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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 12, 2001

12 October 2001
Mufti Urges Russian Authorities To Prevent Radicalization Of Muslims
The head of Russia's Mufti Council, Ravil Gainutdin, told Interfax on 8 October that the inattention of state bodies to problems within the Muslim community may result in the radicalization of Russia's Muslim population. He said that Muslims must be offered the possibility of studying in their native country rather than traveling to Islamic centers, where they are influenced by a single religious environment and foreign religious ideology. Gainutdin called on state bodies to allocate buildings for Islamic education and help teach secular subjects in those institutions. He said that domestic Islamic educational institutions prepare students for life and work in multinational and multiconfessional state.

Novgorod Governor Critical Of Budget Relations Between Moscow, Kazan
Novgorod Oblast Governor Mikhail Prusak told "Vek" on 5 October that the Russian draft 2002 budget is "a step toward disintegration" of the country because Tatarstan "has received money it had transferred to Moscow back in provisions for its program of socio-economic development." He said that Moscow will succeed in "stripping money" only from "indigenous territories which do not threaten secession from Russia." This is a classic case of an empire's disintegration, he noted. The more Moscow collects money, the less power it maintains, he said. He also stressed that the refusal by Tatarstan and Bashkortostan to comply with demands from Russia's United Energy Systems is "disturbing," as "a separate energy system means a separate economy." At the same time, he said that a single model of local self-governance cannot suit all the national regions of Russia and will remain "formal."

Udmurts In Tatarstan Said To Have Stronger Ethnic Identity Than In Udmurtia
Udmurts in Chally gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of their local community and discuss problems of the Udmurt diaspora in the Volga and Urals regions, "Vostochnyi ekspress" reported on 5 October. Udmurtia National Issues Minister Vladimir Zavolin said at the forum that no assimilation of Udmurts is seen in Tatarstan -- while in some neighboring regions where Udmurts live more closely, they assimilate very quickly. Udmurtia Professor Galina Nikitina said that Udmurts residing in Tatarstan are "Udmurts to a greater extent" than even those living in their native republic. Participants called on Tatarstan's authorities to set up a center of Udmurt culture and appealed to the presidential envoy to the Volga District to form a coordination council to work with national diasporas.

Russian Public Organization Promotes Russian National Education In Tatarstan
Mikhail Shcheglov, the deputy head of the Kazan Society for Russian Culture, called for the establishment of a system of Russian national education in Tatarstan, according to an article published by "Vostochnyi ekspress" on 5 October. He said that the self-consciousness of the Russian people in Tatarstan is "as low as, for example, in Tyva or Georgia. But in the center of Russia, there is the same." He said that courses in history of the country and Russian literature taught in schools must inform students about the "establishment of the Russian state and positive features of the Russian nation." He noted that in the past, works of literature studied in educational institutions formed a negative image of the Russian people.

Grachev Leads Development Of Businesses Party
Ivan Grachev, who represents Tatarstan in the State Duma, was elected the leader of the Development of Business Undertakings party at its founding congress in Moscow, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 5 October. The forum of 164 delegates from 50 regions adopted the party's charter and program. Grachev said the party will promote conditions for the development of small and medium-sized businesses, "just pensions," and housing for the middle class.

Tatarstan Beer Producers Expand To Siberian Market
Tatarstan brewer Krasnyi Vostok was allotted a plot of land to construct a plant in Novosibirsk, the Novosibirsk Oblast administration told AK&M on 5 October. The facility, designed to produce 30 million decaliters of beer a year, should employ 800 people.

Tatneft Cooperates With Hewlett-Packard
Tatneft Chief Engineer Nail Ibragimov and Hewlett-Packard's general manager for Russia and the CIS, Hilmar Lorents, signed a cooperation accord, Tatar-inform reported on 5 October. Under the two-year agreement, Hewlett-Packard will invest into the development of a center for data processing and a system of monitoring the telecommunications network in Tatneft.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Rakhimov Rejects Abolition Of Power-Sharing Treaties Between Moscow And Regions...
Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov said that bilateral power-sharing treaties signed by Moscow and the federation's entities "cannot be subject to any changes," adding that, "Endless urges to abolish such treaties threaten Russia's statehood. Bashkortostan is not asking for any special commissions or freedoms, and its present treaty doesn't create any problems for anyone," RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 7 October.

...And Radically Opposes Federal Tax Reform
President Rakhimov was also quoted as saying about the federal taxation system that, "Our republic used to transfer 50 percent of its taxes to Moscow; now they demand 63 percent. We absolutely disagree with such a division. Why should Bashkortostan feed someone else?"

Tajutdin Receives Putin's Blessing For Representation In Moscow
President Vladimir Putin has endorsed a document for granting premises to representation for the Ufa-based leader of Russia's Central Religious Board, Talgat Tajutdin, RFE/Ufa correspondent reported on 7 October. Tajutdin also plans to build his residence near the ruins of the ancient Bolgar city, which was the capital of the first Muslim state on modern Russia's territory to have adopted Islam in the 10th century. Previously, he declared Bolgar a destination point for "small pilgrimage" -- of lesser importance than Mecca but sacred for Muslims in Russia. Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board disagreed with Tajutdin, rejecting the idea of the "small pilgrimage."

TPC Complains On Racist Tests In Bashkortostan
The Bashkortostan branch of Tatar Public Center has appealed to the international tribunal in The Hague and Russia's general-prosecutor's office, complaining that "Bashkortostan's government organized humiliating body-parts measurements and blood tests for Tatars living in the Yanaul Region of BR," RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 7 October. The appeal said that this ethno-anthropological research was aimed at misleading Tatars and forcing them to consider themselves Bashkirs.

Afghan Veterans Leader Supportive Of Air Strikes On Taliban...
The head of an Afghan War veterans organization in Bashkortostan, Dmitrii Kuptsov, in an interview with RFE/RL on 9 October stood behind the antiterrorist efforts of "the alliance uniting Western countries," adding that there were many hideouts in Afghanistan that most likely will be used by the Taliban for evading air strikes.

...While Muslim Leader Urges Sobriety In Punishing The Taliban
The head of the Central Muslim Religious Board in Bashkortostan, Nurmukhemmet Khazret, urged the world to "soberly consider the circumstances of terrorist attacks on America." He added that those responsible "didn't have any faith or nationality" and expressed his deepest condolences to the relatives of those who were killed on 11 September. He stated that, according to the principles of Islam, the Taliban had no right to wage a jihad, or holy war, against the United States.

Parliamentary Speaker Says Bashkortostan To Defend Constitution
State Assembly Chairman Konstantin Tolkachev told RFE/RL on 9 October that "Bashkortostan's Constitution, adopted less than a year ago, matches the internationally accepted principles of a federative state." Referring to recent Russian media suggestions that the constitution would be re-amended following a request of federal prosecutors, he pledged that BR would defend its present constitution in court.

Chechen War Story Told By Resident Of Bashkortostan
The father of Albert Nuriev, a Russian Army soldier recruited in the Kuyurgazi Region, told RFE/RL on 10 October that he was "deeply shocked by what he saw" when coming to visit his son in one of the hospitals in Mozdok, Chechnya. He said the hospital building was overcrowded with screaming wounded soldiers -- some of them dying -- and medical personnel were unable to attend to them all. The man said his wounded son died when he was brought from Mozdok to Vladikavkaz.

Tatar Secondary School Manages To Protect Its Rights In Belebey
A Tatar secondary school in Belebey, Bashkortostan, won a court decision against the city prosecutor's office and earned the legal right to decorate its entrance with a welcome sign in Tatar, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 8 October. A Belebey city court had obliged the school to replace the sign with one in the republic's state languages, Bashkir and Russian, after considering a suit by the local administration.

Farmers Report High Grain Output This Year
Bashkortostan's farms exceeded their grain output of previous years by harvesting about 3.5 million tons of grain in 2001, Bashinform reported on 11 October. Aside from good weather conditions, farmers were reportedly assisted by the republican government, which allotted them 850 million rubles [$28.9 million] in loans for fuel, machine oil, and seed.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

President Fedorov Takes Over Government
Chuvashia President Nikolai Fedorov said he accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Enver Ablyakimov and he has taken personal control of the cabinet, VolgaInform reported on 8 October. Under harmonization requirements, Ablyakimov, who is also a State Council deputy, could no longer simultaneously represent legislative and executive authorities. Fedorov appointed him to head the presidential Supreme Economic Council.

Construction Of First Mosque Begins In Chuvashia's Capital
More than 100 representatives of Chuvashia's all-Muslim communities as well as Muslims residing in Cheboksary took part in laying a capsule addressed to future generations in the foundation of the capital city's first mosque, which is currently under construction, VolgaInform reported on 4 October. Some 35,000 Muslims live in Chuvashia, and there are 40 mosques in the republic. The head of the presidential administration, Gennadii Fedorov, said that authorities and representatives of different faiths in the republic have a permanent dialogue.

SPS Promotes Youth Parliament In Marii El
The Union of Right Forces (SPS) in Mordovia suggested that an alternative Youth Parliament will be set up in the republic, reported on 4 October. The project reportedly enjoys support from the republic's State Assembly.

Kurgan Migration Body Is Ready For Refugees
Viktor Lushnikov, the deputy head of the Kurgan Oblast's migration service, said his organization is ready to receive refugees from Uzbekistan, Uralinformbureau reported on 8 October.

Ombudsman Says Poverty Violates Human Rights
Russia's ombudsman, Oleg Mironov, said during a visit to Saratov that 40 percent of Russian residents live below the poverty level and that poverty is the "most flagrant violation of human rights."

Printing Houses Get Tax Breaks
The Perm Oblast legislature introduced tax breaks for printing houses issuing newspapers, textbooks, and scientific literature in order to prevent a rise in prices, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 4 October. Twenty-eight local printing houses are subject to the measure.

Two Convicted Of Divulging State Secret
A Saratov Oblast court sentenced two engineers to three years each in prison for smuggling military devices and divulging a state secret, SaratovBusinessConsulting reported on 5 October. In the early 1990s, they sold a device containing a secret radio lamp to China. The convicts were freed following the trial, since they had already spent four years in prison awaiting trail.

Afghanistan Veterans Support U.S. Anti-Terrorist Actions
The Afghanistan Veterans Union in Sverdlovsk Oblast said that bomb strikes in Afghanistan present "a rather acceptable way to fight terrorism if peaceful residents do not suffer," Uralinformbureau reported on 8 October.

Duma Asks Putin To Resume TV Broadcasting In Udmurtia
The Duma has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to renew transmissions of Udmurtia's national television channel, whose broadcasts were stopped by order of Oleg Dobrodeev, the head of the Russian-wide state television and radio company (VGTRK), reported on 10 October. The Udmurtia channel broadcasts in Russian, Udmurt, Tatar, Bashkir, and Marii languages, so deputies said the ban violates the constitutional rights of republican residents to receive information in their native languages. Dobrodeev argued that stopping local broadcasts aimed to "prevent a conflict on the eve of the Izhevsk mayoral elections" and that Udmurtia President Aleksandr Volkov had previously been "editing all the information on the channel." At a session of the Udmurtia State Council on 8 October, Volkov sharply criticized VGTRK for efforts to replace the head of its local branch without consultations with republican leaders, calling them an infringement on the republic's sovereignty. The legislature supported him and obstructed speech by the chief federal inspector in Udmurtia and a candidate for Izhevsk mayor, Sergei Chikurov, who backed the VGTRK decision. Chikurov's main competitor in the elections is Aleksandr Solovyev, the general manager of the Udmurtavtodor road construction company.

Chechen Education Workers Thank Chuvash Militia
The Chechen Education Ministry sent a letter of thanks to Chuvashia President Nikolai Fedorov praising the republic's Interior Ministry detachment that served in Shchelkovskoi Raion for its help, "correct attitude, and "respect for local customs," VolgaInform reported on 5 October.

Udmurtia's Media Said To Have Violated Electoral Law
Pavel Zhuravlev, from the Russian Press, Television and Radio Broadcasting and Mass Media Ministry, told a meeting of editors from Udmurtia's mass media that the Izhevsk Electoral Commission issued warnings to 38 media outlets in the first week of the electoral campaign for Izhevsk mayor, reported on 4 October. He said that spurious doubles of existing editions appeared in Izhevsk to defame candidates.

Militiamen Sued For Torture
Prosecutors in Sverdlovsk Oblast filed a suit against Yurii Borovikov, the head of the Reftin village interior department, along with three of its employees, accusing them of torturing suspects, Region-Inform reported on 5 October.

Perm Court To Deal With 'Kim Jong-Il' Case
A Perm district court passed to a Perm Oblast court a lawsuit by city residents against the Sverdlovsk railroad for delaying trains for several hours during the visit to Russia of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 5 October. The defendant said that it will base its defense on the fact that the documents are a state secret, so the case is to be judged by the oblast or a higher-level court.

Marii El Patriots Oppose Land Code
The Popular Patriotic Union In Yoshkar-Ola called on members of the Federation Council from Marii El to vote against the Land Code, reported on 4 October.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova