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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 25, 2004

25 October 2004
Tatar Parliament To Discuss Abolishing Election Of Governors...
Tatarstan's parliamentary Committee on State Building and Local Self-Government on 23 October approved the draft amendment on abolishing the election of regional administration heads for discussion at the State Council's plenary session, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. In addition to the amendment proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tatar deputies proposed that Putin should be obliged to choose candidates for regional leaders "taking into consideration the historical, cultural, economic, and social peculiarities of each region." The deputies will also propose regulations limiting Putin's power to dissolve regional parliaments should they reject presidential or gubernatorial candidates more than twice.

...And Help Kazan To Get A $200 Million Loan From EBRD
The same committee on 23 October approved the draft law on providing the Kazan municipal authorities with the power to introduce extra measures of social security and proposed it for further readings by the parliament's plenary session, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 26 October. The draft is essential for fulfilling the preconditions of obtaining a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) by 2005 celebration of the Kazan millennium.

Demonstration Calls For Preserving Regional Elections
Some 400 people took part on 23 October in a demonstration in Kazan against President Putin's proposal to abolish the election of regional administration heads, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The protest, sponsored by the Creation movement, attracted a mix of people including local communist activists and moderate Tatar nationalist-movement leaders.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Bashkortostan's Tatars Support Script Reform
The Union of Tatar Organizations in Bashkortostan has issued a public statement supporting the Tatar Latin-script reform. The statement is addressed to the Russian State Duma, the Federation Council, and the Russian Constitutional Court, which is currently considering the legality of Tatarstan's proposed reform. The union, which comprises 18 Tatar civic organizations in Bashkortostan, also sent a copy of the statement to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev. According to the union's Deputy Chairman Mejit Khujin, Shaimiev is "still undecided" on the reform. At the same meeting, a number of experts in Tatar linguistics emphasized that the Latin-based script was the best means of expressing the phonetics of the Tatar language. Khujin added that federal regulations proscribing the use of the Cyrillic script represented a "violent intrusion of politics into the intimate area of ethnic self-identity."

Ufa Opens Representation In Orenburg
Bashkortostan has opened a representation in Orenburg, Regnum reported on 24 October. The move comes after a June agreement on economic and cultural cooperation between Bashkortostan and the neighboring Orenburg Oblast. The office will manage joint projects concerning the two regions and prepare special events. Some 50,000 ethnic Bashkirs live in Orenburg, representing 2.5 percent of the oblast's population. Bashkir language and culture is studied in some of the local schools, while the Orenburg administration has reportedly initiated the construction of an ethnic Bashkir village on its territory.

Republican Council Discusses Corruption
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov called on the Republican Council on 23 October to discuss ways of boosting the efficiency of governmental bodies dealing with the development of private business and trade, Bashinform reported the same day. Rakhimov told the meeting's participants that corruption remains a major obstacle for private businesses.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi