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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 22, 1999


22 January 1999
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
Bashkortostan's State Assembly Passes Language Law
Bashkortostan's lower house passed a controversial language law in the second and third readings on 21 January making Bashkir and Russian the republic's official languages. The bill must still be passed by the upper house and signed by President Murtaza Rakhimov before it becomes law. State Assembly deputies ignored an appeal by Tatarstan's State Council to amend the bill to include Tatar -- spoken by about one-third of Bashkortostan's population -- as an official language.

In an interview with the Tatarinform news agency, State Assembly chairman Mikhail Zaytsev said that "there are not and there will not be any conflicts between Bashkirs and Tatars; but while the law was under consideration some 15 leaders and activists from Tatar organizations in Bashkortostan tried to cause problems with the help of their counterparts in Tatarstan."

Trade Union Leader Interested In Alliance With Otechestvo
The chairwoman of the Trade Unions Federation, Farida Gainullina, told the republican press on 22 January that "Tatarstan's trade unions were a long ways away from expressing their political ambitions but did wish to be represented in the Russian State Duma." Gainullina said that Otechesvo movement (Gainullina is a member of its political council and leader of its Kazan branch) would "easily surpass the 5 percent threshold needed for representation in the State Duma and still abide by the terms of agreements with Tatarstan's trade unions." Otechestvo is led nationally by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Tatarstan To Increase Gasoline Production
The Nizhnekamskneftekhim company intends to open a new gasoline factory in February using the byproducts from oil processing. Production is expected to reach 250,000 tons annually and correspond to Russian and European quality standards. The factory is expected to fulfill approximately 30 percent of the republic's fuel needs.

Shaimiev Named Leading Lobbyist In Moscow
Republic of Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev was listed by "Nezavisimaya gazeta" as one of Russia's "Top 5" regional lobbyists and was given a "very high efficiency" grade.

Compiled by I.Nurmi

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