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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 1, 2000

1 August 2000
Tatar Public Center Holds Urgent Meeting
An urgent 29 July meeting of the moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center (TPC) adopted a resolution on "measures in response to Russian aggression against the sovereignty of Tatarstan and other ethnic republics." RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 30 July that at the meeting it was agreed that it was time to "begin the preparations for forming the confederation of ethnic republics of Idel-Ural (Volga river and the Urals)." The center also stated that it would form a "Coordinating Council of social organizations and progressive forces of Tatarstan for opposing the Russian aggression." The TPC condemned a verdict by the Russian Constitutional Court abolishing the sovereignty of republics within the Russian Federation. Attendees at the meeting also said the center will form a United Resistance Front against "Russian aggression." According to the TPC, it will appeal to the "UN, other international organizations, and the world community asking them to help prevent Russian aggression against the sovereignty of ethnic republics."

Federal Bank To Swallow Up Tatarstan's Savings Bank
Tatarstan's Savings Bank will merge with other territorial branches of the federal Savings Bank (Sberbank) in the Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod oblasts, the republics of Chuvash, Mari-El, and Mordovia, and will form the united Volga-Vyatka Bank, Tatarinform agency reported on 1 August. The merger was reportedly ordered by the federal bank, which is being reformed. Russia's Sberbank plans to reduce the number of its affiliates in Russian regions from 69 to 18. This consolidation process is similar to the creation of federal administrative districts ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and is expected to "simplify internal accounting and strengthen the investing potential of regional affiliates of Sberbank."

Recruitment Officer Praises Professional Soldiers
About 460 military servicemen from Tatarstan currently serve in Chechnya, the republic's chief military commissioner, Rim Mustayev, told Tatar Radio on 31 August. He noted that about 400 of the servicemen were professional soldiers under contract. The rest are recruits called up from Tatarstan. In an interview, Mustayev praised the benefits of professional military service, which he said "could give an individual a decent income and let him obtain a higher education through distant education programs." Mustayev said that professional military service could also help young people to save the money needed for entering universities.

First Students Entering Islamic University In Kazan
About 60 students were admitted to different faculties of top two grades at the new Russian Islamic University in Kazan, Tatarstan's Muslim Religious board announced on 1 August. According to examination commission chairman Abdulla Shangarayev, "most students of the newly formed university are 18-years-old and come from Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the Saratov and Orenburg oblasts." Three of the students have reportedly already received higher education.

Tatarstan Establishes Energy Network Police
Tatarstan's Tatenergo company and the republic's Interior Ministry agreed on the formation of a special militia force to guard electricity and heating networks, the company's general-director, Ilshat Fardeev, told a press conference on 31 July. According to Fardeev, his company lost 13 million rubles due to the theft of base metals from its networks in 1999, while only 4 million rubles worth of equipment has been stolen so far this year. Fardeev pledged energy cutoffs for those on the list of "chronic debtors," which is to be published after a final discussion with Tatarstan's commission on bankruptcy affairs.

By Iskender Nurmi