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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 26, 2005

26 August 2005
Bilateral Treaty Won't Be Signed During Millennium Celebrations
In an interview with on 25 August, Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin said a new bilateral treaty on power sharing between Russia and Tatarstan won't be signed during President Vladimir Putin's visit to Kazan for the millennium celebrations on 26-27 August. "We wouldn't like to mix two different events -- Kazan's millennium and signing the treaty," Mukhametshin said. He noted that the new treaty contains a reference to the 1994 treaty.

Tatarstan isn't insisting on any economic preferences and only raises the issue on differentiation of the tax on extraction of natural resources. The draft treaty also sets equal status for Tatarstan's two state languages, Russian and Tatar. No mention of the sovereign right on land and natural resources is made in the treaty, Mukhametshin said.

The deadline for developing a new bilateral treaty expired in late July.

UNESCO Head Sends Congratulations On Kazan Millennium
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Director Koitiro Matsuura has sent his greetings to Tatarstan's leaders and residents on Kazan's jubilee, Tatarinform reported on 25 August. Matsuura said the jubilee is an occasion for international recognition of the important historical role of Kazan, which during its thousand-year history made great contributions to world civilization as a great center of culture, science, trade, and industry. "Kazan with its delightful Kremlin, temples, and museums was included in the list of World Heritage and awarded several prizes and the UNESCO medal for a significant contribution to preservation of historical and cultural traditions," Matsuura added.

Asteroid Named After Soembike
Kazan astronomers gave the name of Tatar Queen Soembike to an asteroid in honor of Kazan's millennium, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 25 August. The name of the 16th-century queen has been assigned by the International Astronomic Union to the asteroid, which was discovered in 1994 by Kazan State University student Timur Kryachko. A certificate to that effect has been delivered to Kazan from the St. Petersburg Institute of Applied Astronomy. The idea of naming the celestial body after Soembike belongs to an academician, Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences' Physics, Power Engineering and Earth Sciences Department Secretary Nail Sekhibullin. The name "Kazan" had already been given to a small planet.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

UN, Bashkortostan Joint Efforts In Fighting Drug Addiction
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov and the visiting head of the UN's regional representation of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for Russia and Belarus, Flavio Mirella, signed in Ufa on 25 August an agreement on cooperation in preventing drug addiction, fighting illegal drug trafficking, and exchanging information and experience, RosBalt reported the same day. Baidavletov said during the ceremony that due to cooperation with UN, the republic has a chance to take advantage not only of domestic but also international experience in fighting drug addiction. Mirella said the UN representation is ready to provide assistance to Bashkortostan's law enforcement bodies, educational and health-care institutions, and civic groups in exchanging international experience.

Experts Claim 100,000 Drug Addicts In Bashkortostan
At an interregional scientific working conference on the drug situation in federation subjects held in Ufa on 25 August, it was reported that the rate of drug addiction in Bashkortostan is 127 per 100,000 population, compared to the Volga Federal District average of 302 per 100,000, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. A total of 5,576 patients have been registered in the republic. The true number of addicts, however, is likely to be between 70,000 and 100,000 people, according to experts.

Speaking at the conference, Bashkir prosecutor Aleksandr Konovalov said drug addiction is becoming widespread among youth. He sharply criticized attempts to legalize "light" drugs, saying such proposals lead to a dead end, not to the solution of the issue.

Bashkir Health Care Minister Fenil Semigullov told the forum that according to a survey of teenagers between 13 and 17 years old, 73 percent of them drink beer and 12 percent have tried narcotics, while only 6 percent abstain.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova