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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 24, 2000

24 February 2000
Fatherland Defenders Day Marked In Kazan
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, and members of the republican government attended a celebration ceremony on Fatherland Defenders Day at the Kachalov Theater in Kazan on 23 February. In his speech at the ceremony, Shaimiev noted that "there are no good wars, but its even worse now when there are wars where soldiers don't know why and what they are fighting for." On the same day, six officers of Tatarstan's Organized Crime Enforcement Department who returned after accomplishing their mission in Chechnya were awarded medals for "courage in liquidating the illegal armed groups in the North Caucasus," by a Russian presidential decree. The awards ceremony was held near a monument to militia officers killed on duty in Kazan. About 300 elderly people joined a meeting of Tatarstan's branch of the Russian Communist Party at Gorky park the same day. The protesters mainly criticized "Western politicians pursuing a deceitful policy" against Russia. Tensions rose among the participants after contradicting attitudes towards Russian acting President Vladimir Putin were revealed, with some accusing him of being a part of "Yeltsin's family" and others calling him the "future president of Russia."

Kuwait To Help Finance Islamic University In Kazan
Tatarstan's Muslim Spiritual Board chairman, Gusman Iskhakov, told news agencies on 23 February that the Kuwaiti Social Reforms Society will donate most of the $200,000 necessary to construct the first Russian Islam University building in Kazan. Gusman khazrat said that, "this will be the first of 5 to 6 buildings for the university that are to be constructed over the next 3 to 4 years."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi