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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 29, 2005

29 August 2005
Putin Speaks Tatar At Kazan Anniversary Celebration...
At a ceremony devoted to the Kazan millennium on 26 August in Kazan, President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech in Tatar in which he said "important historical stages of Russia's history were embodied in Kazan's 1,000-year fate." "In Kazan," Putin added, "one can see all the advantages of Russia's statehood -- its ancient history and multiethnic and multifaith nature. Kazan has played a unique role in the formation of the united people of Russia."

Putin translated the major points of his speech, which drew an enthusiastic reaction, into Russian, "for those who have only begun studying Tatar and didn't understand everything." Putin stressed Tatarstan's positive role in the formation of relations between federal authorities and Russia's entities and thanked President Mintimer Shaimiev for his political wisdom. In attendance were the presidents of the CIS countries, Russian governors, and members of the Russian State Council.

According to Tatar Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva, Tatar Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told Tatar cabinet members at a government meeting on 28 August that "since even President Putin speaks Tatar, you all must study and speak Tatar."

...Opens Kazan Subway
President Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, and Tatar President Shaimiev on 27 August formally opened the Kazan subway and took a ride on it, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. Some 5,000 Kazan residents rode on the subway later that day after the opening ceremony, reported on 28 August, citing Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov.

Russia's largest international horse-racing complex opened in Kazan on 27 August as well The Russian President's Prize, worth 5 million rubles ($165,000), was won by Lanborn, a horse belonging to President Shaimiev.

On 26 August, 55,000 people took part in the celebrations of Kazan's millennium. At least 50,000 spectators attended the "Constellation in Kazan" concert and multimedia laser show in that evening.

Tatar President Calls For More Powers For Russian Entities
Speaking at a meeting of the Russian State Council on 26 August in Kazan devoted to the millennium celebrations, President Shaimiev appealed to the country's leadership to transfer more powers to the regions, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. "There should be more trust in regions, as many issues can be resolved only by them." Shaimiev said Russia is a multinational state but not all federation subjects can finance the development of the cultures of the nationalities living in them. Shaimiev cited the example of the Tatar-Bashkir holiday Saban tue, which was held in recent years across Russia with the participation of the country's various peoples. Shaimiev also charged that school textbooks say the most incredible things about Tatars. History is taught as a "Russian" one, despite the fact that other peoples, though not to the same extent, made their contribution to the formation of the state, the Tatar president said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

British Airline Begins Flights To Ufa
Ufa International Airport held negotiations on 26 August with representatives of British Mediterranean Airways, RosBalt reported the same day, citing the airport press service. The sides reached basic agreement, under which the airport will accept and maintain aircraft of the British airline. British Mediterranean Airways becomes the third foreign airline implementing regular flights to Bashkortostan's capital, after Lufthansa and Uzbek Airlines. Cooperation with Czech Airlines is under negotiation.

State-Sector Employees' Salaries Growing
The salaries of teachers, doctors, and employees of cultural and other state budget institutions will rise by 11 percent as of 1 September, RosBalt reported on 26 August, citing the Bashkir presidential press service. A corresponding order was signed by Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova