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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 1, 2001

1 October 2001
Kazan Seeks To Preserve Power-Sharing Treaty�
�Vostochnyi ekspress� on 28 September reported that those taking part in the harmonization talks with Moscow believe that the harmonization process is mostly over but there remain key disagreements on Tatarstan's status. Speaker Farid Mukhametshin said that these issues are political rather than juridical ones and that Presidents Vladimir Putin and Mintimer Shaimiev must resolve them. Negotiators said that Moscow requires Tatarstan to remove the principle on its �associated� status and more clearly specify its relations with Moscow while Tatarstan backs keeping its 1994 power-sharing treaty. Mukhametshin said that if the treaty is annulled, no legal document linking Tatarstan with Russia would remain. The weekly reported that many republic politicians consider the power-sharing treaty to be more important for Tatarstan rather than its constitution. And it quoted presidential adviser Rafail Khakimov as saying that �if we give up the treaty, all the presidential team should resign.�

�As Moscow Said Seeks To Abolish Republics
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 29 September reported that Moscow plans to take steps this fall to abolish national republics and merge them with oblasts but noted that Moscow will never agree on Tatarstan�s unification with Bashkortostan. To start with, Moscow seeks to eliminate posts of presidents in republics arguing that there can be the only president in Russia, the paper said. It commented that the political situation is now very suitable for Moscow as the international community will be unlikely to pay attention to Tatarstan�s voice protesting liquidation of the republic and will most likely ignore violations of human rights in Russia, as the Council of Europe has already changed its position concerning Chechnya.

Kremlin Said Behind Anti-Latinization Law
In an interview published by �Vostochnyi ekspress� on 28 September, Duma deputy Fandas Safiullin said that the draft law prohibiting non-Cyrillic scripts in Russia had been developed by the Russian presidential administration�s internal policy board and that its official Dmitrii Panin had collected signatures of deputies to back it. Safiullin said that the draft prohibits even use of those Latin letters that are now present in the Cyrillic Tatar alphabet, so it is in fact represents a demand for change in the current Cyrillic based alphabet used for Tatar. He added that the Duma will likely adopt this draft. Meanwhile, �Zvezda Povolzhya� on 29 September reported that director of the Russian Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Valerii Tishkov �could not believe that the Duma is going to adopt such a foolish draft law� and pledged to prevent it.

Tatarstan Residents Comment On U.S. Anti-Terrorist Campaign
State Council deputy Marat Galeev told �Vostochnyi ekspress� on 28 September that an American attack on Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden won't solve the problem as bin Laden probably did not arrange this terrorist act. Vyacheslav Dolgopolov, the director of the Information Systems company, said the U.S. is likely to stage a spectacular but ineffective campaign. Mikhail Osnov, the head of the republic public organization of veterans of wars, said that �Americans will face large losses� in Afghanistan, that peaceful residents will become victims of rocket and bomb attacks there and that an genocide of the Afghan people may take place. Ramil Khairutdinov, the deputy director of the Institute of History, said that �Americans will be involved in a long-term military conflict and finally, they�ll win and fully bend Afghanistan to their will� but that they won�t succeed in fighting international terrorism. Colonel Anatolii Zavgorodnev said that �the United States will face in Afghanistan the same result as in Vietnam.�

Lawyer Says Russian Citizens Must Use European Court to Obtain Justice
Shakir Yagudin, the head of the State Council�s juridical department, said that many decisions of the Russian Constitutional Court are questionable but that Russians cannot protest them, �Vostochnyi ekspress� reported on 28 September. He suggested that Russians appeal to the European Court as �there is no other way to obtain justice.�

Plurality Wants to Drop Lenin's Name from University
�Vostochnyi ekspress� on 28 September reported that 42 percent of Kazan residents would like to see Kazan University named for Nikolai Lobachevsky rather than as now Lenin. But the poll found that 30 percent want Lenin's name kept on the school.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

TPC In Bashkortostan Leader Says Tatars Subject to Racist Experiments
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 29 September published an appeal by Bashkortostan�s Tatar Public Center leader Airat Giniatullin to the International Hague Tribunal and to the Office of Prosecutor General denouncing the application of "forced medical tests" on Tatar residents in the Yangaul region intended to determine their ethnic background. He called for punishing those conducting such "racist" tests. Giniatullin was referring to the use of genetic testing to determine whether some who claim to be Tatars are genetically Bashkirs.

Ufa Seeks to Block Distribution of Tatar Paper
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 29 September reported that Ufa officials have sought to restrict distribution of the paper because it promotes the interests of Bashkortostan's Tatars.

Bashkortostan, Tatarstan Leaders Criticized For Failure To Observe Bilateral Treaty
In an article in �Zvezda Povolzhya� on 29 September, Ufa teacher Gani Murtazin sharply criticized the leaders of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan for failing to observe the bilateral treaty they had signed a decade ago. He said the two republics had not opened plenipotentiary representations even though the treaty calls for that. He said that Tatarstan�s radio and television still are not transmitted in Bashkortostan despite agreement in the treaty to do so. He added that in a couple of years, there will be no need of textbooks in Tatar since the last Tatar school will likely be closed by that time. He criticized Tatarstan authorities for the construction of oil-processing plant instead of supplying fuel to those of the neighboring republic and for failure to prevent the adoption of a discriminatory language law in Bashkortostan. Murtazin added that �each contact with Tatarstan is used by President Murtaza Rakhimov to "put pressure on the Tatar language and the Tatar democratic movement.� He stressed that President Vladimir Putin has done nothing to defend constitutional rights of Tatars in Bashkortostan though they permanently appeal to him. And he said Federation Minister Aleksandr Blokhin �has blessed� Rakhimov�s national policy during his visit in Ufa.

Rakhimov Takes Part in Greater Urals Meeting
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 28 September took part in a meeting of the Ural Economic Association, Interfax-Eurasia reported. Leaders of Udmurtia, Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, and Orenburg Oblasts were in attendance at the forum chaired by Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel. Rossel proposed including presidential envoys to the Ural and Volga Federal Districts on the association board. He said that the Greater Urals has succeeded in keeping and developing partnership of regions in the defense industry in the new conditions but that over the past time, the organization has faced difficulties. Rakhimov for his part said that the association has provided efficient recommendations to the federal center in the development of budget-financial relations between federation subjects and Moscow, in reforming energy sector.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova