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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 7, 2001

7 September 2001
Tatarstan Constitution Harmonization Talks Deadlocked
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 6 September reported that negotiations between Kazan and Moscow on the harmonization of Tatarstan's basic law reached a deadlock in mid-August despite earlier progress. Tatarstan negotiators had been surprised by the earlier liberal position of the Moscow people but then saw the Russian representatives harden their position and reject agreements that had been reached.

Tatar University Project Finds Support
�Zvezda Povolzhya� reported on 6 September that a project of the Tatar National University developed by American Professor Uli Shamilogli enjoys support from Tatar politicians and public figures, among them of Duma deputy Fandas Safiullin and presidential advisor Rafail Khakimov. Safiullin also said that he has been invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the Gagauz University on 7 September.

Duma Said Planning To Prohibit Latinization
Presidential advisor Rafail Khakimov said on 6 September that Russia still could not decide how to react on the Tatar latinization project � whether to feign that it is no concern of it or to forbid Tatarstan to switch to Latin script. He said that Duma is developing a draft federal law prohibiting switching to Latin script, but he pointed out that such an act would be a violation of Russian Constitution. He said that the law on restoration of the Tatar Latin script has already come into effect and added that republic authorities as usual sought to avoid �shocking� methods and use milder ones. Apart from Tatarstan�s schools where Tatar Latin script will be studied, he stressed, there are a lot of Tatar schools outside Tatarstan that are ready to join the process and are waiting for new textbooks. The only region where big troubles connected with introduction of Tatar Latin script may arise is Bashkortostan since leaders there hinder the move, Khakimov said.

Russian Scholar Says Latinization A Political Issue
Vladimir Alpatov, the deputy director of the Oriental Researches Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in �Nezavisimaya gazeta� on 5 September that he is against latinization of the Russian and Tatar languages. He noted that language issues had played great role in national movements in the USSR in 1988-1991 and had sometimes inspired �language wars.� He quoted French scholar Helene Carriere d'Encause as saying that �the aim of the reform [of the Tatar alphabet] is a political one. It draws Tatars together with their brothers in Central Asian independent states and Muslims of the Middle East. And the most important, it destroys one of the few factors of Russia�s integrity.� Alpatov also cited Turkish professor Turan Yazgan as saying about the Chuvash language that �the most efficient way of weakening Russian influence on Chuvashia is switching to Latin writing, introduction of the Chuvash language in secondary schools, and increase of quotas for training Chuvash students in Turkey.� Alpatov noted that those former Soviet republics which have shifted alphabets now have "colder" ties with Moscow.

Human Rights Defender Accused of Embezzlement
The Kazan interior board�s economic crimes department said on 6 September that it has filed a suit against Dmitrii Vokhmyanin, the chairman of the Tatarstan Human Rights Committee, having accused him of embezzlement of 160,000 rubles ($5,500), RIA-novosti reported.

Editors Say End to Tax Breaks Threaten Publications
The chief editors of republic's eleven newspapers and magazines have published an appeal in �Respublika Tatarstan� on 6 September calling on republic leaders to seek to extend tax breaks for republic periodicals. The editors noted that Moscow intends to cancel these taxes and that this will represent "a blow to freedom of speech and the constitutional right of citizens to receive information." Without the existing tax breaks, they said, subscription prices would rise 60-70 percent.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Constitutional Court Chairman Rejects Protests Against Bashkortostan Constitution
Constitutional Court Chairman Ildus Adihamov said on 6 September that he considers as being without foundation a protest by the Volga District prosecutors� office against 54 paragraphs of the Bashkortostan Constitution. He noted that those who protest against the republic constitution evaluate it in a formal way and said he hopes that appeals of Bashkortostan President and State Assembly to federal bodies concerning the issue will be resolved in republic�s favor. He called on the republic parliament to more actively participate in a legislative process at the federal level and proposed setting up legislative-representative bodies of federation subjects in the Duma. He said that centralization in the sphere of legislation does not take into account interests of republics and oblasts, and he added that the issue of power sharing is of great importance for legislature.

Bashkortostan Suffers Another Combat Death in Chechnya
Vladimir Simarchuk, the chairman of the republic committee for social defense of servicemen and their families, told Bashinform on 6 September that another serviceman from Bashkortostan, Artur Akhmedyanov, 19, a resident of the Abzelil raion, has been killed in Chechnya near Shali.

New Mosque Opens in Tuimazy Raion
The chairman of the Russian Muslims Central Religious Board, Mufti Talgat Tadjutdin took part in the ceremony of opening of a new mosque in the village of Tyumenyak of the Tuimazy raion, Bashinform reported on 5 September.

Premier Unhappy with Slow Pace of Harvesting
Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov on 5 September said that 11 raions in the republic have fulfilled state orders on grain production and that agricultural producers have delivered to the state totally 490,000 tons of grain in payments on their debts. But he said that as a whole, harvesting this year is unsatisfactory. He noted that 84 percent of planned sowing has already done, the result that is better than a year ago, but he added that the government doubts that the statistics reported by farms is true. In other comments, he said that the debt on wages to employees of agricultural enterprises have been reduced from 519 million to 283 million rubles over the past month.

Ufa Residents Called Up for Training
Some 7,000 residents of Ufa and the Ufa raion liable to the draft were called to take part in military training on 5-7 September, Bashinform reported. Republic military commissar Timofei Azarov said that such a large training program is being held there for the first time.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova