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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 27, 2001

27 April 2001
Khakimov Says Tatarstan Won't Yield Sovereignty...
Rafail Khakimov, an advisor to the Tatarstan President, said in an interview published in "Respublika Tatarstan" on 26 April that Kazan will not yield on its sovereignty and will insist on full power sharing. He said that some Russian court decisions had been incorrect, adding that he saw it as a hopeful sign that President Vladimir Putin had mentioned power sharing in his recent speech. In other comments, he said that the harmony between Christians and Muslims in Tatarstan is an example of what can be achieved if officials avoid mistakes in dealing with religion and ethnicity.

...And Sure That Putin Wants To Dissolve Duma
According to "Vostochny ekspress" on 20 April, Rafail Khakimov believes that the Kremlin is preparing to dissolve the Duma and call new elections. He called for the creation of a right-centrist party and a left-centrist party rather than a single centrist one.

Lufthansa Increases Staff at Kazan Office
Because of a growing workload, Lufthansa is increasing its staff in Kazan, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 24 April. The airline now carries 26 percent more passengers to and from Kazan on average than it did a year ago.

Komi Republic to Produce Cranes Using KamAZ
Komi's Ukhtagazstroimash general manager Aleksandr Pratsevich on 23 April said that his company started assembling cranes on the basis of KamAZ trucks, Komiinform reported.

Orenburg Tatars Back Latinization
The Tatar cultural-national autonomy board in Orenburg has come out in support of the shift to the Latin script, RFE/RL's Orenburg correspondent reported on 26 April.

Turkish Capital to have Tuqai Street
The Ankara street where the Tatar cultural community is located has been given the name of great Tatar poet Gabdulla Tuqai, RFE/RL's Ankara correspondent reported on 26 April.

Islam, Christianity Exhibition Shown in Kazan
An exhibit to mark the 2000th anniversary of Christianity and the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of Islam in Russia opened in Kazan on 25 April, Efir-inform reported. Mufti Gusman khazrat Iskhakov said that the exhibit is of particular importance for the development of national traditions in Tatarstan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Independent Tatar Press Struggles To Revive...
Tatar Public Center leader in Ufa Ayrat Giniyatullin told RFE/RL on 24 April that "the absence of an independent Tatar newspaper was a major problem" for Tatars living in the region. He said that a new paper with a print run of 50,000 copies will be printed in Chelyabinsk in place of the now closed Idel Ural paper which was subjected to pressure by republic authorities.

...As Russian Press Openly Criticizes Ufa
"Otechestvo," an independent Russian newspaper in Ufa, criticized Ufa's failure to harmonize its laws with Russian ones as "a threat to Russia's integrity."

Kiriyenko to Present New Passports
Russian presidential envoy to Volga administrative district Sergey Kiriyenko will visit Ufa in the middle May 2001 to take part in ceremonies connected with the issuance of new Russian passports in Bashkortostan, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 23 April.

Former Rakhimov Staffer Named to High Moscow Post
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has named Salavat Aminov to be deputy federal tax minister, RFE/RL reported on 23 April. Aminov had been chief of staff to President Murtaza Rakhimov.

TPC Sues Justice Ministry, Bashkortostan Broadcasters
Bashkortostan's Tatar Public Center has sued the Justice Ministry for issuing a warning threatening the group if it holds more unsanctioned meetings, RFE/RL reported on 24 April. Meanwhile, the TPC also sued the republic Telecommunications Company for devoting too little airtime to Tatars in the republic.

Minister Sacked for Opposing Charging for Medicines
President Murtaza Rakhimov dismissed Saniya Sheherova as health minister on 24 April, RFE/RL reported from Ufa. Sheherova had opposed the switchover to paying for medicine. Her replacement, Rais Hesenov, supports it.

Bashkortostan Restores Subbotniki
Bashkortostan's government and trade unions have announced the restoration of the voluntary Saturday workday to clean up public spaces in advance of the 1 May celebrations. Meanwhile, however, officials said that workplace safety was at unacceptably low levels.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Chuvashia's Fedorov Backs Ukraine's PACE Membership
Before leaving for Strasbourg, President Nikolai Fedorov said on 22 April that a proposal to suspend Ukraine's membership in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was based on emotions rather than good sense. He added that he believes that PACE is judging Russia as well as Ukraine according to double standards. Meanwhile, Fedorov said on 26 April that he still remains unsure as to whether he will run for a third term.

Chuvash Authorities Register Religious Organizations
The Chuvash justice ministry on 20 April said that it has registered 141 Russian Orthodox, 10 evangelical Christian, 10 Muslim and several other religious congregations, Volgainform reported. Since 1997, the number of registered groups has fallen from 183 to 165.

Chuvash Language Day Marked
In his message on Chuvash Language Day, President Nikolai Fedorov said that the preservation and development of the Chuvash language is an obligation of the whole people, VolgaInform reported on 25 April.

Chernobyl Victims Monument in Chuvashia
A monument to the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster has been erected in Cheboksary, Volgainform reported on 25 April. Some 1947 republic residents participated in the clean up, of whom 33 percent have become invalids and 500 have died.

Finno-Ugric Journalists Gather in Komi Republic
Delegations from Marii El, Mordovia, and Udmurtia took part in the forum of Finno-Ugric media in Syktyvkar on 26-27 April, Komiinform reported.

Marii El Increases Imports, Exports
The Marii El customs board press service on 20 April said that the republic had increased both its exports and imports over the last year, reported.

One-Third of Mari El Residents Trust Markelov
A recent poll shows that more than 30 percent of republic residents trust President Leonid Markelov with 42 percent saying that they would vote for his reelection, reported on 26 April.

Mordovia Prosecutor Retires
Igor Kudinov, 50, has retired as Mordovia's chief prosecutor, reported on 23 April. His first deputy, Ivan Kandrin, is now the acting republic prosecutor.

Conference Focuses on Sects Threat
Scholars from around the world participated in a 23-25 Nizhnyi Novgorod conference on "Sects Threaten the XXI Century," reported.

Draftees Now Tested for HIV
The Orenburg military office on 20 April said that this year it is testing all potential draftees for HIV because of the growing drug addiction problem there, reported.

Volga-Urals Cossacks Seek to Dismiss Chieftain
The Council of the Volga and Urals Cossacks chieftains on 21 April in Saratov said they want to replace their current head Boris Gusev for inactivity, Volgainform reported. New elections are planned.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Lost Nine in Chechnya
More than 500 militiamen on 25 April returned in Sverdlovsk from Chechnya after two months of service there, Region-Inform reported. So far during the second Chechen campaign, nine people from Sverdlovsk have died there and more than 150 have been injured.

Ulyanovsk Marks Lenin Birth Anniversary
Some 200 Ulyanovsk residents on 22 April laid flowers to the Vladimir Lenin monument, reported. Governor Vladimir Shamanov said that Lenin's image is "controversial and complicated but his ideas found understanding among people." Ulyanovsk Mayor Pavel Romanenko said that "due to Lenin, Russia has reached successes in its development, and memory about him will live for a long time."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova