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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 6, 2001

6 September 2001
Analyst Wants Kazan to Resist Moscow's Growing Pressure
In an interview published in "Vostochnyi Ekspress" on 31 August, political analyst Talgat Bareyev said that the idea of independent statehood is a fundamental element in Tatar public thought. He noted that it had been theoretically formulated by Gayaz Iskhaki in his writings on Idel-Ural in 1920s-30s, the times when the idea of national independence had to have appeared more distant and unreal than now. Bareyev said that it is essential that Kazan not end its drive now and said that the republic authorities must do more to resist Moscow's "colonial" pressure against the use of the Latin script and the Russian state's use of Christian symbols. He added that Tatarstan should not be taking part in the Russian Duma and should instead call attention to Moscow's return to "police measures of management" in its dealings with Tatarstan. He said that the Tatarstan constitution must not be harmonized with the Russian one and that the republic's parliament should resist to the end. If Moscow tries to dissolve that body, he said, its members will become national heroes.

Watan Party Says Kremlin Seeks to Use Tatar Intelligentsia Against Latin Script
"Shehri Qazan" on 5 September published a statement by the Watan people-democratic party protesting Moscow's efforts to counteract the introduction in Tatarstan of the Tatar Latin script. The authors noted that the Kremlin had sent a letter to Tatar intellectuals asking them to sign a declaration that switching to the Latin script would "cut off Tatars from the invaluable heritage of Russian culture." The Watan activists noted that latinization in fact will help block Moscow's policy of russification.

TPC Calls on National Movements to Unite
The Tatar Public Center in Chally urged all the republic's national movements to unite in a popular front to defend the republic against Moscow's pressure. In an appeal addressed to federal mass media, the TPC noted that if the media do not report what is going on, they risk becoming "an obedient mouthpiece of Putin's policy on strengthening vertical power." The TPC also urged the media to report "objectively" about the problems and achievements of non-Russian peoples.

HIV Infections Increase Dramatically in Kazan
The number of HIV-infected residents in Kazan has more than doubled over the past three months to 895, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 5 September. Moreover, the paper said, six babies were born by HIV-positive mothers current year.

Rise in Living Standards Lags Production Increase in Tatarstan
"Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 5 September that Tatarstan, while among the top ten regions in terms of gross regional product, is only 28th in per capita income, 38th in the number of doctors, 56th in availability of housing, and 66th in the number of hospital beds per 1,000.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Professor Urges Referendum on Bashkortostan's Independence
A founder of the Bashkir nationalist movement, and dean of the history faculty at Bashkir State University, Professor Marat Kulsharipov told RFE/RL on 5 September that "the time has come to protect Bashkortostan's independence and legislation" by means of referendum. He explained that previous referendums held there "had mostly referred to economic independence rather than political independence and some 70% of the population supported it."

Bashkortostan to Spend More on Distribution of New Russian Passports
Bashkortostan's Passport-Visa Service chief Rim Karimov on 5 September confirmed that the republic government plans to increase funding to his agency in order to promote the distribution of new Russian passports. To date, he said, only 4 percent of those eligible for such passports have received them.

Ufa Increase its Role at Bashneftekhim
The Bashkortostan Republic increased it stake in Basneftekhim oil refining company up to 99,22%, Bashinform reported on 5 September.

Small Hydro Power Plants Program Endorsed
The Cabinet of Ministers endorsed the program for construction of 30 small hydro power plants in the republic in 2001-2005, State Radio reported on 5 September.

Foreign Experts Praise Bashkir University
A group of Western educated praised Bashkir State University noting that it has developed "new programs under extraordinarily difficult economic conditions, reported.

Uzbek Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Ufa
A Tu-154M aircraft of Uzbekistan's Havo Yullari company flying from Ufa to Tashkent made an emergency landing in Ufa on 5 September, news agencies reported. None of the 116 people on board was hurt but the plane's landing gear and wing were damaged.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi