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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 1, 2000

1 June 2000
Nationalist Group Urges Tatarstan's Government Not To Acquiesce To Moscow
The nationalist Tatar Public Center (TPC) held a demonstration on Freedom Square near the republican parliament building in Kazan on 31 May. Picketers held placards both condemning Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, for being "soft with Moscow and iron-hard with Kazan," and urging Tatarstan's president and parliament to protect the republic from the "new legislative initiatives of Moscow." The TPC also urged the republican government to disobey the federal authorities and create the political, economic, and cultural conditions for creating an independent Tatar State. In an interview with republican media the same day, TPC Chairman Rashit Yagafarov commented on the recent actions of the Russian government by saying that "they are ruining all what was achieved by Tatarstan in the last 10 years."

Presidential Elections Act Passed In First Reading
Tatarstan's parliament passed a bill on presidential elections in Tatarstan in the first reading on 31 May. The law prohibits elections with less than 2 candidates. Legislation Commission Chairman Midkhat Kurmanov commented on the possibility of President Mintimer Shaimiev being elected for a third presidential term. Kurmanov said that Russian federal law limiting the number of presidential terms will take effect beginning in October 2001, while the presidential elections in TR are scheduled for March 2001. He stated that "we live in a legal society and what is not prohibited is permitted." The chairman of the Russian opposition movement Equality and Legality (RiZ), Aleksandr Shtanin, suggested that parliament should urgently discuss the issue of bringing republican laws in accordance with federal legislation. His suggestion was rejected with only nine votes out of 130 cast in favor of his proposal.

President Shaimiev was recently quoted by the daily "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" as saying that a fine-tuning of the republican legislation with the Russian Constitution did not have to be done hurriedly because the "federal constitution itself needs some editing."

World Congress Of Tatars Chairman On Federal Legislation Issue
The chairman of the executive committee of the World Congress of Tatars, academic Indus Tagirov, said in an interview with Tatar television on 31 May that "if there will be the same constitutions in all regions of Russia it will become a unitary state and fall apart." Tagirov was commenting on the possible modification of Tatarstan's Constitution so that it is in unison with that of the Russian Federation.

By Iskender Nurmi