Accessibility links

Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 21, 2002

21 May 2002
Government Discusses Preparations For Census
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev convened a meeting on 20 May of top governmental officials, including the heads of all city and regional administrations, devoted to the Russian census in October, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported yesterday. Shaimiev said the census was "of great importance for the [Russian] state, since it will be the first [census] since the collapse of the Soviet Union." He also said the census results "will serve as the basis of the country's many economic and social reforms to be introduced in future."

Valerii Kandilov, head of Tatarstan's State Statistics Committee, said that some 15,000 census officers will gather statistical data in the republic, 11,000 of whom will visit private residences while another 4,000 will work at census stations.

First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov proposed during the meeting that census forms be printed not only in Russian but also in Tatar for the convenience of the Tatar population, but Kandilov rejected this, saying that only census officers will fill in the forms. Kandilov said, however, that census officers will either have to communicate with individuals in their native language or be accompanied by an interpreter.

Interior Minister Asgat Safarov said that the police will provide security for census officers when visiting the homes of citizens "who have a criminal background or are prone to antisocial behavior." Safarov also said the census will help establish just how many people from other Russian regions and CIS countries reside in the republic. He estimated that from 100,000 to 170,000 such people have moved to Tatarstan in the last decade.

The subject of the division of Tatars into sub-ethnic groups during the census was not mentioned at the meeting (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 15, 16, 19 April, 9, 20 May 2002, and "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Weekly Report," 29 March 2002).

Kogogin: KamAZ Facing 'Critical' Situation...
Upon returning from a trip to the United Arab Emirates, the recently appointed general director of KamAZ automotive concern, Sergei Kogogin (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 April 2002), told a press conference at Kazan airport yesterday that the company was "currently facing a similar critical situation to [the one it faced in] 1997 because of inefficient management," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported today. Kogogin said his first measures for improving the situation at KamAZ, which has been generating debts and losing its position in the Russian market, would be the introduction of a transparent accounting system so that he can be better prepared to manage the company.

Kogogin also said he is planning to replace the company's top managers and to lay off workers. KamAZ shareholders are expected to discuss these proposals at their meeting on 13 June.

...Trying To Increase Sales To United Arab Emirates
Kogogin said at the same press conference that the United Arab Emirates is considering the possibility of purchasing KamAZ-4326 off-road military vehicles to replace the British Bedford trucks currently used by the country's armed forces. KamAZ reportedly sold 200 such vehicles to the country in 2001.

Merchants Protest Foreign Presence In Chally Markets
Some 200 market merchants gathered in front of the city administration building in Chally yesterday to protest the opening of the Aq Kayen wholesale market, which the merchants claim is owned by businessmen from Southeast Asia. The merchants also asked the Chally administration to ban foreigners from running wholesale trade centers in the city, Efir television reported the same day. The protesters said they are afraid of having to compete with those selling cheap consumer goods made in China and Vietnam.

The city administration's security service used tear gas to disperse the crowd, which reportedly tried to break into the mayor's office.

Chally police chief Daufit Khamadishin said the security service's actions were "adequate for the situation," adding that, "There are no Vietnamese or Chinese [people] selling goods at Chally markets, and so I can't understand the protesters' demands."

Efir television also quoted the director of the Aq Kayen market as saying that only local residents worked as merchants at the market.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Tatar Organizations Criticize 'Unequal Conditions'
A number of Tatar civic organizations are pushing for preparations to begin for the second Congress of Tatars in Bashkortostan, which is planned for this year, despite the fact that the Bashkortostan government still has not approved the congress, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday. Tatar organizations issued a joint statement yesterday saying that it was important to begin preparations for the congress right away, especially since preparations also have to be made for the World Tatar Congress to be held in August. The statement also blamed republican authorities for setting unequal conditions for holding Bashkir and Tatar congresses, citing the fact that preparations for the World Bashkir Congress were officially launched six months before the event.

Ethnography Expert Predicts Tatar Population Growth In Bashkortostan
Ildar Gabdrafikov, head of the Department of Ethnography and Ethnic Policies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Ufa, told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent yesterday that 1989 census figures showed there were 1.13 million Tatars living in Bashkortostan at that time, which represented more than 20 percent of the entire Tatar nation and some 29 percent of Bashkortostan's population. He also said that more than 200,000 Bashkortostan residents who registered as Bashkirs in 1989 listed Tatar as their native language.

Gabdrafikov said: "If [the October census] is held without pressure from the Bashkortostan government, it will indicate a natural increase in the Tatar population, which is also the result of the flow of immigrants from CIS countries to Bashkortostan, who are predominantly Tatar. In this case, the Tatar population in Bashkortostan is expected to exceed 30 percent. But if the census comes under pressure from the [Bashkortostan] government, it will benefit the Bashkir population, and the reported number of Bashkirs will grow proportionally to the decrease of the Tatar population."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi