statements against the accused made by a judge in a Saratov Oblast newspaper before juries issued the verdict became the reason for its annulment. Gereshenko also said one more accused appeared in the case. The convicts recognized their guilt during investigation. One of them, Mikhail Krasnoshchekov who was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment, said he killed the victim �because of hatred toward �blacks� who before beat and oppressed him.�

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova