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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 7, 2000

7 September 2000
President's Adviser: Power-Sharing Treaty Cannot Be Unilaterally Abolished
In an interview with an RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan on 6 September, Rafael Khakimov, an adviser to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev replied to statements made in the Russian media that there will be no extension of the power-sharing treaty between Moscow and Kazan. Khakimov said "our treaty doesn't need prolongation, because there's no final date stipulated [in the agreement]. If one side needs to make some amendments to the treaty or abolish it, this can be done through negotiations and mutual consultations."

Russian Passport Reform Frozen Due To Lack Of Funds
The deputy chairman of Tatarstan's State Council, Robert Minnullin, met the head of the Russian presidential board on citizenship issues, Vladimir Shumov, and the chief of the Russian passport-visa service, Vladimir Vorotnikov, on 6 September. The sides discussed the agenda of a current meeting in Kazan involving officials from 25 territorial branches of the Passport-Visa Service. Talks also centered on the prospects of introducing new Russian passports for the citizens of Tatarstan, Tatarinform agency reported the next day. Vorotnikov reportedly told Minnulin that "even the representatives of major regions such as Samara and Krasnodar acknowledge that they found something to learn from their colleagues in Tatarstan." The two sides agreed that the passport reform should not hurt the ethnic self-identity of peoples in republics within the Russian Federation. Shumov said: "new Russian passports will include pages with notes in local ethnic languages." Passport-Visa Service chief Vorotnikov said that he would like to personally hand the first new passport in Tatarstan to President Mintimer Shaimiev.

According to Tatarstan's republican television, the meeting of the Passport Visa Service officials in Kazan on 6 September noted the continued lack of federal money neeed to print the new passports. The head of the Passport-Visa Service in the Vakhitovsky district in Kazan told an RFE/RL reporter the same day that currently all citizens in Tatarstan carry USSR-standard passports and the reserves of old passports are "very big."

Cleaning Up Or Tightening Security On Chechen Independence Day?
All markets in the capital Kazan and other cities in Tatarstan were closed on 6 September, the day marked as Independence Day in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, republican media reported. Officials from Tatarstan's Interior Ministry said, however, that the markets were not closed as a preventative measure to prevent possible terrorist attacks, but rather for "sanitary reasons." Local media pointed at that "sanitary days" are normally held on Mondays.

By Iskender Nurmi