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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 5, 2001

5 October 2001
Pro-Kremlin Media Maintains Focus On Transition To Latin Tatar Script
Pro-government information agency on 27 September ironically commented on the words of a Russian State Duma deputy from Tatarstan, Fendes Safiullin, who called the signatories of the appeal against transition to Latin Tatar script "traitors to their people who never read a book or a newspaper in Tatar." The agency suggested that Tatar academicians who signed the appeal had a well-grounded viewpoint, while a number of Tatar media revealed that the majority of those who signed didn't speak their native language and were offered to sign by Russia's presidential administration.

Supreme Court Chairman Says Moscow's Procedure For Appointing Judges Is Far From Perfect
Gennady Baranov, Tatarstan's Supreme Court chairman, said in a 2 October interview with "Vechernaya Kazan" that the mechanism of appointing judges in TR by Moscow "created many inconveniences" for the efficient operation of the republic's judicial system. He mentioned one case in which a member of the Supreme Court was prevented from working for over six months because of the absence of necessary documents from Moscow even after the republic's parliament had upheld his candidacy.

Officials Predict Gas Deficit In 2002
A government commission on winter preparedness announced on 27 September that Tatarstan would receive 13.65 billion cubic meters of natural gas for heating and power from Russian Gazprom monopoly in 2002. Meanwhile the commission said that total gas consumption would be between 15.5 billion and 16 billion cubic meters in 2001 in TR. If the republic continues the current pace of industrial growth, gas consumers could face fuel shortages next year, the commission warned.

Opposition Movement Backs Moscow's Pressure On Tatar Legislators
The Equality and Legality movement [RiZ] stated on 1 October that Tatarstan's present constitution "put the republic's technical and human potential, and natural resources under the control of a small group of people." It added: "It serves as a retarding factor against democratic development and economic reforms and the formation of a federative state in Russia." The movement positively assessed the "pressure by the federal government and the public that forced republican authorities to prepare amendments to the constitution."

Teacher's Day In Tatarstan
On the eve of "Teacher's Day" on 5 October, the chairman of Tatarstan's education-employees trade union, Yuri Prokhorov, told reporters that average schoolteachers earn only 1,500 rubles [$21] per month and are owed 35 million rubles [$1.19 million] in back pay. Prokhorov said that under such circumstances, which have persisted for years, Teacher's Day was a rather sad holiday in both urban and rural areas.

Regional Administration Chief Given No Punishment For Funds Embezzlement
The Parliamentary Control Committee of Tatarstan's State Council has revealed numerous cases of financial abuse in the Tulyachi region, which misused more than 8 million rubles [$200,000] in budget funds -- even as local farmers are owed 12 million rubles [$408,000] in wage arrears dating back to 1998. Still, Tulyachi region administration head Ildar Nuzamov was not dismissed from his post and assured the committee that he had "already punished those who were guilty," pledging that he would "strictly monitor the use of funds."

Tatarstan Called Russia's Major Industrial Region
The weekly "Expert" on 3 October called Tatarstan Russia's leading region in sales of industrial production with $6.2 billion in goods sold in 2001. The Bashkortostan and Samara oblasts are ranked the second and third major industrial producers, with $3.6 and $3.2 billion in production.

New Job Offer Stuns The Unemployed In Kazan
Together with the traditional list of jobs offered by the Kazan Employment Exchange on 1 October, applicants were surprised by an offer of work as "sharpshooters" or "platoon commanders" in Chechnya and Tajikistan. The posting was attributed to the Military Commissioner's Office of Yanga-Savin district in Kazan. Jobless people at the exchange, many of them women, said they were not interested in the new offer -- not only because of the high risk, but also due to the low monthly salary of 2,500 rubles [$85].

First Moscow Bank In Three Years Enters Tatarstan
Alpha Bank, one of Russia's major banks, announced on 4 September that it had the approval of Tatarstan's government for opening an office in Kazan. This will make Alpha Bank the first financial institution from Moscow to enter the republic, as local authorities have not generally favored similar efforts by other banks following the financial crisis of August 1998. Alpha is expected to invest some $5 million into Tatarstan's economy.

Moscow Alerted By Radioactive Material From TR
Moscow ecologists discovered a store of highly radioactive metal pipes in the North-Western part of the Russian capital that turned out to be parts of oil pipelines brought from Tatarstan, Radon-press information center reported on 28 September.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan Media Promote Sovereignty, Treaty-Based Relations
"Bashkortostan" on 25 September sharply criticized Moscow for attempts to annul Bashkortostan's power-sharing treaty. The paper noted that the refusal to recognize Bashkortostan's status as a state and its power-sharing treaty is a violation of the principles of federalism and human rights. In an article titled "Sovereignty Requires Permanent Defense," "Qyzyl tang" on 28 September commented that Bashkortostan was "meeting the Day of Sovereignty without its sovereign status." The paper predicted that an "anti-sovereignty parade" of republics may take place in the near future but noted that Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Sakha will unlikely join in. It also stressed that sovereignty and bilateral treaties could be preserved only as a result of joint efforts by all republics.

Bashkir Organization Leader Denies Accusations Of Racist Tests On Tatars In Bashkortostan
Niyaz Majitov, the head of the Bashkir World Congress executive committee, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service on 30 September that reports by Russian and Tatarstan press of blood tests on Tatars in Bashkortostan -- reportedly intended to prove that they are Bashkirs -- are "a lie" and "fiction."

Former Official Reports Falsifications During 1979 Census
"Tatarstan yeshlere" on 29 September reported that the administration head of the Bashkortostan Tatar-populated Durtoile Raion, Ravil Deuletov, ordered that teaching in Bashkir begin in all secondary schools. This year, training in the Bashkir language has been introduced in five schools in the raion. The paper reported that a new Bashkir secondary school with room for 600 students is being constructed in the raion administrative center. However, it will be hard to find 600 Bashkirs in the whole raion, it commented. Rukhylbayan Jangirov, who headed the Durtoile Raion in 1976-1981, told the paper that during the 1979 census, Ufa distributed "target figures" of the share of Bashkirs that local authorities had to provide. He said authorities had "accomplished 15 percent [of Bashkirs]" while, in fact, only several Bashkir families lived in the raion. He said that Bashkortostan radio recently reported that even Tatarstan's Aqtanysh Raion is "Bashkir land." And in its commentary, the paper wondered if Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, who is from that raion, knows that "he is an assimilated Bashkir?"

Bashkirs Said To Be Heavily Over-Represented In Authority Bodies
In an article devoted to the participation of ethnic groups within the authorities in Bashkortostan, "Zvezda Povolzhya" on 4 October reported that Bashkirs represent an overwhelming majority of such staff in the republic. The weekly said that Bashkirs, who total less than 22 percent of the republic's population, amount to 60 percent in the cabinet of ministers, 55 percent of city- and district-administration heads, and over 50 percent of parliament staff. Tatars, who represent 29 percent of the population, total less than 11 percent in the cabinet, 16 percent of administration-heads staff, and 23 percent in the legislature.

Mufti Opposes Treatment Of Chechen People As Terrorists
Nafigulla Ashirov, the head of the Muslims Religious Board of the Asian part of Russia, told "Argumenty i fakty" that fighting terrorism should not be applied to the Chechen people. He said that crimes of the federal military forces against peaceful Chechen residents are of the same kind as those of terrorists.

Council On Culture, Cinema Gather In Ufa
Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi on 28-30 September chaired a meeting of the coordinating council on culture and cinema in Ufa, RIA-Novosti reported. The council discussed training personnel for the culture sector, the development of the cinema circuit, and conditions of movie-houses.

Golden Deer Of Eurasia To Be Presented In Russia
An archeological exhibit called "Golden Deer of Eurasia," developed by the Ufa Center for Ethnological Researches together with the State Hermitage, is to open in St. Petersburg after appearing at the New York Metropolitan Museum and in Milan, Bashinform reported on 28 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chelyabinsk Parliament Adopts Program For Rehabilitation Of War Veterans
The Chelyabinsk Oblast legislature on 28 September passed an 11.5 million rubles ($390,500) program designed for three years to provide social rehabilitation to veterans of military conflicts, Ural-Press-Inform reported. More than 2,000 militiamen and 37 employees of the Emergencies Ministry from the oblast took part in military actions in the North Caucasus. The oblast budget will contribute some 7.4 million rubles ($251,000) to the program.

Killers Of Retired Militia Colonel Sentenced To 150 Years
The Mordovia Supreme Court sentenced 13 members of an organized criminal group to a total of 150 years imprisonment for the murder of the head of the Interior Ministry's employees association, Viktor Lavrov, reported on 3 October. Lavrov reportedly was active in the fight against organized crime. Killer Oleg Konakov was sentenced to life imprisonment, organizer Andrei Sultanov to 25 years, and another 11 participants to eight to 19 years in jail.

Students In Nizhnii Demand Raised Subsidies
Some 300 students staged a protest action in Nizhnii Novgorod against a rise in transport tariffs, the introduction of united social tax, and low grants, reported on 3 October.

Makashov Says He Will Run For Samara Oblast Parliament
General Albert Makashov told the RTR-Samara television company that he will run for the Samara Oblast duma, reported on 3 October. The channel commented that, "No one has any doubt that he will win." As Makashov had not said in which okrug he will run, he has become "the worst nightmare for many candidates."

Growth In Drug Trafficking Reported In Samara
Valentin Mitroshenko, an official from the Samara Interior administration, said on 3 October that the number of drug traffickers arriving in Samara by train from Bishkek, Astana, Orsk, Tashkent, Simferopol, and Karaganda has significantly increased, "Samara segodnya" reported. He said the militia now detains about 10 people every day.

Airport Managers Gather In Samara
The heads of 26 airports from Russia, the CIS, and Baltic countries held their annual meeting in Samara to discuss methods of security and control at airports and development of cooperation, the Samara information portal reported on 3 October.

Rossel Opposes Linking Terrorism To Islam
Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel and Mufti Talgat Tadjuddin on 29 September took part in a laying of the foundation-stone of the "Ramazan" mosque in the Chkalovskii Raion, Region-Inform reported. Rossel criticized attempts to link terrorism to Islam, a religion he says does not condone any violence. He added that terrorists have no nationality.

Rossel Says Not Going To Dissolve Oblast Duma...
Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel said on 1 October that he won't dissolve the parliament, as he "had been its first speaker and had done much for its efficient work," Region-Inform reported. The work of the oblast legislative body has been paralyzed for months by its inability to secure a quorum. Rossel opposed the idea of the body's self-dismissal, saying the problem is of a personal nature and connected with Speaker Yevgenii Porunov. He said the legislature works in a constructive way when Porunov is absent. In the meantime, Russian Central Electoral Commission Chairman Aleksandr Veshnyakov sharply criticized Sverdlovsk Oblast parliament deputies for hampering the work of the legislature during a visit to Yekaterinburg on 28 September, UralInformBureau reported.

...As Prosecutor Differs Over Fate Of Legislature
Sverdlovsk Oblast Prosecutor Boris Kuznetsov on 2 October sent a letter urging the Sverdlovsk Oblast duma to amend the oblast charter by 12 October as the Russian Supreme Court had required, UralBusinessConsulting reported. He stressed that otherwise the legislature will be dissolved.

Students To Participate In Antiterrorist Inspections In Yekaterinburg
The Yekaterinburg interior board called on the heads of higher-education institutions to set up students' detachments to patrol streets and residences as an antiterrorism measure, reported on 27 September.

Commissioner Says 2 Percent More Draftees With Poor Health Every Year
Sergei Leba, the acting commissioner of the Samara Oblast, said on 2 October that the number of draftees healthy enough for military service has fallen by 2 percent a year, reported. He said that 3,500 oblast residents now avoid military service while 4,000 young men will be called up this fall. He noted that a current international antiterrorist campaign does not affect target figures of the call-up.

Meanwhile, an official from the Mordovia enlistment office, Aleksandr Anufriev, told the same day that none of 1,500 servicemen due to be called up in Mordovia will be sent to hot spots without preparatory training and a written requirement for being sent there.

Afghan War Veteran Calls For Using Political Rather Than Military Methods Against Taliban
Stanislav Goncharenko, the deputy head of the Sverdlovsk organization of Afghanistan war invalids, said that it would be unwise to attempt a broadscale military operation in Afghanistan. He said that even local special operations in Afghanistan would result in losses among peaceful residents and that relatives of victims would join anti-American fighters. Thus the war will become endless, he said, and called for using political methods against the Taliban. He said that Russia should stay "as far as possible" from Afghanistan, since "it has enough its own terrorists in Chechnya."

Tyumen Authorities Promote Social Care Of Former Prisoners
Tyumen Oblast Governor Sergei Sobyanin signed a resolution promoting social rehabilitation for former prisoners, including their professional training, help in obtaining passports and registration, and medical treatment for those suffering from contagious diseases, "Tyumenskaya liniya" reported on 1 October.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova