Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 8, 2003

8 July 2003
Volga Federal District Governors Gather In Kazan To Discuss Development Strategies...
The heads of Volga Federal District entities and the speakers of regional parliaments gathered on 3 July in Kazan for a two-day forum on strategies of regional development, republican media reported the same day. Speaking at the forum, its co-chair, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, said no strategy of development for the country has been developed in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the goal of doubling the country's gross domestic product within a decade, but Russia's current social-economic program does not clarify how it can be fulfilled so regions must develop their own programs, Shaimiev said. He also said that there is insufficient cooperation between regions and called for developing joint projects between Volga Federal District entities in machine building, ship building, and the production of equipment for the oil and gas sectors. Shaimiev also criticized federal laws that contradict the Russian Constitution and encroach upon the powers of regions and the establishment of parallel federal and regional governing bodies. Presidential Volga Federal District envoy Sergei Kirienko, who also co-chairs the forum, said the gathering will contribute to the development of a new package of economic programs aimed at doubling gross domestic product. This package can be based on the unique experience of such regions as Tatarstan, Kirienko added.

...Hold Greater Volga Meeting
The officials from the regions of the Volga Federal District held in Kazan on 3 July a session of the interregional association Greater Volga, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The association's vice president, Penza Oblast Governor Vasilii Bochkarev, was elected as the new president of the organization, while Chavash President Nikolai Fedorov was named the vice president. Bochkarev replaces Mordovian President Nikolai Merkushkin. The Saratov Oblast was withdrawn from the association at the request of Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov, who said the association in its current shape is inefficient. It is necessary to create a new body on a different basis, Ayatskov said, adding that only regions in the Volga Federal District should be allowed as members. Currently, the Greater Volga unites 12 entities of the Volga region as well as the Volgograd and Astrakhan oblasts, which do not belong to the Volga Federal District. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev also said that the association's activity is not adequately recognized by federal bodies.

Shaimiev, Zorin Say State National Policy Concept To Be Amended
Implementation of the state national policy and resolutions of the Third World Tatar Congress were on the agenda of a meeting between Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Vladimir Zorin, the Russian minister without portfolio for national policy, on 4 July in Kazan, Tatar-inform and reported the same day. The two agreed that the concept of state national policy needs further development and improvement. Specifically, they emphasized the need to develop corresponding legislation, to take additional measures to promote rights on national language, information, and culture, and to create mechanisms of cooperation between public national organizations and executive and legislative authority bodies. Zorin said that according to the preliminary results of the October census, no one nation or ethnic group had been lost despite the turmoil of the transition period. Their number might even increase, he added. Shaimiev and Zorin also discussed preparations for the celebration of Kazan's millennium in 2005.

Parliament Commission Promotes Tatar-Turkish Lyceums
The State Council Commission on Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues on 2 July praised the activities of Tatar-Turkish lyceums in Tatarstan, noting that they observe local legislation and secure good education for their students, reported the same day. The commission also emphasized that there are no trends of Islamization or politicization in their work. Seven Tatar-Turkish lyceums were founded in the 1990s in Kazan, Chally, Tuben Kama, Elmet, and Bogelme under an agreement between the Tatar Education Ministry and the Ertugrul Gazi educational society in which 1,608 children study. This year, students at lyceums -- which total 0.3 percent of Tatarstan's schoolchildren -- won 37 percent of the award-winning places in republican academic competitions for secondary school students. Among some of the problems the lyceums face, delays as long as six-months were reported in the issuing of visas for Turks teaching at lyceums. Those delays are caused by law-enforcement bodies and by the Russian consulate in Istanbul, it was reported. Another problem for lyceums is getting customs bodies to approve the delivery of Turkish humanitarian aid from the Ertugrul Gazi society. Over the past three years, the Russian government commission on humanitarian and technical aid denied permission for the delivery of some $100,000 worth of aid to lyceums.

Russian-Kazakh Consortium To Promote KamAZ In Kazakhstan
An agreement on the establishment of the automotive consortium Kazakhstan-KamAZ was signed on 1 July in Astana, Kazakhstan, RIA-Novosti-Privolzhe reported the same day, citing the KamAZ press service. Russian Deputy Industry, Science, and Technology Minister Andrei Svinarenko and Kazakh Industry and Trade Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybaev attended the signing ceremony. The consortium, set up by a Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission, unites KamAZ, Astana-Finance -- which will both receive 20 percent stakes -- and six more companies, including the Semipalatinsk Machine Building Plant, the Kustanai Engine Repair Plant, Kazakhstan's metallurgy companies, and the Akmola Automotive Center KamAZ. Those companies will each have 10 percent stakes. The consortium will develop the assembly of automobiles and special vehicles on KamAZ chassis and the assembly of tractors from KamAZ-produced spare parts in Kazakhstan. It will also develop financial schemes for the sale of KamAZ products on the Kazakh market and increase the network of KamAZ service centers.

Shaimiev Says Party Membership Is Essential For Officials
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told reporters on 28 June in Moscow that "the time of parties has come" and "officials of any level cannot now avoid party membership." Shaimiev made his comment following a meeting of Unified Russia supporters the same day in Moscow. Shaimiev, who is co-chairman of the Unified Russia Supreme Council, said that in Tatarstan, Unified Russia dominates and enjoys support from the people. Shaimiev said that in order to obtain superiority over the Communist Party in elections, Unified Russia must promote a policy attractive for all segments of the population together with market reforms.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkir Authorities Accuse Tatar Public Center Of Extremist Activity
The Russian Justice Ministry's Chief Bashkir Directorate has issued a warning to Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center (TIU) referring to the federal law on counteracting extremist activity, RosBalt reported on 30 June. TIU Chairman Airat Gyinietullin told the news agency the same day that the warning came in response to the organization's 1 June appeal to Bashkir residents, which referred to the "pro-Bashkir nature of national policy" in the republic and called for the introduction of proportional quotas in governing bodies for representatives of different nationalities. The directorate commented that "the document is aimed at destabilizing the social and political situation" in Bashkortostan and "could rouse interethnic discord." The directorate said that if the TIU again violates the law, it could be disbanded by a court ruling.

Russian Foreign Ministry Urges Switzerland To Clarify Position On Midair-Collision Issue
Moscow is hoping for an official comment on the establishment on 27 June by the Swiss state air-traffic-control company Skyguide along with the Swiss and German governments of a fund to compensate relatives of victims of the 1 July 2002 midair collision over southern Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 July 2002), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Radov told Switzerland's charge d'affaires in Moscow, Ann Boti, on 30 June, Interfax reported on 1 July. Specifically, the size of the fund, terms of compensation, and the order of payments are among issues of interest, according to the ministry. The ministry also pointed out that despite Russian appeals, lawyers and other representatives of victims' relatives and of Bashkir Airlines were not involved in the negotiations on the issue of compensation and it insisted that they be included as soon as possible.

Tatar Civic Leaders Uninvited Guests For Rakhimov...
Leaders of Bashkortostan's opposition Tatar public groups -- including Tatar Public Center head Airat Gyinietullin, Natural Cultural Autonomy head Zahir Khekimov, Milli Mejlis Chairman Marat Ramazanov, and Aq Qalfaq women's organization head Kifaya Fazyltdinova -- were prevented from taking part in a meeting of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov with the republic's Tatar public figures on 2 July, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Khekimov told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 2 July that police guarding the presidential residence stopped them as they went to join the meeting, saying they were not on the list of participants. Khekimov managed to join the gathering after he presented identification as a State Duma deputy's assistant but presidential administration press department head Emir Yuldashbaev showed him the door, saying, "an uninvited guest is worse than a Tatar." At the meeting, composer Alik Loqmanov spoke of the necessity of providing official status for the Tatar language in Bashkortostan. Rakhimov answered that Tatars had good reasons for declaring Tatar a state language in Tatarstan but that this will never take place in Bashkortostan. According to Bashinform, meeting participants noted the stability, calmness, friendship, and brotherhood of peoples living in the republic and called for not disturbing that stability. Rakhimov said he is going to charge governing bodies with paying attention to national and cultural problems of the republic's Tatar population and preservation and development of Tatar people's spiritual values. Each of Bashkortostan's peoples should be provided conditions to satisfy its spiritual and cultural needs, he added.

...And For Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress
Not a single leader of Tatar public groups in Bashkortostan was included on the list of guests of the 5 July second stage of Bashkortostan's Tatar Congress, an organization loyal to the republic's leadership, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 2 July. There is only one Tatar among the heads of the congress's organizing committee, while three others, including its chairman, Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov, and two his deputies, are Bashkirs. Only two officials from Tatarstan were invited to the congress: World Tatar Congress Executive Committee Chairman Renat Zakirov and Deputy State Council Chairman Robert Minnullin. Meanwhile, other guests include State Duma deputies, Bashkir State Assembly deputies, Bashkir presidential administration employees, Bashkir government members, heads of higher educational institutions and research institutes, and national and cultural group leaders. Even among the 21 heads of national-cultural autonomies invited to the forum, there are leaders of Polyak, Mordovian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Greek, and other autonomies but there is not one leader of the republic's Tatar national-cultural autonomies.

Court Rules That Search In Mezhprombank Office Illegal...
The Ufa Lenin Raion court ruled on 3 July that the search in the Mezhprombank's Ufa branch by the Bashkir Interior Ministry on 11 June as part of the investigation of a fraud case involving the bank's promissory notes (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 12, 17, 18, and 25 June 2003) was illegal, "Kommersant-Daily" reported the next day. According to the court resolution, ministry employees violated legal procedures during the search. Mezhprombank appealed against the action after police seized documents, several computers, and stamps from the office. The appeal claimed that Interior Ministry employees were used as witnesses during the search and that documents with no relation to the criminal case were seized.

...As Mezhprombank Demands That Ministry Pays For Damages
The head of the legal directorate of Mezhprombank's Ufa branch, Aleksandr Panishev, said on 3 July that the bank will file a suit to demand that the Bashkir interior minister pay for the damages caused during the 11 June search in the bank's Ufa office, RosBalt reported the same day. Panishev refused to announce the cost of the damage and only said that it has been calculated. He said the sum includes only damage that resulted directly from the bank's period of nonoperation during the six hours the search lasted. The bank also will demand that interior bodies give back seized property and documents.

Justice Ministry Warns Opposition Tatar Organization
The Chief Directorate of the Russian Justice Ministry in Bashkortostan sent materials about the activities of the Tatar Public Center (TIU) to the republic's prosecutor's office, RosBalt reported on 4 July. The head of the directorate's department on registration of public organizations, Aliye Kheibullina, told the news agency that the appeal calls on Bashkir prosecutor Florid Baikov to react to the second warning issued by the directorate against TIU. The warning came in response to TIU's initiative to hold an alternative census in Bashkortostan which allegedly violates the federal law on population censuses. Kheibullina said the warning is the second one issued against TIU this current year. The first one claimed that the organization violated the law on extremist activity by its statement about the "pro-Bashkir nature of the national policy in Bashkortostan" and the demand to introduce ethnic quotas in state bodies (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 1 July 2003). Repeated warnings as regards TIU may result in the abolishment of the organization through a court verdict, Kheibullina said.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Perm Interior Head To Be Dismissed For Poor Antiterrorist Efforts
Sergei Kirienko, the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, said on 6 July that the head of the Russian Interior Ministry's Perm Directorate Valerii Gertsen will be dismissed after an inspection of the directorate's antiterrorist activities, NTA Privolzhe reported the same day. Kirienko was speaking in Ulyanovsk at a meeting of the district's Federal Security Service (FSB) heads. Kirienko said that the directorate's work was unsatisfactory in many respects. "Izvestia" reported on 4 July that plaster casts of explosive devices placed in the Perm city bus station and railway station were found only after 30-40 minutes, respectively. At the Galogen chemical plant, FSB officers received instructions from employees on the location of chlorine and ammonia facilities. Kirienko added that the main problem concerning antiterrorist commissions was that they were vigilant for two or three months after attacks, but then get bogged down in bureaucracy. FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev, who took part in the event, said, "the threat of terrorism is real, not far-fetched, and exclusively serious."

More Parties Support Rossel For Governor...
On 5 July, delegates at a Unified Russia conference in Nizhnii Tagil proposed the incumbent governor of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Eduard Rossel for reelection, Novyi Region reported two days later. Previously the regional branch of Unified Russia was in opposition to the For Native Urals electoral bloc, headed by Rossel, but recently the general council of the party has decided to back the incumbent in the oblast's gubernatorial elections. Unified Russia General Council member and State Duma deputy Frants Klintsevich took part in the conference and said the party leadership had made its choice for the sake of political stability. Some branch members, however, opposed Rossel, but only managed to collect 47 votes, against 296 in support of the incumbent. On 3 July, the Russian Party of Life and the For Native Urals bloc also voted for Rossel.

...As Yabloko Proposes Its Leader...
At its conference on 5 July, the Yabloko branch in the Sverdlovsk Oblast proposed the candidacy of branch leader Yurii Kuznetsov for oblast governor, Novyi Region reported on 7 July. All 60 delegates at the conference voted unanimously.

...While Opposition Stages Anti-Rossel Meeting
More than 4,500 people, many of them students and pensioners, took part in a meeting in front of the Sverdlovsk Oblast government building on 4 July to demand the dismissal of Governor Eduard Rossel and accused him of having ties to Uralmash, an organized crime syndicate, Novyi Region reported the same day. The action was organized by Anton Bakov, the leader of the Mai movement.

Court Reinstates Dismissed Parliament Speaker
The Sverdlovsk Oblast Court on 3 July upheld an appeal by dismissed oblast duma speaker Nikolai Voronin and restored him to his post, Novyi Region reported the same day. "Vedomosti" commented on 4 July that opposition factions in the oblast duma that sought to postpone gubernatorial elections from September to December but failed to do so, had dismissed the pro-governor speaker Voronin and his deputy Nikolai Yezerskii (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Review," 30 April 2003).

Local Authorities To Compensate Residents For Lack Of Heating In Winter
Residents from the Vostochnyi village in the Sverdlovsk Oblast have been awarded damages of 10,000 rubles-15,000 rubles ($329-$493) in moral and material compensation because of lack of heating in their apartments during the winter months, Novyi Region reported on 7 July. The Serov Raion Court ordered the Serov Raion administration to pay the damages. As a result of an accident involving municipal-service facilities that occurred on 9 December 2002, 31 houses, a hospital, and a secondary school in Vostochnyi were without heating and the supply was restored only after two months. The prosecutors' office concluded that the accident occurred because of poor maintenance of heating pipes, which caused 4 million rubles of damage.

Scholars Study Disappearing Mansii Language
An group of some 30 scholars, experts, and students left on 5 July for the Ivdel Raion of the Sverdlovsk Oblast to study the Mansii language for two weeks, Novyi Region reported on 2 July. The trip was organized by the Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug duma and the Sverdlovsk Oblast ombudsman. The group aims to collect oral and written samples of the Mansii language to prevent it from becoming extinct. Mansii culture is rapidly disappearing in Sverdlovsk Oblast as all of the 194 Mansii people living in the oblast are relatives and no marriages between local Mansiis have taken place in the past decade.

Tyumen Oblast, Khanty-Mansii Okrug Air-Traffic Controllers To Take Part In New Hunger Strike
Mikhail Illarionov, the head of the Tyumen aviators trade union, told "Tyumenskaya liniya" on 4 July that Tyumen air- traffic controllers will join the Russia-wide hunger strike scheduled for 13 August. An earlier nationwide strike in late 2002 resulted in the signing on 25 December 2002 an agreement between the Russian Transport Ministry, the State Corporation on Air-Traffic Management, and the Air-Traffic Controllers Trade Union Federation. Controllers say, however, that the air-traffic corporation has not fulfilled its obligations as their wages have increased by only 10 percent instead of 30 percent as of 1 June. Surgut air-traffic controllers also said on 3 July that they will join the Russia-wide protest on 13 August, reported the same day.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova