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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 9, 2000

9 June 2000
Shashurin Nuclear Initiative Opposed
Among signs at recent protests by the Tatar Public Center was one opposing "turning Tatarstan into nuclear junkyard." It reflects a response to a draft law proposed by Tatarstan's Duma Deputy Sergei Shashurin that would allow the importation of nuclear waste into the Russian Federation.

Existing Russian law prohibit such imports, but since 1998, Shashurin has sought to change the law and allow them on the basis of governmental decree. Among those suporting his effort are Vladimir Ryzhkov, Gennady Zyuganov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Oleg Morozov.

Shashurin has told the Tatarstan media that the construction of such nuclear burial facilities would both attract foreign investment and reduce nuclear radiation exposure to the population. But members of Tatarstan's Antinuclear Society, which emerged in late 1980s in response to the plans of Soviet government to build a nuclear power plant in Tatar Autonomous Republic, actively oppose his ideas.

Opposition Roundtable Renews Its Activities
TheTatar nationalist parties Omet and Ittifak, the Russian movement of Equality and Legality [RIZ], and the Communist Party of Tatarstan met on 7 June to renew what they have called the "opposition roundtable" and to protest what they said were irregularities during the recent parliamentary and presidential elections. The participants agreed to seek to call Moscow's attention to the lack of conformity between Russian and Tatarstan legislation. RIZ movement representatives claimed that the republic's law requiring presidential candidates to speak both Tatar and Russian languages is "illegal because in last 10 years nothing was done to teach Tatar to Russian population."

Minnikhanov Expects Benefits From Federal Reforms
Tatarstan Prime Minister Minnikhanov told Rossiiskaya gazeta on 6 June that Russian President Vladimir Putin's plan to redivide the Russian Federation into seven districts could bring economic benefits to Tatarstan. He said that Tatarstan's industrial producers were facing problems because of the undefined industrial priorities on federal level and cited the example of the republic's aircraft industry which failed to launch production of new aircraft because it had beenunable to get Moscow's support.

Prepared by Iskender Nurmi.