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Tatar-Bashkir Daily Report -- 28 November 2003

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  • Uli Schamiloglu
    This article below appears on the web site of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) http://www.rferl.org and has been sent to you by Uli Schamiloglu.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2003
      This article below appears on the web site of Radio Free Europe/
      Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) http://www.rferl.org and has been sent
      to you by Uli Schamiloglu.

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      Tatar-Bashkir Daily Report


      RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Service

      Tatar-Bashkir Report Archive

      28 November 2003


      Public Figures Protest Construction Of Catholic Church

      A group of public figures appealed to Tatar President
      Mintimer Shaimiev to protest against plans by the city of
      Kazan to build a large Catholic church in the center of
      Kazan near an Old Belief church, "Zvezda povolzhya"
      reported on 27 November. In an open letter published in
      the weekly, the authors say the intention to build a
      Catholic church in Kazan, which has only several dozen
      Catholics, many of them foreigners, demonstrates the
      Vatican's missionary activity in Tatarstan, where Islam
      and Orthodoxy are the main beliefs. The Russian Orthodox
      Church has condemned such expansionist plans by the
      Vatican, they added. Society for Russian Culture Chairman
      Aleksandr Salagaev, People's Will party regional branch
      head Sergei Gavrilov, and Democratic Party of Russian in
      Tatarstan deputy head Sergei Nikitin are among the

      The church is designed to be 64 meters high, higher than
      the Geliesker Kamal Tatar National Theater located
      nearby, the paper reported. According to the weekly, the
      church is intended to be the place where Pope John Paul
      II will return the Holy Mother of God of Kazan icon
      stolen from Kazan a century ago and currently in the
      Vatican's possession. This would free the pope of the
      necessity to hand over the icon to the Russian Orthodox
      Church. John Paul II has repeatedly expressed his
      intention to return the icon to Kazan, though the Russian
      Orthodox Church has protested against his visit to Russia
      until disagreements between the Vatican and the Moscow
      Patriarchy are resolved (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir
      Report," 15, 21, and 23 April and 31 October 2003).

      Tatar Council Speaker Says Position Regarding Tatar
      Language Key One To Back Candidate For Bashkir President

      Interviewed on Bashkir State Radio and Television during
      a visit to Ufa on 26 November, Tatarstan's State Council
      Chairman Farid Mukhametshin said, "any choice made by the
      multinational people of Bashkortostan" in the 7 December
      presidential elections will be respected by Tatarstan,
      "which always promotes maintaining good-neighborly
      relations with Bashkortostan." Mukhametshin added that he
      believes Bashkortostan's Tatar population will vote for a
      candidate who shows a clear perspective for preservation
      and development of the Tatar language and customs.

      In an interview with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 27
      November, political analyst Mekhmut Ekhmetjanov said
      Mukhametshin's Ufa visit on the eve of the Bashkir
      presidential elections and his attendance with President
      Murtaza Rakhimov of the opening ceremony of a hall in the
      Ufa Nur Tatar Theater is a clear sign of support for
      Rakhimov, who is responsible for the poor state of the
      Tatar language and violations of Tatars' rights of
      national cultural development in Bashkortostan.

      Duma Candidate Reports Violations By Rival

      State Duma candidate Ivan Grachev appealed to the Volga
      Federal District election commission to accuse another
      candidate in the same single-mandate district, Krasnyi
      Vostok brewery Chairman Airat Kheirullin of Unified
      Russia, of violating election law, "Zvezda povolzhya"
      reported on 27 November. Grachev claimed that Krasnyi
      Vostok workers are involved in removing and damaging
      campaign materials of other candidates, first of all
      Grachev's. He also said company employees are forced to
      join Unified Russia under threat of firing and financial
      penalties. Salespeople of the Edelveis stores co-owned by
      Kheirullin were charged with distributing his campaign
      materials to customers, Grachev said. He asked the
      commission to stop Kheirullin's illegal activity and to
      appeal to law enforcement bodies to hold him

      Nizhnekamsneftekhim To Develop Projects With Foreign

      Nizhnekamsneftekhim and Italy's Ballestra will set up a
      joint venture in Tatarstan's Tuben Kama in early 2004 to
      produce linear alkyl benzene, which is used in perfume
      and detergent production, RosBalt reported on 27
      November, citing the Nizhnekamskneftekhim press service.
      The $2.4 million facility is expected to produce up to
      45,000 tons of the substance per year. Production is
      scheduled start on 1 February. The Tuben Kama venture
      will sell the chemical to Procter&Gamble. The total
      demand for linear alkyl benzene in Russia is estimated at
      120,000 tons, while the only Russian company producing
      it, Kirishinefteorgsintez, produces 50,000 tons a year
      and exports 70 percent of it.

      Nizhnekamskneftekhim and LG International Corp. have
      signed an agreement on intentions to construct a
      foamed-polystyrene plant, skrin.ru reported on 27
      November, citing the Tatar Trade and Foreign Economic
      Cooperation Ministry. The $50 million plant is planned to
      produce 40,000 tons of foamed polystyrene a year.

      Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova


      Federal Officials Investigate Bashkir Central Election

      The Russian Central Election Commission (TsIK) suspects
      the Central Election Commission (USK) of Bashkortostan of
      committing "criminal negligence," TsIK Chairman Aleksandr
      Veshnyakov told reporters on 27 November, Russian news
      agencies reported the same day. Veshnyakov explained that
      the TsIK was informed about ballot forms for the Russian
      State Duma election being printed with violations of
      election laws. The ballots, which have already been
      distributed to voting districts across the republic, were
      reportedly printed "on paper of inappropriate color and
      inappropriate quality." Special TsIK inspectors are
      currently investigating the affair and if the initial
      report turns out to be true, the improperly printed
      ballots will be destroyed. In this is the case, the TsIK
      is entitled to initiate a criminal investigation against
      the USK, which could be accused of criminal negligence.

      ..As USK Begins Destroying Ballot Forms For Presidential

      Meanwhile, the Bashkir USK on 27 November included the
      name of opposition candidate Sergei Veremeenko on the
      list of presidential candidates for the 7 December
      elections, thus completely fulfilling the 17 December
      decision of the Russian TsIK on officially registering
      him as a candidate, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported
      the same day (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 26
      November 2003). Within the next five days, the USK must
      destroy the ballot forms printed without Veremeenko's

      Bombing Suspect Remains In Custody

      Ufa's Kirov Raion court on 27 November ruled to keep
      Vyacheslav Senin in custody, Interfax and RosBalt
      reported the same day. Senin is suspected of plotting the
      assassination of Aleksandr Veremeenko, the former head of
      Mezhprombank's Ufa office and brother of Bashkir
      presidential candidate Sergei Veremeenko (see "RFE/RL
      Tatar-Bashkir Report," 10 June 2003). According to
      Senin's lawyer, Petr Femichev, Senin is currently charged
      with illegal possession of firearms and false reporting
      of an act of terrorism. After being arrested on 24
      November, Senin confessed to setting a booby trap of five
      hand grenades at the gate of Veremeenko's house "with
      hooligan intentions," but now is denying his confession,
      insisting that he was pressured into confessing.

      Although the investigators had previously claimed that
      Senin is also connected to the 5 November bombing in Ufa,
      according to the lawyer, these charges "were not even
      discussed during the court session" (see "RFE/RL
      Tatar-Bashkir Report," 7 November 2003). The suspect
      reportedly worked for the private Intertekhbezopasnost
      security company and his job was to guard Veremeenko's

      Opposition Leaders Claim Privacy Infringed

      A Bashkir State Assembly deputy representing Yabloko,
      Gennadii Shabaev, and the leader of the republic's
      opposition Rus organization, Anatolii Dubovskii, told a
      press conference in Ufa on 27 November that
      Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry is taping their home
      telephones, Interfax and RosBalt reported the same day.

      Recently Shabaev and Dubovskii had transcripts of their
      telephone discussions on the republic's coming
      presidential elections published on the Internet with a
      note saying that the transcript was prepared by "a group
      of Bashkir Interior Ministry officers" (see "RFE/RL
      Tatar-Bashkir Report," 20 November 2003).

      The opposition leaders reportedly filed a complaint on
      violation of their privacy to the Bashkir Prosecutor's
      Office. Interior Ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov
      told RosBalt after the press conference that his ministry
      was not in any way connected to the tapping, which in his
      opinion was not proved by the complainants.

      Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

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      Uli Schamiloglu
      Professor of Turkic & Central Eurasian Studies
      Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia
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