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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 7, 2000

7 April 2000
Bolgar Ethnic Identity Case Against Tatar
The president of the Bolgar National Congress (BNC) in Tatarstan, Gusman Khalilov, appealed to the Supreme Court of Russian Federation on 6 April asking for an annulment of a decree issued by Vladimir Lenin on the formation of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. According to Khalilov, the BNC insists that Lenin had no reason to call the republic Tatar, because this name didn't reflect the Bolgar roots of the people living there. According to the complaint, Russian acting President Vladimir Putin is to be a defendant in the case. Khalilov says if he wins the case, Putin would be obliged to annul Lenin's decree and abolish the capitalized words in its name.

Khalilov disagrees with scientists' naming of the ancient Bolgar people who moved to the Danube area the Bulgarians and calling the Bolgars who moved to the Volga River region the Bulgars. He told correspondents "we are one people, we are Bolgars." Recently, Khalilov appealed to the human rights court in Strasbourg complaining that the governments of Russia and Tatarstan refuse to issue him a passport with his nationality listed as Bolgar instead of Tatar. The Strasbourg court reportedly notified Khalilov that his case is being considered.

Tatarstan's Foreign Trade Turnover Structure To Be Modified
Tatarstan's foreign trade turnover reached $1.75 billion in 1999, the state Tatarinform agency reported on 7 April. The republic's exports--mostly represented by oil--exceeded imports by fourfold. According to Tatarinform, the republican government intends to change the existing situation by boosting the activities of its 16 foreign representations both within Russia and around the world. Tatarstan will soon open a trade office in Vietnam. That country is reportedly interested in purchasing heavy trucks produced by the KamAZ auto works. Tatarinform quoted the director of Tatarstan's presidential Foreign Affairs Department, Timur Akulov, as saying that only 0.2 percent of the republic's budget was being spent on maintaining its foreign offices. Tatarstan will reportedly boost its foreign trade activity with international customers interested in oil products and machinery.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi