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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 4, 2001

4 May 2001
RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau Chief Interviewed on Radio's Role
On 4 May, "Vostochniy Ekspress" featured an interview with RFE/RL Kazan Bureau chief Rimzil Veli on the role of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tatar-Bashkir Service. The interviewer noted that RFE/RL is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the Tatar-Bashkir Service has played a key role in that history. Veli described listening to the radios in Soviet times, inviting Service director Ferit Agi to Kazan, and took part in the meeting between RFE/RL President Thomas Dine with President Mintimir Shaimiev. Veli noted that RFE/RL is "funded by the US Congress and uses its broadcasts to promote democracy, free speech and civil society. This radio is a national treasure of the United States, just like BBC is for Britain and Komsomolskaya Pravda is for Russia; it has over 20 million listeners. Tatar and Bashkir languages are so far the only ones representing peoples of Russia." And he pointed out that RFE/RL is much less hostile to developments in Russia than are many of the opposition stations. In conclusion, Veli recalled that President Mintimir Shaimiev had said that the U.S. Congress's sponsorship of Tatar language programs means that Tatarstan is on the world map.

Tatarstan, Bashkortostan Energy Producers Sign Cooperation Protocol
Tatenergo and Bashkirenergo have signed a protocol on coordination, news agencies reported on 2 May. The two also hope to establish closer ties with Udmurtia.

Government Ends Price Controls on Milk, Dairy Products...
President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 2 May that Kazan will no longer regulate the prices of milk and dairy products after 1 June.

...But Only One Pensioner in Three to Get More Retirement Pay
Some 30% of pensioners in Tatarstan Republic would receive expanded benefits under new federal legislation, Efir-Inform reported on 3 May.

Kazan Seeks to Promote Agricultural Revival
Agriculture minister Marat Akhmetov said on 2 May that Kazan will seek to stimulate agricultural development by providing low interest housing loans and monthly subventions to young people who go to work on farms. At present, he said, only 30 percent of Tatarstan agricultural graduates work on farms.

Kazan Telephone Networks Report High Profits...
Kazan Telephone Networks Co press service reported on 2 May that KTN would pay about 1 million rubles ($34,5 thousand) in dividends to its shareholders in 2001. The introduction of the per-minute charges system for telephone users in December 2000 reportedly helped boost its revenues.

...And Seek to Upgrade City Telephone Network
KTN has signed a $1 million contract with Chinese Huawey Int. for the construction of a ring of cellular telephone stations in Kazan, AK&M agency reported.

Journalist Cleared of Blackmail Charges
Tatarstan prosecutors have notified Aleksandr Postnov, the Kazan correspondent of Ekspress Khronik and Nezavisimaya Gazeta that he will not be charged with blackmail despite complaints by Tatekhmedform chief Yakov Morgulis that Postnov had solicited a $500 bribe.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Duma Deputy Backs State Control of Media
Duma deputy (Regions of Russia) Mikhail Bugera told on 27 April that the government must control country-wide channels. His remarks came after the Duma approved on first reading a bill restricting foreign ownership of the media.

Ufa Seeks Closer Ties with London
Zinnur Mardanov, the Russian Foreign Ministry representative in Ufa, told the United Kingdom general consul Linda Cross on 26 April that relations between Russia's regions and Britain were continuing to grow since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov led a delegation to London to meet EBRD officials.

Bashkortostan Duma Deputies Support Import of Nuclear Wastes reported on 27 April that no Duma deputies from Bashkortostan had voted against amendments allowing import of radioactive wastes in Russia and only two -- Khalil Barlybaev and Mikhail Bugera (Regions of Russia) -- had abstained. Supporters argued that Russia needed the money and that the program would make the country more secure.

Supreme Court Judge Complains of Leniency in Sentencing
Bashinform reported that Bashkortostan Supreme Court chairman Marat Vakilov on 25 April has criticized republic judges for being "spineless" and overly lenient in their sentencing of criminals.

Mufti Points to Spread of Extremism
Talgat Tadzhuddin, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Board, said in an interview published in "Izvestiya" on 27 April that religious extremism is spreading in Tatarstan, Mordovia, Orenburg, and Ulyanovsk. He said that his board's new Islam Institute is intended to train mullahs who can counter this rise. And he said that a policy that protects Russians in Muslim areas was reasonable and needed.

Christian Tatars Want to Be Called 'Kryasheny'
Christian Tatars living in Bashkortostan's Baqaly district want to be registered in the 2002 census not as Tatars but as "Kryasheny" (the baptized ones), reported. Baqaly Christian Tatars national-cultural center head Yevgeny Artemyev said that Moscow anthropologists have concluded that Christian Tatars have kept their national self-consciousness and have presented their findings to the Russian Federation, National and Migration Policies Ministry. This group has not been counted separately since the 1926 all-union census when there were 124,000 Kryasheny.

Azerbaijan Hosts Bashkortostan Culture Days
Baku is hosting Bashkortostan Culture Days 306 May, Bashinform reported. The Russian culture ministry is paying for this activity.

Ufa Seeks to Promote Folk Art
The cabinet has set up a special expert council to promote the folk art industry, the government press service reported on 25 April.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvashia Signs Accord with Russian Trade Mission in France
President Nikolai Fedorov on 27 April signed an agreement with the Russian trade representation in France to expand Chuvash trade with Paris, VolgaInform reported.

KGB Reserve Lt.Col. Named Marii El Envoy to Moscow
President Leonid Markelov on 29 April appointed Moscow resident Zhaudat Khanafiev, 50, Marii El�s plenipotentiary representative to Russian President, reported. Khanafiev is a reserve lieutenant colonel of the KGB lieutenant-colonel in reserve and has most recently served as an advisor to AvtoVAZ.

Merkushkin to Settle Inter-Budget Relations
Mordovia leader Nikolai Merkushkin has headed the permanently working group on inter-budget relations in the Volga Federal District, reported on 29 April.

Mordovia Receives Humanitarian Aid
The U.S.-Israel Hama charity sent 350 tons of humanitarian aid to Mordovia, reported on 30 April.

Declining Demand Leads Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant to Suspend Production
The Chelyabinsk tractor plant has stopped production for two weeks because the demand on tractors has fallen in the domestic market, reported on 28 April.

Ten Seek Governorship
The Nizhny Novgorod central electoral commission on 28 April said that ten candidates, among them businessman Andrei Klimentyev and his brother Sergei Klimentyev, Duma deputies Gennady Khodyrev, Dmitry Savelyev, and Vadim Bulavinov, cleaner Aleksandr Strelkov, Nizhny Novgorod duma deputies Ivan Karnilin and Dmitry Birman, manager Vladimir Shubin, engineers society chairman Aleksandr Ruzanov, Governor Ivan Sklyarov, have announced that they will run for governor, the Nizhny Novgorod telegraph agency reported. The elections were fixed for 15 July.

Sklyarov Opposes Anti-Kirienko Campaign
Nizhny Novgorod oblast Governor Ivan Sklyarov said on 29 April that a petition campaign against Presidential Envoy Sergei Kirienko was harming the oblast's reputation, adding that he opposes Kirienko's recall.

Chechens, Gypsies Organize in Nizhny
The Nizhny Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 27 April that a Chechen Cultural Center and a Gypsies Organization branch have been set up in the city. Meanwhile, Russian gypsies marked the 500th anniversary of their arrival in Nizhny Novgorod. Approximately 10,000 gypsies now live there.

Putin Meets Titov
President Vladimir Putin and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov meeting on 27 April in the Kremlin discussed educational issues, the construction of cancer hospital in Samara, and of the highway Center - Volga region - Urals, VolgaInform reported.

Sverdlovsk Oblast To Cooperate With Mongolia...
Sverdlovsk and Ulan Bator have agreed to expand cooperation in economics and trade, reported on 27 April.

...And With Tyumen Oil Company
The Tyumen oil company and the Sverdlovsk oblast government have agreed to set up a Urals oil company, reported on 26 April.

New Finno-Ugric Internet Site Begins Working
A new Internet site ( reporting news about all Finno-Ugric peoples has been presented at the seminar of the Finno-Ugric media in Syktyvkar, Komiinform reported.

New Cossacks Units Being Formed in Volga Region
The Union of Volga and Urals Cossacks Chieftains on 27 April announced that preparations have begun to establish a new Volga Cossack community, reported. The new body will unite some 30,000 Cossacks in ten federal subjects. The union seeks to dismiss current Volga Cossack head Boris Gusev.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova