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Bashkir Activists Detained, Opposition Website Blocked

UFA, Bashkortostan -- Blogger and historical essayist Sergei Orlov has been detained along with three others by police in Bashkortostan's capital for alleged extremism, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Orlov is accused of calling for extremist acts and instigating hatred and animosity on, a website that is frequently critical of Bashkortostan's government.

The website has been blocked following a court order.

The others detained along with Orlov on August 4 include opposition figure and businessman Nikolai Shvetsov, Konstantin Nesterov, and Igor Kuchumov.

Orlov is an active livejournal blogger who also helped Shvetsov write a regional history book in which Bashkortostan's indigenous people -- Bashkirs -- are depicted as uncultured and barbaric in resisting Russian dominance.

Some Russian and Tatar public organizations in Bashkortostan accuse the republican government of building an ethnocratic regime in which Bashkirs are favored at the expense of sizable Russian and Tatar communities.

In the 2002 census, ethnic Russians were the largest community in the republic at about 36 percent of the population.

Bashkirs compose about 30 percent and Tatars 24 percent of Bashkortostan residents.