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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 16, 2002

16 August 2002
KamAZ To Decrease Production
KamAZ general director Sergei Kogogin said his company's business plan has been ruined because of poor economic results in the first half of 2002, reported on 12 August. Kogogin said a new business plan will be drawn up during an upcoming meeting of KamAZ's board of directors, adding that the target for truck production for this year will be reduced from 24,000 to 21,000. The automotive concern initially planned to produce 26,000 trucks, an increase of 5,000 compared to 2001, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 10 August.

Court Tells Shaimiev To Answer Complaints Of Former Dormitory Residents
The Kazan Vakhitov Raion Court heard a complaint against Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev on 9 August filed by six former residents of the Kazan Construction Academy dormitory on Yershov Street that collapsed on 8 May, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 10 August (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 9 May 2002). The plaintiffs claimed that beginning on 6 October 2000, residents complained repeatedly to Shaimiev, claiming that the building was in extremely poor condition and was in danger of collapsing. Following the collapse, residents once again appealed to Shaimiev for assistance in obtaining new residences. The plaintiffs claimed that the state has to provide them with new housing and should also pay them for moral and financial damages.

The Kazan city administration has allocated 10 million rubles ($317,000) to build a new dormitory and has also offered former residents new apartments equal in size to the ones in which they lived prior to the collapse, though the plaintiffs were not satisfied with this offer.

The court ruled that Shaimiev is obliged to answer the complaints of the plaintiffs personally, though no decision was reached about what sort of answer he should give them.

Government Discusses Capital-Investments Program
Tatar Deputy Prime Minister and Economy and Industry Minister Aleksei Pakhomov told a government meeting on 12 August that capital investments in the republic will total 2.04 billion rubles ($64.7 million) in 2002 under the republican capital-investments program, reported the next day. He said that in accordance with the program, 297.3 million rubles will be allocated for housing construction, 100 million rubles for the development of the telecommunications sector, and 28.2 million rubles for transportation. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said the named amount is a "guaranteed minimum" and may be increased under favorable conditions.

The program still needs to be presented to President Shaimiev and then discussed by the republican legislature.

New Schools Being Built As Number Of Students Decreasing
The head of the Tatglavinveststroi (the Tatar state investment and construction company) construction board told a meeting of the Tatar Cabinet of Ministers on 13 August that his company will supervise the construction of 20 new secondary-school buildings throughout the republic by 1 September, reported the same day. Tatar companies built 14 percent of all schools constructed in Russia in 2001, following only Moscow and Moscow Oblast in this sphere.

Tatglavinveststroi plans to invest 517 million rubles ($16.4 million) into the construction of the school buildings.

Meanwhile, Tatar Education Minister Faris Kharisov told the briefing that the number of schoolchildren in the republic has decreased by 100,000 over the past five years. He added that 48,650 students graduated from secondary schools this past spring, whereas there will be only 40,550 new students entering the first grade in the fall. Kharisov stressed that this figure will decrease even further in coming years. As a result of the decrease in the number of pupils, fewer teachers will be needed and a number of school buildings will not be used. Kharisov said rural schools will be most affected by the decrease in students and, therefore, will have to be restructured.

Ak Bars Bank Named One Of Russia's 30 Largest Banks
Tatarstan's Ak Bars Bank was ranked among Russia's 30 largest banks, reported on 14 August, citing the bank's press service. The bank, along with NIKoil bank and Impeksbank, were added to the list based on their results in the first half of this year, while Surgutneftegazbank, ABN AMRO, and Deutsche Bank were dropped from it.

Marjani Mosque To Be Reconstructed
The head of the Kazan city administration's Economy and Industry Committee, Boris Pavlov, said the city will allocate 27 million rubles ($856,000) for the reconstruction of Kazan's Marjani mosque, reported on 9 August. A tender will be held in the near future to select a company to carry out the project under which a madrasah, an orphanage, a senior-citizens' home, a Muslim hospital, a Marjani house museum, and other facilities are to be constructed by 2005.

Number Of Children Killed In Traffic Accidents On The Rise
Thirty-five children were killed in traffic accidents in the first six months of 2002, an increase of 45.8 percent over the same period in 2001, reported on 15 August, citing the press service of the Tatar Traffic Security Inspectorate. The number of those injured during the same period also increased by 6.5 percent in comparison with the same period last year, while the overall number of traffic accidents increased by 5.5 percent to 362.

Case On Passport Photographs Heading To Republic's Top Court
The Tatar Court has scheduled a hearing for 26 August regarding an appeal filed by Tuben Kama resident Gulnur Nurieva against the verdict reached by the Kazan Vakhitov Raion Court on 2 August prohibiting Muslim women from wearing head coverings in their passport photographs, reported on 15 August (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 13 August). Nurieva is one of three Muslim women who filed a suit against the passport-visa service of the Tatar Interior Ministry demanding permission to wear traditional head coverings in passport photographs.

Attackers Raid Market, Steal Watermelons
Several assailants attacked merchants at a Kazan market and stole watermelons valued at 2,100 rubles ($67) after threatening to kill the traders, reported on 16 August, adding that police had detained two of the alleged attackers on 15 August, though the date of the actual attack was not reported. The report said that the two detainees were members of the so-called Kirov Street criminal group.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Tatar Congress In Bashkortostan Issues Resolutions On Nation's Future
The 10 August congress of Tatar public organizations in Bashkortostan adopted a resolution saying that the "republican government's goal for the coming October census is to announce the Bashkir people [as] the second-largest ethnic group in the region and to prevent the precise reporting of Tatar population figures," an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 13 August. Another congress resolution addressed the Bashkir people asking them to "rely on themselves for multiplying without oppressing the other nationalities living in Bashkortostan." Tatar public organizations expressed concern about the growing spread of "Russian chauvinism and fascism" and asked federal legislators to grant official status to the Tatar language in Russia "because it is spoken by the second major ethnic group" in the country (according to the 1989 census). Organizations within the Tatar rights movement in Bashkortostan also criticized the leadership of the World Tatar Congress for "not opposing the genocide of Tatars" in Bashkortostan.

Republican Official: Poor Quality Of Products Accompanying Slow Growth Of Industrial Output
An RFE/RL Ufa correspondent quoted Amran Murashin, the head of Bashkortostan's standardization center, as saying on 14 August that although republican industries managed to achieve a 0.9 percent growth during the first six months of 2002 compared to the first half of 2001, 70 percent of 274 checkups made this year by his center at local enterprises revealed violations of technological standards. Murashin stated that "radical modernization needs to be made to production facilities in order to ensure the real economic growth in the republic and the economy's effective operation after Russia becomes a WTO member."

Poor State Of Gas Pipes Causes Concern
"Respublika Bashkortostan" wrote on 8 August that according to Andrei Vasilyev, the head of the Ufa branch of the economic department of Russia's Gazservis Company, some 40 percent of the pipelines in Bashkortostan's capital and its suburbs "are potentially dangerous for the residents�because underground gas pipes have been used for more than 40 years and are worn out." Vasilyev emphasized that industrial enterprises located in and around Ufa have been persistently refusing to pay for their gas pipelines maintenance for two years and their total debt to Gazservis reaches "millions of rubles" (1 million rubles is equal to $31,700).

Government Asks Media To Promote Census
Bashkortostan's minister of press and mass information, Zufar Timerbulatov, called a meeting of the chiefs of the republic's newspapers and other media to discuss the national census in October, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 12 August. He noted that the media campaign for promoting the census was especially important in light of recent public opinion polls which revealed that one-third of the population is not planning to participate in the census. It was agreed at the meeting that all of Bashkortostan's papers will publish a countdown of the days left until the census on their front pages.

Federal Official Says Almost Half Of University Students Pay For Education
Valerii Gribanov, the Russian Education Ministry official in charge for regional policies and inspections, was quoted by an RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa on 12 August as saying that the number of university students paying for an education "contradicted the [state estimated] welfare level" of the republic's population. He said as much as 49 percent of students are paying for their education and, according to nationwide official statistics, in 2001 students represented 3.74 percent of population, which is 0.47 percent higher than in the previous year.

Government Pledges Strict Measures Against Managers Of Debtor Companies
Bashkortostan's prime minister, Rafael Baydavletov, held a government meeting on 15 August to announce that managers of local state-owned industries should regularly present reports on the state of wage payments to their workers. Baydavletov added that the arrears situation will "be under constant and strict control of the government and we'll have to say farewell to the negligent directors." Currently the total of back wages in the republic exceeds 1 billion rubles ($31.7 million). (For more details please see RFE/RL's "Tatar-Bashkir Report," 16 August 2002).

More HIV Infected In Bashkortostan
Eighteen more people were found to be HIV positive during the week from 5-11 August, Bashkortostan state radio reported on 12 August. Currently the number of registered carriers of the virus has reached 3,351 in the republic, with 976 of them being discovered this year. Dirty syringes used by drug addicts remain the major reason for the spread of HIV in the republic and young people aged 18 to 30 represent the bulk (76.7 percent) of those infected.

Bashkir Airlines Uncertain About Possible Replacement For Crashed Tu-154
Bashkir Airlines (BA) General Director Nikolai Odegov said on 15 August that BA might purchase a Tatarstan-produced Tu-214 passenger plane to replace the Tu-154 which collided with a DHL cargo plane on 1 July in Germany, Rosbalt agency reported on 14 August. However, Odegov noted that his company "has not yet decided whether to buy the Ulyanovsk-produced Tu-204, the Kazan-produced Tu-214, or the RRG aircraft being developed by Sukhoi's Civil Aircraft Company."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Survey: Maris Suffer From Disrespect Of Their Nationality
Some half of Maris and Russians and 26 percent of Tatars questioned by sociologists from the Marii Vasilev Research Institute said they faced situations when their ethnic dignity was wounded, VolgaInform reported on 12 August. The survey was conducted among 895 residents above 15 years old in Marii El's three cities -- Yoshkar-Ola, Volzhsk, and Kozmodemyansk -- as well as in four villages and six raions. According to the survey data, 43 percent of Maris said they encounter a disrespectful attitude toward their nationality. Every third Mari and every fourth Tatar questioned noted a disrespectful attitude of representatives of other nations in the republic toward their native language. Some 27 percent of Maris, 17 percent of Tatars, and 13 percent of Russians feel other people's disdain as regards their ethnic traditions.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of Maris in Marii El communicate with their parents in their native language, and 64 percent communicate with their husbands and wives in Marii. Among Tatars living in Marii El, those numbers are 66 percent and 35 percent respectively. Some 81 percent of Maris said their native language is Marii, while the number of Tatars who called Tatar their native language is 84 percent. Some 82 percent of Tatars speak both Marii and Russian, 63.1 percent of Tatars speak Tatar and Russian, while 16.9 percent of Tatars speak Tatar, Russian, and Marii. Sixty percent of Maris expressed concern about the future of their native language, while some 20 percent said their ethnic rights and freedoms are restricted in the republic and 40 percent suffered ethnically motivated humiliation. At the same time, some 50 percent of Tatars, 32 percent of Russians, and 18 percent of Maris living in Marii El were in favor of interethnic marriages.

United Arab Emirates To Invest $20 Million In Nizhnii
The Nizhnii Novgorod petrochemical company Sibur-Neftekhim and a consortium of companies from the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement to begin implementation in Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast of two projects on manufacturing petrochemical products and on transportation of oil products through the international North-South transport corridor, oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev said, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 August. Consortium general director Mohammed Izan told the agency that $20 million will be invested in the projects over the next three years. He said these are the first investments by UAE businessmen in Russia. The project will start in the fourth quarter of this year.

Pro-Fascist Leaflets Distributed In Perm
Pro-fascist leaflets addressed to "dear Aryan brother" appeared in the center of Perm on 14 August, Region-Inform-Perm reported the same day. The leaflet directs insults toward ethnic non-Russians (inorodtsy), followers of non-Orthodox faiths, sexual minorities, modern-music fans, admirers of the Soviet system, and even Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaflets list the postal address, pager number, and place and time of gathering of Perm neo-fascists. The agency quoted officials from the Perm administration as saying they already dealt with similar leaflets spread by the Russian Orthodox national-socialist movement in the spring.

Perm Oblast Administration Staff To Be Reduced By 10 Percent
Perm Oblast Governor Yurii Trutnev signed a decree reducing the oblast administration staff by 10 percent, firing a total of 127 employees, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 14 August. The agency cited Trutnev's interview with "Novyi kompanion" weekly, in which he said that the number of municipal administration officials is also to be reduced. Trutnev said the measure will allow funds in the budget to pay salaries to medics and other state budget employees.

Muslim Board Says Census Questions Don't Contradict Islam
"Samara segodnya" cited unidentified representatives of the Samara Oblast Muslim Religious Board (DUM) as saying that a questionnaire to be used in the October 2002 Russian census does not contain any questions contradicting Islam. DUM calls on Muslims to take part in the census as it is the obligation of each Muslim and affects the country's well-being. DUM representatives believe that the upcoming census will count more precisely the number of Muslims in Russia, which is currently some 15 million residents. According to the 1989 census data, 11.8 million Muslims lived in Russia at that time. From 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims live in Samara Oblast.

'Double' Candidates Registered In Saratov Duma Elections
Candidates with similar names were registered in nine of 35 electoral districts in the Saratov Oblast Duma elections, RosBalt reported on 9 August. Oblast electoral commission head Vladimir Mustafin told a press conference the same day that in the 5th electoral district, three candidates whose name is "Maltsev," one of them the oblast duma secretary, are on the ballot, while in the 18th district, two candidates have their "doubles."

The registration of candidates has been completed and a total of 171 people will take part in the elections, Privolzhe news agency reported on 14 August. Ten applicants were refused registration, 13 withdrew their candidacies, while 22 failed to present to the electoral commission either signatures or electoral security.

Nationalist Party Presents Its Program In Yekaterinburg
Billboards of the nationalist Revival (Vozrozhdenie) party have appeared in Yekaterinburg, "Novyi region" reported on 14 August. They present the party's program aiming for the creation of a Greater Russia. The agency cited party leader Yevgenii Ishchenko as calling for the restriction of migration into Russia from Asian countries and the Caucasus and to introduce a visa regime for the Central Asian countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Those who are illegally staying in Russia should be "immediately deported from it," according to Ishchenko. He also calls for developing a policy increasing the birth rate of the ethnic Russian population and providing simplified procedure for immigration of ethnic Russians from ex-Soviet republics.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova