12 July 2005
WEEKLY REVIEW FROM IDEL-URAL REGIONCheboksary Residents Protest against Official Corruption
On 7 July, some 40 people marched and held a meeting in Cheboksary to protest against corruption and violation of law by the local authorities, Regnum reported on 8 July. The action was initiated by three citizens including the secretary of the local Communist Party, Igor Molyakov, and representatives of For Human Rights movement. Protestors claimed that newly built apartments that were supposed to have been distributed to needy people had instead gone to local Chavash officials, including Chavash President Nikolai Fedorov and the chief federal inspector to Chavashia, Aleksandr Muratov.
Marii El's Makelov Files Defamation Suit
Republic prosecutors have filed a criminal case against Mikhail Zherebtsov, former head of Zvenigov Raion Yoshkar-Ola, capital of Marii El, and Vladimir Zaitsev, faculty member of the Mari State Pedagogical Institute, Regnum reported on 6 July, citing the Prosecutor's Office in the republic. They are charged with defaming Marii El President, Leonid Markelov. Prosecutors allege that, during an open meeting on 17 June with the Ambassadors of Estonia, Finland and Hungary, the two publicly defamed the honor and dignity of President Markelov. Commenting on the case, the presidential press service said they would not ignore slanderous statements. Markelov has already won several defamation suits. One such case was against former presidential candidate Aleksandr Korotkov, who was ordered to pay 10,000 rubles' compensation in January 2005; another was against the general director of the Yoshkar-Ola Wood Machine-Building Plant, Valentin Filichkin, and the Yoshkar-Ola advertising agency in March 202; yet another was against the Mayor of Volzhsk, Nikolai Svistunov, the Ekspress-panorama company, and the Dobrye sosedi' newspaper in March 2002. The guilty verdict against Filichkin and the Yoshkar-Ola agency was annulled by the Marii El Supreme Court in 2003.
Perm Inmate Appeals to European Court
Perm human rights activists have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to protect the rights of Aleksandr Fedorov. Fedorov is serving a prison term in a penal institution in Perm Oblast, where he claims to have been beaten by the chief of a detachment of guards, Regnum reported on 6 July, citing the press service of the Perm Regional Human Rights Center. When he complained about the beating, Fedorov was beaten again; after that, he began a hunger strike. Fedorov also claims that he, and several other inmates, have been infected with Hepatitis C. This came about through multiple use of a syringe by prison medical officers.
Head of Samara Branch of Yukos Accused of Tax Evasion
Prosecutors in Samara Oblast have accused Pavel Anisimov, chief executive of the Samara branch of Yukos, Samaraneftegaz, of failing to pay taxes to the tune of 29.2 billion rubles ($1 billion), Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 7 July, citing the Prosecutor's Office. Anisimov went to the Prosecutor's Office in person to hear the charges. In late April, the Russian Supreme Court overruled a ruling by a court in Samara Oblast which had forbidden local prosecutors to file suit against Anisimov, but a week ago, the Samara Oblast court reissued such permission. Anisimov says he intends to fight the ruling.
AvtoVAZ to Get Special Economic Zone
The government of Samara Oblast has decided to set up a special industrial economic zone on the basis of AvtoVAZ. This will be either in the city of Tolyatti or in the oblast's Stavropol Raion, Regnum reported on 7 July. Oblast Vice-Governor Sergei Sychev said that such a zone will put AvtoVAZ on an equal footing with foreign manufacturers and suppliers as regards tax and customs, and facilitate the introduction of new technology. The oblast government has appealed several times concerning this issue to the Russian president and federal government. The president is expected to sign a new federal law on special economic zones very shortly. There are plans to create between four and ten such zones in Russia this year.
Street Protest in Udmurtia
Some 60 local people took to the streets in the Udmurt capital Izhevsk on 4 July to protest against the introduction, on 1 July, of 100 percent payment for housing and municipal services, Regnum reported the same day. The action, which was held in front of the city administrative building, was organized by the Public Council of Pensioners of the Udmurt Republic.
Number of Ruble Millionaires Quintuples in Udmurtia
In 2004, the number of people whose annual incomes exceeded 1 million rubles went up five times by comparison with the previous year, and now stands at 319, Regnum reported on 6 July. In 2004, 278 people earned between one million rubles and ten million; 35 people earned between ten million and 100 million; and six people earned over 100 million rubles.
Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova