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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 15, 2001

15 June 2001
Communist Deputy Says Shaimiev has �Really Changed�
Duma deputy (KPRF) Aleksandr Saliy told "Vostochniy Ekspress" on 14 June that since his first election as a president in 1991 Mintimer Shaimiev �has really changed, but not for better.� Saliy said, �in the old times, when he was a first secretary of local Communist Party Committee he was mostly guided by his duties before the party and concerned with the life level of ordinary people. Now Shaimiev is primarily worried about his family�s welfare.� But Ilyas Tagirov, the chairman of the Tatarstan aircraft industry union, told the paper that Shaimiev now communicates with ordinary people more often than in the past.

Turkic Groups Found More Susceptible to Alcoholism than Russians
Researchers at Kazan State University have concluded that Turkic groups, including the Tatars, have a weaker anti-alcohol defence system than do Russians and other Slavs, "Vostochny Ekspress" reported on 14 June.

Kazan Feels Federal Economic Policy Impossible to Predict
First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov said on 13 June that Kazan has to pursue its own economic policy to protect its citizens because Moscow's policies have become impossible to predict.

Tatar Organizations Forum Protests New Russian Passports
A forum of Tatar public organizations on 14 protested the introduction of new Russian passports in the republic. They said that the appearance of the two-headed eagle on the documents represented an effort to promote Orthodox Christianity at the expense of Islam. Moreover, they pointed out that the Tatar inserts could be detached and were not required. The meeting called on Kazan to defense Tatar statehood.

Chally TPC Gets Eviction Notice
The Chally Tatar Public Center branch headed by Rafis Kashapov is being evicted from its premises following a decision by Tatarstan�s arbitrage court, Tatarstan state TV reported on 10 June. Kashapov told reporters that his organization would �oppose the eviction and use force if necessary.� The TPC's response is to be heard by the Chally Court on 16 June.

Moscow Warns Supreme Court Chairman
"Novaya Vecherka" weekly reported on 14 June that the chairman of Tatarstan�s Supreme Court Gennady Baranov has been sharply criticized by a federal judges board for allowing a number of Tatarstan judges to begin work without prior approval from Moscow.

Shaimiev�s Calls European Standards A Priority For Tatarstan
President Mintimer Shaimiev told Interfax on 14 June that his republic �was one of the first Russian regions to begin the transition to European standards in all spheres of activities including the system of government, economics and politics.�

Tatarstan Uses its Representatives to Develop Trade
The director of the Foreign Affairs Department Timur Akulov told the special board of Russian Foreign Ministry on 13 June that republic�s foreign representations play an essential role for promoting the republic's goods on external markets.

Tatarstan One of the Leaders in Computer Crimes
According to on 14 June, computer crimes are more numerous in Tatarstan than in any Russian region except for Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Sverdlovsk.

Tatarstan Deputy Accused Of Defamation
The Ostankino municipal court of Moscow has taken up the suit of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov against former ORT TV journalist Sergey Dorenko and Sergei Shashurin who represents Tatarstan in the Duma, new agencies reported on 15 June. Luzhkov claims that in March 2001 Shashurin told Dorenko that the Moscow mayor was linked to the theft of 5,000 KamAZ heavy trucks.

Three Percent of Tatarstan Population Addicted to Drugs
Anonymous polls reported in the Tatarstan press on 14 June suggest that approximately three percent of the republic's population are now addicted to drugs.

Curfew Used To Curb Teenage Crime in Bavli
The Bavli regional administration has introduced curfews for teenagers under 16 as part of an effort to reduce youth crime, "Novaya Vecherka" reported on 15 June.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov, Shaimiev Unhappy With Russian National Policy
Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov and his Tatarstan counterpart Mintimer Shaimiev on 10 June sharply criticized activity of the Russian Federation Affairs, National and Migration Policy Ministry and some media publications on the national policy issues, ITAR-TASS reported. These comments came during their meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and representatives of the Bashkortostan peoples assembly in Ufa. Rakhimov said that �the central press views as a manifestation of nationalism and separatism in the wish of the republic leaders to help children learn their native language� and that �the central government and the ministry do not conduct necessary national policy.� He proposed creating the position of presidential assistant on national policy. Shaimiev said that the ministry has recently sent him a document condemning the conduct of office work in two languages. He proposed to set up a presidential council on national policy. Putin agreed with Rakhimov�s and Shaimiev�s proposals.

Bashkortostan Peoples Praise National Relations In Republic
Niyaz Mashitov, the chairman of the Bashkortostan peoples assembly, said at the meeting with Putin on 10 June that his organization has been set out to strengthen peace and interethnic concord in the republic and that all peoples feel themselves on their native land and can realize their abilities. He said that ethnic Russians �feel comfortable and can develop their traditions and customs� and that there are good results in the revival in Bashkortostan of all religions, including Orthodoxy and Judaism. Tatars said that the number of Tatar language teachers has grown fourfold over the past five years. Chuvash and Maris called on Putin to help provide them with textbooks in their languages. Putin said that the creation of the Peoples Assembly in Bashkortostan is a �very important event the republic initiated in the conditions of rather slow work in this direction conducted by the central bodies.�

Putin Meets Bashkortostan Religious Leaders
Talgat Tajutdin, the chairman of the Russian Muslim Central Religious Board, told Putin at Lala-Tyulpan mosque on 10 June that �we would not like to see Wahhabis in our country as well as those from abroad who want to teach us.� Orthodoxy and Islam in Russia have always gone forward together and during 300 years they were the basis of the state, he added. Putin said that �though the state and religions are separated, we must cooperate in bringing up the younger generations.� Archbishop Nikon of Ufa and Sterletamaq told Putin the same day that the number of Orthodox parishes in the republic has grown over past years from 17 to 130.

Rakhimov Gives Putin a Horse
President Murtaza Rakhimov presented Vladimir Putin during his Ufa visit a saddle-horse wishing him �to hold his saddle tight and manage Great Russia.� Putin promised to study riding.

Rakhimov Praises Media For Promoting Democracy, Freedom Of Speech
President Murtaza Rakhimov in his message to media employees on 13 June noted that �positive changes have taken place during the last decade in the republic press and mass information sector connected to strengthening principles of democracy and freedom of speech and economic independence of Bashkortostan within renovated Russian Federation,� Bashinform reported.

Tatar Organizations Against Celebration of Kulikovo Battle Anniversary
Bashkortostan�s Tatar national organizations announced their support for an appeal by a group of Tatar generals and scholars to Putin against the scheduled celebration of the anniversary of the Kulikovo battle which was held between Tatars and Russians, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 10 June. Bashkortostan�s Tatar national-cultural autonomy deputy head Elfir Saqaev said that if Moscow marks the 1380 victory over Tatars, then Kazan will obtain the right to celebrate the Tatar khan Tuqtamysh�s 1383 victory over Moscow.

First Private Park Created in Ufa
The first private park for children has opened in Ufa on 12 June when Ufa celebrated together with Russian Sovereignty Day the City Day as well, Bashinform reported. A new hotel Bashkortostan and a sports and health center opened the same day.

New Public Movement Formed in Bashkortostan
A new public movement Harmonious Society held its initiating meeting in Ufa, Bashinform reported on 8 June. The organization leaders said they consider financial well being to be the most important goal for the future.

Unemployed to Do Improvement Work in Sibai
The Sibai employment center said on 8 June that it will use jobless residents to works on improvement of city conveniences, Bashinform reported. The unemployment rate in the city is 2.4 percent against republic average of 1.3 percent.

Bashkreditbank Develops Internet Strategy
Bashkreditbank plans to cooperate with Hewlett Packard in the development of its Internet strategy, Bashinform reported on 8 June.

Ufa Muslim Religious Board Hold Plenum
A plenum of the Russian Muslim Central Religious Board was held in Ufa on 10 June to mark 1112th anniversary of acceptance of Islam, Bashinform reported. Muslim leaders from Samara, Ulyanovsk, Chuvashia, Mordovia, Rostov, St. Petersburg, Orenburg, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Penza, Khanty-Mansi okrug and the Baltic countries were in attendance. After the plenum its participants left for Muslim holy place Bulgar in Tatarstan.

Tatar Milli Mejlis Leader Calls on Bashkir Groups to Cooperate with Tatars
Tatar Milli Mejlis chairman Aidar Khalim on 13 June called on Bashkortostan�s residents to live peacefully with Tatars and called on Bashkortostan officials to work closely to support "our common interests,� RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvash Legislature Names Senator
The State Council appointed Vyacheslav Borovik, native from Belarus� Vitebsk oblast and currently residing in Tomsk oblast, Chuvashia�s new representative to the Federation Council, VolgaInform reported on 9 June. He is said to be close to Gazprom.

140 Kirov Residents Have Died in North Caucasus
The Kirov oblast public organization "Participants in the military actions in the North Caucasus" said that some 8,000 oblast residents participated in the military actions in the North Caucasus, of whom 140 have died, 220 have been injured, and 2 have been lost. More than 2350 of them are now unemployed and about 500 need apartments.

Research Institute Director Accused of Persecuting Nationalists
Marii Council chairman Viktor Nikolaev told �Resursy Marii El� that the director of the Marii language and culture research institute has been ordered to fire all �nationally-minded� employees and that chairman of the national organization Marii ushem Nikandr Popov has become the first victim on the �black list� and has been dismissed, reported on 9 June. In response, Institute director Aleksandr Kazimov published an open message in �Mariiskaya pravda� denying existence of any �black list� or �order from above.�

Unity, Fatherland In Nizhny Support Sklyarov
The regional branches of Unity and Fatherland in Nizhny Novgorod stated their support for the re-election of Ivan Sklyarov as the oblast governor, reported on 9 June.

Nizhny Mayor Appeals To Court
Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Yuri Lebedev on 8 June filed a suit against the oblast electoral commission contesting its refusal to register him as a candidate at the oblast governor elections, ITAR-TASS reported. The commission said Lebedev had illegally used his powers to collect signatures.

Swedish Cultural Center Opens In Nizhny
Sven Hindman, Sweden�s Ambassador to Russia, on 13 June opened the Swedish cultural center in Nizhny Novgorod, reported.

Kirienko Does Not Plan To Return To Government
Sergei Kirienko, presidential envoy to the Volga federal district, on 14 June denied rumors that he would become Prime Minister, Russian agencies reported. He said he will remain in his current post for the full four-year term.

Sklyarov, Luzhkov Sign Cooperation Agreement
Nizhny Novgorod oblast Governor Ivan Sklyarov and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov on 14 June signed a five-year agreement on social, economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation, reported.

A Million Signatures Back Capital Punishment For Drug Traffickers
The Nizhny Novgorod movement Union for fighting criminality sent to the Duma one million signatures calling for capital punishment of those convicted of drug trafficking, �Ekho Moskvy� reported on 13 June.

Nizhny Chief Ecologist Took Bribes
Yuri Lukichev, the head of the Nizhny Novgorod state nature protection and natural resources committee, has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment for bribery, forgery, and embezzlement of 620,000 rubles ($21,000) from the ecological fund, reported.

Titov Proposes New Federation Model
Samara oblast Governor Konstantin Titov on 14 June told VolgaInform that federal districts should not be given financial functions or the situation may become like in the Roman Empire when it had disintegrated. He said �I do not believe that Russia can disintegrate into seven states but such danger could emerge.� He said that the seven federal districts should replace the oblasts, krais, and republics as federation subjects. Such an arrangement, he added, will help Russia form a new union state with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

Ural Regions Design Power Sharing Treaties
Presidential envoy to the Ural district Petr Latyshev called on the district�s regions to develop by 31 July draft bilateral treaties with Moscow on power sharing on the issues of joint responsibility, reported on 9 June.

Rossel Unhappy with Federal Budget Policy
Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel on 8 June met with Economic Development Minister German Gref to discuss the Russian 2002 budget, reported. Rossel said that no budget federalism exists in Russia and that the federal government acts like a unitary state.

Rossel Meets U.K. Ambassador
Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel on 13 June met with British Ambassador Roderic Lain to discuss bilateral cooperation, Ural Information Bureau reported.

Four Die from Drug Overdoses in One Night
Four drug addicts died on 14 June in Yekaterinburg from overdoses of heroin, Region-Inform reported. Public fund City without drugs vice president Yevgeny Roizman told the news agency that his fund has been informed about the delivery to Yekaterinburg several days earlier of pure heroin, much stronger than the kind that had been sold in the city.

Tyumen Governor Meets Putin
Tyumen oblast Governor Sergei Sobyanin on 9 June said that he had discussed with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow issues on inter-budget relations, fighting drugs addiction, state control over alcohol production, and housing-municipal reform, �Tyumenskaya liniya� reported. Sobyanin said that he had criticized amendments to the tax legislation which deprive regions of money collected from payments for natural resources, and that Putin expressed his understanding of the situation in Tyumen oblast which can lose 60 percent of its budget.

Tyumen Oil Company Becomes Member Of American Trade Chamber
The Tyumen Oil Company has joined the American Trade Chamber, the first major company in the region to do so, �Tyumenskaya liniya� reported on 14 June.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova