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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 24, 2002


24 June 2002
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Russian Prime Minister To Visit Republic
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is to visit Tatarstan on 25-26 June, intertat.ru reported on 21 June. Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev suggested the visit during a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kasyanov in order to show how Tatarstan's companies are working under new economic conditions. Kasyanov plans to visit Kazanskoe Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie (the Kazan Aviation Plant), KamAZ, and Tuben Kama petrochemical companies.

Shaimiev Says Time Is Ripe For Tatar Development...
Tatar President Shaimiev met on 22 June with leaders of Tatar civic organizations and leading Tatar businessmen from throughout Russia, intertat.ru and strana.ru reported the same day. Shaimiev said at the meeting that the policy promoted by the republic's leadership during the past decade has resulted in a new attitude on behalf of Russian authorities toward Tatars. Tatarstan's policy of sovereignty has shown Russia and the entire world that Tatarstan is an example of peaceful coexistence with other peoples, which is aimed at the establishment of a truly democratic federative Russia, Shaimiev said. He stressed that, "Tatars have done a lot to prevent Russia's disintegration, and today we have the right to expect that our position be treated with understanding."

Shaimiev added that he is "especially happy that [Tatars] have never been ashamed of [their] nationality and [have] always [been] proud of [their] origin." At the same time, Shaimiev called on Tatar leaders to refrain from trying to speed up the process of growing national self-awareness and "to use existing conditions and to understand that despite all the complexities and controversies, the Tatar nation presently has better conditions for development than it has ever had."

...Broaches Topic Of Tatar Education Throughout Russia...
Shaimiev said that Tatarstan has assisted with the opening of Tatar schools in a number of Russian regions and has supplied them with textbooks and other materials, while schools of other peoples -- Chuvash, Udmurt, Mari, and Mordovian -- have also been opened in Tatarstan. Shaimiev pointed out as an example that there is a very popular Jewish school in Kazan. He also stressed that Tatarstan will continue to promote the education of Tatars in their native language. He said that this process could be helped by making contacts with local administrations in Russian regions where Tatar communities exist, as well as by seeking sponsorship from Tatar businessmen both within and outside the republic.

...Expresses Doubt That Latin Script Will Be Beneficial For Tatars
Commenting on the use of the Latin script for the Tatar language, Tatar President Shaimiev said Tatar scholars and artists continue to debate the issue. Shaimiev said, "I signed the law on the gradual change to the Tatar Latin script, but I'm still not quite sure it will be good for the Tatar people," adding that the move could keep Tatars living in other Russian regions away from Tatarstan. Shaimiev said it is hard to imagine that the Latin script will be introduced in schools in other Russian regions since no one is going to introduce it there. Senior citizens who have been using the Cyrillic script their entire lives will also face trouble, Shaimiev said. He added that it is clear that Tatars living in Finland, Germany, or Australia definitely prefer the Latin script, though he isn't sure if they are numerous enough to warrant consideration.

At the same time, Shaimiev criticized attempts by the State Duma to politicize the issue of the Tatar script and said the amendment prohibiting the use of non-Cyrillic scripts in Russia adopted by the Duma in the first reading is not likely to be passed into law.

International Cultural Forum Opens In Kazan
Representatives of 53 cities from 26 countries gathered in Kazan to take part in the international symposium The Variety of Cultures in Historical Cities that opened on 21 June, intertat.ru reported the same day. The forum is being held under the aegis of the Council of Europe and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. President Shaimiev sent a message to forum participants in which he said, "Life itself trained our ancestors to live in peace and concord, an experience that we are ready to share with the entire world." President of the European Association of Historical Cities and Regions Louis Roppe gave Kazan high marks as an example of the peaceful coexistence of different cultures.

Crimean Tatars Hold Days Of Culture In Tatarstan
The Days of Culture of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea opened on 21 June in Kazan, various news agencies reported. The cultural forum of Crimean Tatars was originally scheduled to be held in Kazan in 1941 but those plans were ruined by World War II and the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Deputy State Council Chairman Robert Minnullin said at the opening ceremony: "We are now meeting with our close relatives. We have common roots, history, traditions, culture, religion, and the same goals."

A delegation including Secretary of the Council of Representatives of Crimean Tatars Under the Ukrainian President Nadir Bekirov and Crimea's First Deputy Culture Minister Yurii Zyryanov, met with Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Zilya Valeeva to discuss cultural cooperation. It was agreed that Days of Tatarstan will be held in Crimea in 2003.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

DAILY REVIEW FROM BASHKORTOSTAN
Kirienko Promotes Cooperation Between Ufa, Kazan In Oil Industry
Presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko said that his office has been promoting cooperation among industrialists within the district, specifically by making cooperation between Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in the oil industry a priority, nns.ru reported on 22 June, citing "Nizhegorodskie novosti." Kirienko said this is a natural match since Bashkortostan has a surplus of oil-processing facilities and Tatarstan produces a large amount of oil. He added that it would be unprofitable if Bashkir companies were to prospect for oil throughout the country and if LUKoil were to build an oil-processing plant in Tatarstan, whereas it would be more expedient if they were to unite their efforts. The Volga district envoy added that the Tatar leadership realizes this and is working in this direction, whereas Bashkortostan has still not warmed up to this idea. Kirienko said that controversies between the potential partners are linked to personal and political issues rather than economic ones.

Republic Launches Website Dedicated To Small Businesses
A website called Small Business in Bashkortostan (www.mb.bash.ru) has been established in the republic, Rosbalt reported on 21 June, citing the republic's Industry, Foreign Relations, and Trade Ministry. The site is the first such resource in the republic devoted to problems of small and medium-size businesses. The Internet site provides information on legal regulations and government resolutions to regulate small businesses, as well as information about products produced by small businesses in Bashkortostan..

Ufa Public Transportation Converting To LPG
A fifth filling station using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) opened in Ufa on 21 June, Rosbalt reported the same day, citing the Ufa city administration. The station was opened as part of a city program adopted last year under which public transportation is to be re-equipped to use LPG as a fuel. This measure is expected to reduce environmental pollution in the Bashkir capital by 15-20 percent and to reduce fuel expenses by about 60 percent. Under the program, all public-transportation vehicles are to begin using LPG in place of gasoline by the end of this year. Rosbalt quoted the head of the Ufa Transport and Communications Department, Anatolii Kantsefarov, as saying that 30 percent of public transportation has already been equipped to use LPG.

Rabbi's Visit Calls Attention To Republic's Jewish Presence
While visiting Ufa on 20 June, Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar thanked Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov for maintaining and developing the Jewish people in the republic, Bashinform reported the next day. Lazar praised Rakhimov for creating equal conditions for all religions and for a "correct" nationalities policy that allows small nations to live in peace and concord. Lazar said the Bashkir president is "a truly honest man who is interested in friendship among peoples," (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 21 June 2002).

As examples of the presence of the Jewish faith in Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported that the republic has a Jewish National Cultural Center that distributes books from Israel on Jewish history, language, and traditions. There is also a Jewish Charity Center in the republic and a Jewish group in an Ufa nursery. Bashkortostan also regularly hosts Jewish culture days and Jewish book festivals and celebrates Jewish religious holidays.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova
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