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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 4, 1999

4 June 1999
Tatar Cultural Preservation And Development Discussed
The activities of government bodies and the Tatar public organizations charged with satisfying the national and cultural needs of the Tatar population in Russia were discussed at a conference in Kazan on 4 June. The conference was arranged by the World Congress of Tatars (WCT), Tatarstan's government, and the Russian Ministry of Nationalities. Tatar community representatives from over 40 regions of Russia attended the conference. WCT officials told an RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan that no Russian ministry representatives attended the conference.

Otechestvo Branch Opened In Kazan
The founding conference of the Russian Otechestvo movement in Kazan was held on 3 June. Reportedly 150 Otechestvo members gathered to elect Tatarstan's State Council Deputy Venyamin Chubarenko as chairman of the Kazan branch. The chairwoman of Tatarstan's Trade Unions Federation, Farida Gaynullina, said that during the meeting Otechestvo, which is led by Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, supported the thesis of "building a true federation in Russia." Gaynullina empathized that she did not "exclude the possibility of cooperation between Otechestvo and the Vsya Rossia electoral bloc."

Christian Tatar Communities Unite
An organizational conference of the interregional union of Christian Tatar communities was held in Chally on 2 June. The union has declared the revival of Christian Tatar culture as its main goal. About 500,000 Christian Tatars live in Russia, and consider themselves a part of the Tatar nation, republican press reports. The first groups of Christian Tatars reportedly emerged in the 15 and 16 centuries as a result of the expansive policy of Moscow.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi