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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 11, 2005

11 March 2005
Shaimiev Appeals To Putin To Reappoint Him For Another Term
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev told a press conference on 11 March in Kazan that he has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to nominate him under the new system of electing governors that eliminated direct elections of heads of regions, Interfax-Povolzhe and Tatarinform reported the same day. Shaimiev said: "I have repeatedly stated that I won't run for another term. But given that the situation with elections changed and the price of stability in such a republic like Tatarstan is too high, the president expressed his wish I stayed for another term" during their meeting on 9 March. "We discussed the details and I...immediately wrote the appeal." If appointed for five more years, Shaimiev will serve his fourth term in office. Presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko had previously said that he will do everything to persuade Shaimiev to serve another term. Shaimiev was reelected to his third term in March 2001 with 79 percent of the vote.

Power-Sharing Treaty Between Moscow, Kazan To Be Federal Law
Presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko told reporters on 10 March in Kazan that the draft power-sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan is practically ready, Tatarinform reported the same day. Kirienko said the draft is to be considered by lawyers from both sides and by Tatarstan's State Council. He added that the document for the first time will be passed by the State Duma and will have the status of a federal law. The draft will be considered by all legislative bodies of the Russian Federation subjects, Kirienko said. The working group on developing the draft treaty was set up in October 2004 under the chairmanship of Tatar State Council speaker Farid Mukhametshin and Kirienko.

Shaimiev Granted Medal For Cooperation With UNESCO
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on 10 March granted Tatar President Shaimiev with the Russia-UNESCO medal for his personal contribution to cooperation between Russia and UNESCO, Tatarinform reported the same day. Shaimiev became the first to receive the award, which was set up to mark the 60th anniversary of UNESCO and 50th anniversary of Russia's joining it.

At a meeting of the Russian Commission on UNESCO Affairs held on 10 March in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian Committee of Worldwide Heritage Chairman Igor Makovetskii said Tatarstan has shown an model of how objects should be prepared for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Kazan Kremlin is among 11 Russian objects included in the list since 1996.

Forum Targets Religious Extremism
Speaking at a roundtable devoted to issues of religious and political extremism on 10 March in Kazan, Tatar Deputy Interior Minister Renat Timerjanov called for establishing in each of Tatarstan's raions a consultative council from representatives of the Muslim clergy to supervise over preachers and make decisions on Islamic literature, Tatarinform reported the same day. Timerjanov cited cases involving members of the extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, and specifically the recent detention in Aqtanysh Raion of a group of 12 young followers of the group, including two residents of Chechnya.

Tatar First Deputy Mufti Weliulla Yaqupov said at the meeting that allegations against official Muslim clergy of avoiding the supervision of extremist movements are unfounded. Yaqupov said, "We are responsible only for our mosques and eight religious-educational institutions. Islam is not an ideological monolith and, like in other faiths, charismatic sects exist in it. Like the Russian Orthodox Church is not responsible for activities of Christian sects, the Tatar Muslim Religious Board is not responsible for Muslim ones," he said. Yaqupov added that the Wahhabi movement presents the main threat to stability in Tatarstan, since it rejects Tatars' centuries-old experience of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of faiths.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova