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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 31, 1999

31 August 1999
Tatarstan Celebrates 'Day Of The Republic'
The Republic of Tatarstan marked its "Independence Day" with widespread celebrations on 30 August. President Mintimer Shaimiev congratulated the republic's citizens at festivities on Soltangali square commemorating the ninth anniversary of Tatarstan's declaration of sovereignty. At the event, he read a letter of congratulations from Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who said he also was grateful for the republic's assistance in finding the people who hosted the Yeltsin family in the late 1930s, when the president's father was imprisoned for "treason of the fatherland."

At the same gathering, Moscow Mayor and leader of the Otechestvo movement Yurii Luzhkov stated his support of Tatarstan's "sovereignty" and congratulated the people of Tatarstan on their national holiday. Russia's deputy premier on social issues, Valentina Matviyenko, said in her speech that Tatarstan remained "a stable and dynamically developing state with an effective economy."

Protest March Reaches Kazan
A small protest march of Tatar nationalist organizations opposing President Shaimiev entered Tatarstan's capital Kazan on 30 August. Protesters held two brief meetings at Gorky Park and Freedom Square. Later they marched near the square close to the Tatar Drama Theater Kamal, which was unauthorized. The protesters reportedly left Chally for Kazan 10 days ago. Fifteen marchers made it to Kazan. Earlier, RFE/RL reported that the protesters declared their opposition to "anti-national dictatorship of President Shaimiev." The protesters were warned by the State Security Committee and the Interior Ministry of Tatarstan that any outburst of violence would be punished to the full extent under the law.

Russian Left-Wing Party Leader In Kazan
The Russian left-wing Trudovaya Rossiya (TR) party, led by Victor Anpilov, decided not to join a protest rally of Tatar nationalist organizations in Kazan on 30 August. The meeting was not authorized by the republican government and Anpilov instead held an impromptu discussion with about 20 TR members.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi