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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 21, 1999

21 September 1999
Tatar Official Assured That Recruits To Be Redeployed
Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farit Mukhametshin, said on 20 September that he had been assured by Russian Premier Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Igor Sergeev that soldiers from the Tatarstan Republic (TR) currently in Daghestan would be redeployed to their base commands. The republican parliament unilaterally decided to suspend military recruitment for the Russian army after the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that six recruits from Tatarstan had been killed in combat in Daghestan. The republican parliament also called for the withdrawal of the 43 soldiers recruited in TR that are still in Daghestan. Mukhametshin admitted that the decision to suspend recruitment could be overruled in a parliamentary session on 23 September.

Mukhametshin also questioned allegations made in Moscow and carried in Russian media that Denis Saytakov--a prime suspect in the bomb attacks in Moscow--was trained at a Muslim school in Tatarstan's second city of Chally. Mukhametshin said "Saytakov arrived in Tatarstan in 1996 and had been a resident for a short period of time." He said that if the spread of Wahhabism began in TR the republican parliament would take measures, similar to those taken in Daghestan, to prohibit that radical branch of Islam.

Military Officials Comment On Recruitment Suspension
The deputy chief of the mobilization and organization board at the General Headquarters of the Russian Armed Forces, Valerii Astanin, said at a press conference in Moscow on 20 September that "the conflicting issue between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the State Council of the Tatarstan Republic was closed," and that military recruitment in Tatarstan would be resumed. Astanin said that the Ministry of Defense would not deploy any soldiers who have served less than six months in combat operations. It is reported that the chief of the Russian Air Force's General Headquarters, Anatolii Kvashnin, has asked the General Prosecutor's office to investigate the reasons behind the decision by the parliament in Kazan.

Two Militants From North Caucasus Detained In Chally
Two people suspected of joining militant groups in the North Caucasus were detained in Chally, Tatarinform agency reported on 20 September. First Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs Rinat Timerzyanov told Tatarinform that "the two were trained in military camps in Chechnya by militant field commanders." Eight more suspects wanted by Tatarstan law officials are reportedly still in Chally.

Muslim Board Inspects Religious School In Chally
A Special Commission from Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board investigated allegations made in Moscow concerning a link between Denis Saytakov, a suspected organizer in the bomb attacks in Moscow, and Chally's Yoldiz Muslim Religion school. After checking the school, the MRB asserted that "it was by no means connected with the preparation and training of radical extremists," the republican press reported. It was announced that Saytakov had studied one year in Yoldiz and was expelled for missing classes. Russian and republican media recently reported that a number of Yoldiz students and a teacher left the school to join militant groups in Chechnya.

President Takes Vacation
The Press Service of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev announced on 20 September that the president and his wife had left for Antalya, Turkey, for a vacation.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi