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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 17, 2000

17 July 2000
Mukhametshin Comments On Issue Of Harmonizing Republican Constitutions with Federal Basic Law
Tatarstan's State Council Chairman Farit Mukhametshin, commented on 15 July on the Russian Constitutional Court's ruling on bringing the constitutions of the Russian republics of Altai, Adygeya, Bashkortostan, Ingushetia, Komi, North Osetia-Alania, and Tatarstan into line with the federal Constitution. Mukhametshin told a news conference that he has ordered lawyers and experts in international relations to analyze these documents. He said "we appealed to international organizations, academics involved in federalism studies, and we'll be able to comment on these decisions only when we receive their analyses and [expert] opinions."

Speaker Meets Kuwaiti Official
The chairman of Tatarstan s State Council, Farit Mukhametshin, received Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister of Kuwait and Chairman of the Asian Muslims Committee Sheik Adel Al-Fallakh on 14 July Deputy, Tatar-inform reported. Mukhametshin informed the visitor about the process of the revival of Islam in the republic; adherents of that faith coexist peacefully alongside with other congregations. He noted that Tatarstan's parliament has adopted a law on freedom of conscience and religious association, which differs from the federal law on some points and is aimed at increasing support for Muslim associations. Al-Fallakh told his hosts about the activity of the Asian Muslims Committee, which was set up in 1991 at the initiative of the Kuwaiti emir. He said the committee is develops relations with CIS countries in the spheres of charitable activities, culture, the economy, trade, and investment. He noted that the Committee intends to take part in the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Tatarstan's capital, Kazan. And he added that among its other intentions are helping Tatarstan fight against alcoholism, drug addiction, and criminality and opening a trade center in Kazan, whose profits will be used to assist Tatarstan's invalids.

Official Comments On Call-up Results
Tatarstan's recruitment officer, Rim Mustaev, told a news conference on 14 July that the spring call-up in the republic fulfilled the quotas determined by the Privolzhsky military okrug. He said that the number of those dodged the draft has fallen to some 3,000 people compared with 5,000 in January 1999. Mustaev said 464 people from Tatarstan are currently taking part in the "anti-terrorist operation" in Chechnya; of those, 60 have signed a contract. Ninety soldiers called up in Tatarstan died in the first Chechen war and 42 during the current one. So far this year, 33 young men from Tatarstan deserted. Mustaev said the reasons for deserting are lack of order in the army and insufficient upbringing. Mustaev said that the number of young men who are completely suitable for military service fell from 85 percent in 1995 to 37 percent this year. He said many of those who were recognized as unfit for service suffer from nervous disorders or a weight deficit.

Cultural Intelligentsia Preparing For Anniversary Of Sovereignty Declaration
Heads and members of Tatarstan's unions of writers, artists, composers, and journalists discussed on 13 July measures how to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tatarstan's Declaration of Sovereignty, Tatar-inform reported. Participants noted that during the last decade, the republic has made great progress toward the revival and development of the language, culture, and traditions of Tatarstan's peoples. Sovereignty, they added, reflected the will of the people and was enshrined in law by the Supreme Soviet of Tatarstan. It was decided that on the eve of Sovereignty Day, which falls in August, a joint plenum of Tatarstan's cultural unions will be devoted to the issue of the development of culture under the conditions of sovereignty.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova