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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 7, 2003

7 October 2003
Muslim Women Concerned With Teachers' Appearance
A group of Muslim women has appealed to the Tatar education minister to enforce stricter standards of dress for teachers in schools and kindergartens, reported on 26 September. Elmira Edietullina, the chairwoman of the Muslim Women's Society, said teachers wearing miniskirts do not help the moral education of schoolchildren. The Muslim women have also appealed to the Tatar culture minister and heads of the republic's television companies, complaining about television broadcasts, which they say corrupt youth by propagating the cult of violence.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy on 27 September, Anatolii Pinskii, an adviser at the Russian Education Ministry, said that the Muslim women's move was "a signal that should not be ignored." Pinskii said the appeal may reflect the opinions of a number of the republic's residents and it should be considered. "A teacher's appearance is an important factor in the educational process," he said, adding that the issue is to be regulated by the regional authorities.

Bodies Of Kidnapped KamAZ Officials Found, One Prisoner Released...
The bodies of three of the kidnapped KamAZ officials have been found, the head of the Chally Interior Ministry Feizulla Khosniev and Sergei Brynza, a deputy prosecutor, told a press conference in Chally on 29 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 4 and 6 June, 18 and 21 July, and 7 and 25 August 2003). The bodies of KamAZ Deputy General Manager and Metallurgy Plant General Director Viktor Faber and Metallurgy Plant Economic Department Head Natalya Starodubtseva, who were kidnapped in May, as well as the general director of the Chally Avtomaster company, Yevgenii Kornev, who was kidnapped more than a year ago, were found on 28 September in Tatarstan.

A Chally businessman, founder of the Alisa company and director of the Bulai chocolate factory Bulat Bayazitov, who was kidnapped in July, was released on 27 September, Khosniev said. Bayazitov, imprisoned in the dark and with little food and water, was hospitalized. During the operation to release Bayazitov, seven suspects were detained. A cache of arms was also found, including machine guns, explosives, and the uniforms of various law-enforcement bodies. Implicated in the crimes are some 30 members of the "Tahirjanov" organized crime group, named after its leader Eduard Tahirjanov.

The same day, Tatar Interior Minister Esget Seferov issued a statement saying that Faber and Starodubtseva were probably killed early on in their ordeal after criminals received a large sum of money. On 27 May, Faber reportedly ordered the transfer of 10 million rubles ($326,583) to the Moscow-based Sodbiznesbank. Three bank employees were detained during the investigation. Seferov said that the suspects in the case were linked to some law-enforcement bodies and senior officials, some of them outside Tatarstan.

...As Chally Prosecutor Implicated In Case
The Chally-based newspaper "Chelny LTD" published on 24 September a photo allegedly of Chally Prosecutor Ildus Nefiqov relaxing in a bathhouse with organized crime boss Eduard Tahirjanov. Artur Semigullin, editor in chief of "Chally LTD," told "Vechernyaya Kazan" on 26 September that the photograph was given to the newspaper by relatives of alleged members of Tahirjanov's group, currently in custody.

Tatarstan To Double Oil Deliveries To Ukraine...
Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Minister Khefiz Salikhov told a briefing in the Cabinet of Ministers on 30 September that deliveries of Tatar oil to Ukraine will be doubled from the current 4 million tons a year as a result of a visit by a Tatar government delegation to Kyiv last week, reported the same day. Salikhov said the two sides also agreed to develop joint projects on the assembly of small buses and KamAZ trucks in Ukraine. Following the visit, which was part of the Days of Tatarstan in Ukraine, deliveries of machinery from Vakuummash, Kazankompressormash, Kazan Medical Instrument Plant, the Alnas pump plant, and Tatelektromash will be increased. The bilateral trade turnover with Ukraine, Tatarstan's second-largest trade partner and leader among CIS countries, is $500 million.

...As Tatar-Ukrainian Venture Faces Obstacles To Exports
The Ukrainian State Customs Service on 26 September issued a resolution to end the export of petroleum products, a move that will affect the Tatar-Ukrainian venture Ukrtatnafta, the owner of the country's biggest oil refinery, Kremenchug, "Vedomosti" reported on 30 September. The decision followed a demand by the Ukrainian government that export contracts for oil and petroleum products must be registered in the Energy Ministry and the Economy Ministry.

Ukrtatnafta Chairman Pavel Ovcharenko told the daily that the regulations on registration procedures have not been developed and plants have not had a chance to register their export contracts. Ukrtatnafta observers council Chairman and Tatar First Deputy Prime Minister Rawil Moratov called the move "an extremely unpleasant surprise." He said: "At least nine days will be necessary to register contracts. Subsequently, black oil and clear petroleum products will accumulate in reservoirs and no capacity will be left for new production. Thus, we cannot exclude the possibility of stopping the refinery." Moratov also said the situation could result in the stoppage of contracts, causing some $8 million in losses.

Unified Russia Lists State Duma Candidates From Tatarstan
Russia's Central Election Commission (TsIK) on 28 September registered Unified Russia's list of candidates for the upcoming State Duma elections, with Tatarstan represented by a group of candidates headed by Farid Mukhametshin, chairman of the State Council and head of Unified Russia's local branch, TatarInform reported on 30 October. The list also includes State Duma Deputy Oleg Morozov, chairman of the Duma faction Russian Regions; Kazan Energy University Rector Yurii Nejmiev; Russian Olympic Committee Vice President Aleksandr Kozlovskii; Santekhpribor General Director Enver Mokhametzakirov; Kamgesenergostroi General Director Viktor Yeltsov; State Duma Deputy Mikhail Rokitskii; Tatar Deputy Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Ildar Gilmetdinov; and "Molodezh Tatarstana" Editor in Chief Anbyar Karmeev. In single-mandate districts, Unified Russia listed: Tatar Deputy State Council Chairman Marat Mehdiev (Elmet district No. 23); Tatfondbank directors council Chairman Rinat Gobeidullin (Moscow district No. 24), State Duma Deputy Oleg Morozov (Chally district No. 25); Albert Salikhov, head of the party's Tuben Kama branch (Tuben Kama district No. 26), and Krasnyi Vostok brewery board Chairman Airat Kheirullin (Volga district No. 27).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Replaces Head Of Presidential Staff
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov has appointed Radii Khebirov, former director of the Law Institute at the Bashkir State University, as head of his presidential staff, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 29 September. Khebirov replaced Ildar Gimaev, who was appointed head of the social and economic policy department within the presidential staff. Most likely, however, Gimaev will retire due to poor health.

Meanwhile,, a website maintained by the supporters of Sergei Veremeenko, former head of Mezhprombank and advisor to the Unified Russia party, said the same day that "according to one version of current developments, Gimaev was punished for failing to fulfill the tasks set by President Rakhimov." also reported that there have been rumors that Gimaev was a contender for the post of prime minister.

Russian Prosecutors Confirm Corruption In Bashkir Interior Ministry
According to the "Versiya" weekly on 29 September, Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Gerasimov has published a report into alleged corruption in the Bashkir Interior Ministry. A complaint about possible corruption was initially filed by Aleksandr Torshin, deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council, and Mikhail Grishankov, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma committee on security. The report says that high-ranking officials within the ministry had "illegally cooperated" with a charitable foundation established by the notorious mob leader Erast Fomichev. As a result of the report, Interior Minister Rafail Divaev has received an official warning, while his first deputy Nikolai Patrikeev was dismissed. The prosecutor's report also cited numerous cases of violence, forgery, and other crimes by Bashkir police.

Police Arrest Car Bomb Suspect
Investigators have arrested the owner of a vehicle wired with explosives, which was defused in downtown Ufa on 27 September, RIA-Novosti reported yesterday (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 September 2003). The 34-year-old suspect, who was detained on 28 September, has reportedly said that he had sold the car to unidentified individuals without arranging a sales contract. According to law-enforcement officials, the bomb was made from a land mine and a grenade. The mine was the same used by terrorists on 9 May 2002, when 45 people were killed during a Victory Day parade in Kaspiisk.

Rakhimov's Delay In Announcing Re-Election Bid Said To Be Just Politics
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov said on 26 September that he does not exclude the possibility of not running in the 7 December presidential elections "if really decent people, who will be able to be useful for the republic, worry for it, not seek to increase their wealth" enter the race, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 29 September. Rakhimov said that he was glad that former Mezhprombank head Sergei Veremeenko and former LUKoil Vice President Relif Safin joined the race, because "the more candidates there are, the more interesting the elections will be." The daily commented that "being a truly oriental-style politician, Rakhimov decided to delay his official announcement to take part in the elections as long as possible."

"Kommersant-Daily" also cited Yabloko party members in Bashkortostan as not believing Rakhimov's uncertainty, suggesting that "he is using his traditional scenario, where Murtaza Gobeidullovich pretends to be tired and unwilling to take on another presidential term, but then the presidential administration arranges numerous �letters from the working collectives published by the local press and talking Rakhimov into running in the elections."

Displaced Chief Of Presidential Staff Prefers To Stay On Rakhimov's Team
Ildar Gimaev, the former chief of staff of Rakhimov's administration, received offers to run the campaign headquarters of other presidential candidates, a reliable source in the republican government told an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent on 30 September (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 30 September 2003). Gimaev, who was appointed head of the social and economic policies department of the presidential staff, rejected the offers to leave Rakhimov's team, the source said.

However, the source also said that although Gimaev "referred to his poor health in his resignation application, he is said to have used this excuse only to avoid further pressure from Rakhimov, who sought to replace him before the presidential elections."

Rakhimov Files Libel Suit Against Opposition Weekly
President Rakhimov filed a lawsuit at the Sovietskii District court in Ufa on 1 October seeking 10 million rubles ($327,000) in damages from "Russkii obozrevatel" journalist Enver Yumagulov, whose 29 August article accused Rakhimov of sabotaging the construction of the Polief chemical plant and planning to sell it for one-20th its market price, RosBalt reported. The suit claims that the author did not present any facts to confirm his statements and infringed on the honor, dignity, and business reputation of the Bashkir president. In addition, it demands the paper publish a retraction.

Businessman Killed In Ishimbai Police Office
The Moscow-based "Mir novostei" weekly reported on 1 October that the chief of detectives in the Ishimbai city police shot local businessman Aleksandr Melnikov dead in his office. Melnikov was reportedly there to testify in a racketeering case against local police officers. The unnamed chief detective, who claimed that he used the gun in self-defense, was arrested and charged with murder, the paper reported.

Moscow Launches Forced Debt Repayment Procedure Against Bashkir Industries
According to "Kommersant" on 2 October, the Russian Tax Ministry has launched a procedure to force the repayment of 12 billion rubles ($390 million) in taxes that are owed by Bashkir oil refineries. In 2001-02, the republic's petrochemical industries registered their facilities in the Baikonur off-shore zone in Kazakhstan, but the scheme was later uncovered by the Tax Ministry and in August 2003 it declared a 50-day deadline for the companies to voluntarily repay what they owed. "Kommersant" also sited a source in the Bashkir government as saying that Bashkir President Rakhimov ordered UralSib Bank to deal with the repayment, which is currently the subject of heated debate in the republic in light of December presidential elections in the republic.

Rakhimov Receives Human Rights Award
The International Committee for the Defense of Human Rights has awarded President Murtaza Rakhimov the "Honor and Dignity" award, RosBalt reported on 3 October, citing the presidential press service. Committee Chairman Igor Danilov sent a letter to the presidential administration saying that the award marked Rakhimov's services "to the international community and personal contribution to the defense of human rights and strengthening international relations." The Kyiv-based committee has 42 offices around the world, including in Russia, Great Britain, Austria, the United States, and the Czech Republic, and in the International Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Kirov Oblast Speaker Runs For Governor...
Kirov Oblast Legislative Assembly Chairman Aleksandr Strelnikov has informed the electoral commission that he will run for the oblast governor, NTA Privolzhe reported on 30 September. Strelnikov spoke against reversing privatization in the Kirov Oblast and called for the division of the posts of governor and the head of the oblast government. Gubernatorial elections will be held in the oblast on 7 December.

...As Incumbent Joins State Duma Race.
Kirov Oblast Governor Vladimir Sergeyenkov informed the oblast's electoral commission that he will take part in the Russian State Duma elections, RosBalt reported on 3 October. Sergeyenkov proposed his candidacy himself and will run alongside 15 other candidates. Before being elected Kirov Oblast administration head in October 1996, Sergeyenkov was a State Duma deputy.

Komi-Permyak Okrug Provided Special Status In Perm Krai.
The heads of Perm Oblast and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug have agreed that the okrug will be granted a "special status" within the Perm Krai that will be established as a result of the two subjects' merger, RosBalt reported on 1 October, citing the Perm Oblast gubernatorial administration. The sides also agreed on the principles of drawing up the 2005, 2006, and 2007 budgets, according to which the okrug's financial security will be maintained at a pre-merger level. Additional payments to residents of northern regions will be preserved in the okrug and its higher educational institutions will receive financial aid from the krai. The Perm Krai Legislative Assembly will unite deputies elected on party lists, in single-mandate electoral districts, and deputies elected in the Komi-Premyak Autonomous Okrug.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Miners On Strike.
More than 6,500 miners from the Severouralsk Bauxite Mine (SUBR) have continued to strike, demanding that their wages be increased to 30,000 rubles (nearly $1,000) a year and their output be reduced, Novyi Region reported on 6 October. Some 500 miners are striking underground, at a depth of between 290 meters and 770 meters, supported by some 6,000 colleagues above ground. The strike, the biggest in the last three years, began on 1 October when miners refused to leave the mines after being told that they had to increase their output. On 4 October, strikers rejected a 10 percent wage increase proposed by the SUBR management. Representatives of SUAL Holding, the owner of SUBR, have refused to begin negotiations until the miners leave the mines. Acting Sverdlovsk Oblast Government Chairwoman Galina Kovaleva backed SUAL Holding saying that the miners' demands are illegal and the protesters should end the strike and take their complaints to court. Kovaleva said the average wage at SUBR was 9,000 rubles a year and that the enterprise is among the three best-paid in the Russian mining industry.

National-Bolsheviks Mark Anniversary Of 1993 Events.
Over hundred followers of the National-Bolshevik Party joined a candlelit procession in downtown Yekaterinburg on 3 October to mark the 10th anniversary of the "October coup" in Moscow, reported on 4 October. The participants marched from the Lenin monument on the 1905 Square along Lenin Prospect accompanied by some 15 policemen and then held a meeting for some 30 minutes. No incidents were reported during the event.

Udmurt Constitution Amended...
The Udmurt State Council passed on 30 September amendments to the republic's constitution, which will extend the terms of the local president and parliament from four to five years, "Susanin" reported on 1 October. The provisions will come into force after the next presidential and parliamentary elections. The legislature also harmonized the republic's electoral law with federal legislation.

...As Does Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
The Yamal-Nenets State Duma has passed in the first reading an amendment to the okrug charter permitting Governor Yurii Neyelov to be elected for a third term in office, reported on 30 September, citing the parliament's press service. According to the amendment, the federal law that restricts regional leaders to two terms in office applies only to terms that began after the law's adoption. Thus, Neyelov, who was elected okrug head in 1996 and 2000, can be re-elected for another term.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova