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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 23, 2001

23 July 2001
Federal Inspectors Given Site for Offices
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 19 July reported that Tatarstan has given the federal inspectors in the republic a plot of land near the center of Kazan for the construction of offices.

Turkish Scholars Prepare Book on Tatarstan
The Turkic Peoples International Cooperation Agency under the patronage of the Turkish government has conducted a survey of Tatarstan�s main ethnic groups � Tatars and Russians � as a project for a book about Tatarstan, �Vostochnyi ekspress� reported on 20 July. Ismail Turkogly, a project participant and the deputy director of the Marmara University�s Turkic Peoples Studies Institute, told the paper that the investigators had found a growth of religious awareness among both groups and a declining standard of living to be the key trends in the republic.

Moscow Says Tatarstan Need Not Speed Up Harmonization
Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, the Russian Deputy Prosecutor General, said that Tatarstan does not have to accelerate work on harmonization, �Respublika Tatarstan� reported on 20 July.

Moscow Fails to Fund Tatar National-Cultural Autonomy
Farid Urazaev, a leader of the Tatar Russian-wide national-cultural autonomy, told �Zvezda Povolzhya� on 19 July that the Russian government has refused for three years his organization's request for 4.5 million rubles ($155,000) annually in support as required by federal legislation. He said this was especially wrong because the Tatars of Russia pay at least ten billion rubles in taxes every year. He added that to perform its taxes, his group need 500 million rubles a year.

Ulyanovsk Tatars Protest Violations Of Tatars� Rights
In an appeal to Russian leaders published in �Zvezda Povolzhya on 19 July, the Ulyanovsk Tatar public movement �Tugan tel� stated that rights provided by the Russian Constitution are regularly infringed and that principles of the charters of UN, OSCE and PASE on promotion of ethnic cultures, languages and traditions are ignored in Russia, while great-power chauvinism remains widespread. The authors noted that more than 100,000 Tatars in Ulyanovsk or 15 percent of the city's residents have no premises to satisfy their cultural and educational. They opposed as well plans to make the anniversary of the Kulikovo battle a state holiday and the forcible promotion of Russian language through the educational system. They labeled as �genocide� the accumulation of nuclear industry, production and storage of explosive and the use of poisonous substances in places where non-Russian peoples compactly live. And they called attention to the fact that after the nuclear disaster in the Chelyabinsk Oblast�s Kunashak district, the Russian population had been evacuated while Tatars and Bashkirs still remain there. The authors criticized presence of Christian symbols on state awards and passports being handed out to Muslims as well, attempts by �chauvinist circles� to block the introduction of Tatar Latin alphabet, and efforts to divide Tatar people into several ethnic groups like Christian Tatars, Mishers, Nogais, Teptyars and the like.

Weekly Says Moscow Pays Kazan to Amend Constitution
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 19 July wrote that Moscow's allocation $2 billion a year for the five-year federal program of the development of Tatarstan, three times the sum transferred by the republic to Moscow in taxes, is likely a payment to force the republic to amend its constitution. �If each amended paragraph of the Constitution is paid for in this way, that is not so bad, and it is quite possible to create civil society on this money,� the paper noted. It continued that Shaimiev �will take the money from the federal authority but will spend them on the construction of a prosperous Tatarstan which will be, Quebec-like, ready any moment to move its just demands.� Tatarstan currently defends democracy and Shaimiev is a democrat to a greater degree than Nemtsov or Chubais as federalism is a democracy, the weekly said. It concluded that Putin must help the republic or communists will take more power just as they are doing even in the former stronghold of SPS, Nizhnii Novgorod.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Ufa, Kazan Combine Efforts Against UES
Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov on 20 July in Kazan met with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev to discuss joint economic projects, Tatar-inform reported. The same day, Baidavletov and his Tatarstan counterpart Rustam Minnikhanov signed economic agreements on cooperation of the two republics� energy systems, on setting up a holding on joint production of fertilizers at the participation of Mezhregiongaz, on joint development of Bashkortostan�s quarries and interim accord on further rise of water level at the Tuben Kama reservoir. Specifically, the sides agreed to set up a coordination power-engineering commission and stressed that energy systems of the two republics can work together independently from other regions and UES.

Health Ministry Reports Personnel Deficit in Rural Areas
The Health Ministry on 19 July said that infant mortality had fallen to 12 per 1000 live births in 2001 but that HIV infections, tuberculosis and drug addiction had increased, Bashinform reported. Minister Rais Khasanov told a ministry board that medical institutions have only 63 percent of doctors and 85 percent of nurses they need and called for the introduction of a contract system of employment as a measure to improve the situation. He said that specialized medical help is becoming inaccessible for rural residents. He called for promotion of paid medical services but at the same time said that healthcare must be given a state support. Deputy Prime Minister Fidus Yamaltdinov said that the republic budget had allotted 5 billion rubles ($172 million) for the health sector in 2001 and that74 million rubles had been received from the federal budget.

Bashkortostan Sending More Taxes to Moscow
Galiya Lukmanova, the deputy head of the Russian Tax Ministry's Bashkortostan Board, said on 20 July that the republic over the last six months has collected 23.8 billion rubles ($820 million) in taxes and transferred 11.6 billion rubles to Moscow, 2.4 times the previous year�s sum, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 20 July. Firms paid 68 percent of the total.

Third Group of Interior Officers This Year Heads to Chechnya
The third group of Bashkortostan interior ministry officers has left for service in Chechnya, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 19 July.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova