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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 28, 2000

28 August 2000
Shaimiev: Tatarstan's Sovereignty Cannot Be Abolished
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told the official daily "Respublika Tatarstan" that he is completely convinced that the republic will celebrate future anniversaries of its sovereignty. Shaimiev said in an interview published on 26 August that "at the time when we had just adopted the declaration on Tatarstan's sovereignty, I had some doubts concerning this. But now there is no reason to discuss Tatarstan's sovereignty any longer. It already exists, and it's impossible to abolish it since for a long time it hasn't simply been a declaration but a real comprehensive process. Nobody can in no way abolish it if Russia, of course, continues upon a democratic path of development. A political situation is always changeable, especially in Russia."

Tatar Television Obtains Own Channel
A preview broadcast of the state television company "Tatarstan" was shown in Kazan on 25 August, Tatar Radio reported. Due to the procurement of a new channel by Tatar Television, two Russian TV channels will soon stop broadcasting in Tatarstan. Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told journalists during the ceremony that "opening our independent channel is one more achievement of the decade of sovereignty." Shaimiev said "there was a time when Tatarstan Television broadcast only an hour and a half a day. Then transmissions were increased threefold. If we could establish some creative groups we could increase the broadcasting time to round-the-clock, at the same time we shouldn't lose our slots on the Russian TV channel." Shaimiev said such a venture would require a large budget, but currently, he added, all Russian television channels broadcasting on Tatarstan's territory use technical equipment owned by Tatarstan's Communications Ministry, and quite often they don't pay for the services in time.

Tatarstan Elders On Sovereignty Results
Tatarstan's Elders Council issued a statement addressed to republican President Mintimer Shaimiev, State Council chairman Farid Mukhametshin, parliamentary deputies, and Tatarstan's people on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Tatarstan's sovereignty, Tatar Radio reported on 25 August. In the statement, the council said that sovereignty resulted in the economic, social, and cultural development of the republic, the opening of representative offices in more than 20 countries, and the boosting of economic and cultural ties with numerous states. The elders expressed their hope that the republic will continue its efforts in using sovereign opportunities.

Telephone Communication To Be Paid Hourly
Tatarstan's premier, Rustam Minnikhanov, signed an order introducing the hourly charging of telephone calls, Tatar Radio reported on 25 August. According to the document, the Communications Ministry is charged with gradually introducing the measure over the next year, taking into account the preparedness of the republic's various cities and district centers. Total capacity of the telephone network in Tatarstan is 1 million lines. Tatarstan's Communications Ministry said that some 137,000 telephones are currently out of use due to residents' inability to pay their bills, particularly in rural areas. The ministry will decrease tariffs for telephone installations by 30-40 percent next year. Currently, there are 60 telephones for every 100 families in urban areas, and 20 phones per every 100 families in villages. Tatarstan's government has allocated 100 million rubles to the Tattelecom company for the installation of telephones in rural areas.

By Gulnara Khasanova