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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 25, 2002

25 January 2002
Parliamentarian Promotes Idel-Ural State...
In an interview published in "Zvezda Povolzhya" on 24 January, Razil Valeev, the chairman of the State Council's Commission on Science, Education, Culture, and National Issues, spoke in favor of establishing an Idel-Ural state: "a true, true Tatar state" uniting 5 million Tatars. The current Tatarstan is a fragment of the Tatar area artificially created by Josef Stalin, and Tatars are now a divided people, Valeev said. He said Tatarstan is not a colony, as "we have the embryo of statehood." Valeev said Tatarstan cannot secede from Russia, as the whole of Russia rather than just Tatarstan is Tatars' motherland. He added that Tatarstan's Tatars cannot separate "from themselves" -- referring to Siberian, Astrakhan, Moscow, and Bashkortostan Tatars.

...And Calls For Introduction Of Language Requirements To State Officials
In the same interview, State Council Deputy Valeev said the Tatar language cannot become a truly state language without "a true Tatar state." He suggested that a requirement be introduced that state officials be able to speak both state languages. Such a measure was initially planned but then postponed and forgotten, he said, adding that the republic is "overly cautious" on this issue.

Valeev said the republic's leadership compromises with Moscow in harmonization, as it "is afraid of losing the gains of the past decade" and "has Chechnya in front of its eyes." At the same time, Tatars are the second-largest people in Russia, he said: "We aren't indifferent to Russia's fate, and we should care about Russia." He called on federal authorities "to share power" through wider involvement of Tatars in managing federal ministries. He also spoke for the restoration of a vice president's post in Tatarstan in charge of national policy.

Ufa To Meet Commitments On Processing Tatar Oil
Tatarstan Deputy Economy and Industry Minister Farit Tuktarov said a recent agreement between Bashkortostan and Surgutneftegaz will not affect relations between Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in oil processing or other sectors, reported on 24 January. Tuktarov said Bashkortostan's oil refineries, which control one-fifth of Russia's total oil-processing capacities, are able to process oil not only from Surgut but also from Tatarstan as well as from other sources. Bashkortostan will continue refining 3.5 million tons of Tatarstan oil, he said. However, Tuktarov stressed that the construction of the Tuben Kama oil refinery is a priority for Tatarstan.

TPC Congress To Discuss Pre-Census Strategy
The Tatar Public Center is arranging a Turan Center in Kazan to promote uniting Turkic and Finno-Ugric peoples in the cultural, economic, and political sectors, TPC Chairman Rashit Yagfarov told Tatar-inform on 24 January. The TPC also is preparing for its 13-14 April congress with an eye to adopting measures promoting the integrity of Tatars as a single nation in the 2002 census, Yagfarov said.

Ulyanovsk Mufti Accused Of Embezzlement
Ayup Deberdeev, a mufti at one of Ulyanovsk's three Muslim Religious Boards, is being charged with fraud and embezzlement, "Izvestia" reported on 23 January. Deberdeev is accused of speculation with charity funds, including money allocated by Ulyanovsk Governor Vladimir Shamanov for the oblast's Muslims to make their hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. The Deberdeev-headed board is subordinate to Ufa, while two others are under Kazan and Moscow.

Deberdeev told the daily that the case against him is "political games initiated by Wahhabis." Meanwhile, Shamanov did not show his preference to any of the three boards and urged all oblast Muslims for peace, concord, and unity. However, the paper cited local political analysts as predicting growing tension between Muslim communities.

Moscow's Muslims Tolerant Toward Other Faiths reported on 21 January that 85 percent of the Muslims living in Moscow questioned said they offer all prayers and fast at Ramadan. Almost all of those asked said they have good relations with non-Muslims, with only 1.5 percent viewed members of other faiths negatively. Half of Muslims are interested in politics, and almost all Muslims disagreed with the 11 September terrorist acts against the United States. A majority of those who follow events in Afghanistan stated their support for the Northern Alliance.

More Than $1 Million Donated For Qol Sherif Construction
Fatbir Safin, the director of the Fund of Financial Support for the Construction of the Qol Sherif Mosque, told "Tatar ile" on 24 January that 38.9 million rubles ($1.3 million) has been allocated for his fund, with 1.3 million rubles ($42,600) made up of donations by private individuals.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Civil Defense, Emergencies Officials Participate In Exercises In Bashkortostan
The heads of civil defense and emergency situations departments of the Volga-Ural military district took part in simulation exercises at the Ufaorgsintez chemical plant in Ufa on 24 January, reported. Bashkortostan Civil Defense and Emergencies Minister Marat Magadeev told the agency that participants reacted to a hostages crisis, a plant explosion, a chemical contamination, and a fire. Fifty vehicles and 250 employees from the district's 21 territorial entities, including representatives from the Bashkortostan Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, and the Health Ministry, took part in the event.

Meanwhile, Petr Tretyakov, the head of the federal ministry's Volga-Ural regional center, told a press conference on 23 January that his ministry has lost half of its mid-level officers because of poor funding. Tretyakov lauded the activities of his Bashkortostan counterparts, who he said maintain staff levels and a high level of professionalism.

Legislation Makes Way Through Assembly
The State Assembly on 24 January passed in its third reading an amendment to sales tax laws and annulled a law on pricing, the presidential press service reported. Deputies also passed amendments to a law on medical insurance in a second reading and to a law on the state land registry in a first reading.

Health Minister Reports Growing Financial Support In Sector
Health Minister Rais Khasanov said on 24 January that outpatient facilities capable of accepting 2,200 patients were established throughout the republic, 20 percent of what is required under the state program of free medical care, Bashinform reported. Khasanov said 25 percent of medical institutions' buildings are nearly at the end of their useful lives. At the same time, the minister said financing for the sector has tripled over the past five years as a result of the state policy on the development of health care. The republican budget will spend 1,564 rubles per capita this year, some 25 percent above the 2001 rate.

Memorial To Bashkortostan Residents Open In St. Petersburg
A memorial to the defenders from Bashkortostan of Leningrad during the Nazi siege is to be opened in the St. Petersburg's Piskarevskoye cemetery on 25 January, Bashinform reported. Roughly 11,500 Bashkortostan residents were lost in WWII battles near Leningrad, 570 of whom are buried in the Piskarevskoye cemetery. Bashkortostan Deputy Prime Minister Fidus Yamaltdinov left for St. Petersburg to attend the opening ceremony.

Alcohol Imports Are Up
Alcohol imports to Bashkortostan increased by 60 percent last year, while sales of imported vodka totaled 35 times the previous year's rate, Bashinform reported on 22 January. Alcohol exports from the republic increased in 2001 by 4.3 percent, while alcohol production in the republic grew by 10.3 percent, the agency said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova