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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 13, 2004

13 May 2004
Prosecutor Appeals Tatarstan's Declaration Of Sovereignty
Tatarstan's Supreme Court on 12 May postponed until 15 June its hearing of an appeal by Tatar prosecutor Kafil Emirov against the republic's 1990 declaration of sovereignty, "Kommersant" reported on 13 May. The court satisfied a request by Tatarstan's State Council to postpone the hearing due to illness of a parliamentary representative to the court.

Emirov is contesting the provision according to which the republic enjoys sovereignty. The document, passed on 30 August 1990, proclaimed in specific terms that the Tatar Constitution and republican laws have legal precedence over those of the Russian Federation on the republic's territory. The document also declared that republican land, as well as natural and other resources, are the exclusive property of its people.

On 31 March, Tatarstan's Supreme Court annulled provisions of the Tatar Constitution proclaiming republican sovereignty and mandating that presidential candidates must be able to speak both of the republic's state languages.

Republican President Meets With Putin
Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 12 May in Moscow, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev talked about preparations for Kazan's millennial celebrations in 2005, RIA-Novosti and Interfax reported the same day. Shaimiev also reportedly briefed Putin on the implementation of a republican program to eliminate ramshackle housing, under which more than 35,000 families have already moved into new apartments. "Kazan has changed in the past years more than in the previous millennium," Putin reportedly said. Shaimiev noted that the program to distribute free housing to the public under the program will be discontinued in 2005, adding that Tatarstan is awaiting federal legislation in this sector, including on mortgage loans for housing construction.

Tatarstan's Media Agency Opens Website
Tatar Mass Communications Agency Tatmedia unveiled its website on 12 May, reported the same day. The site, in Tatar and Russian, includes databases about republican mass media, reviews of Russian and foreign press, and features daily monitoring of more than 50 republican media outlets. The website contains information about press services of republican ministries and departments, as well as grants and competitions held by Tatmedia. Accreditation to events arranged by the agency can also be obtained through the website. Muratov expressed hope that the website will stimulate an Internet version of republican regional newspapers.

Days Of Tatar Education In Chelyabinsk Oblast
The "Days of Tatar Education" event is being held in Chelyabinsk Oblast on 12-14 May,, Tatarinform, and RosBalt reported on 12 May. The event is aimed at providing methodical help to educational institutions at which Tatar culture is taught, and is held under a cooperation agreement between the Education ministries of Tatarstan and of Chelyabinsk Oblast in Kynashak and Nyazepetrovsk raions with strong Tatar groups. Some 250,00 Tatars live in Chelyabinsk Oblast. Tatar language and literature are taught in nine schools with a combined enrollment of 570 students. The visitors delivered Tatar textbooks and collected works of Tatar writers.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Different Types Of Patriotism Available In Bashkortostan?
As Bashkir authorities and the Russian government prepare for celebrations in 2007 to mark the 450th anniversary since Bashkortostan voluntarily joined Russia (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 12 May 2004), the republican Education Ministry and the administration of the Salavat region held a scientific conference titled "Patriotic upbringing in schools using the example of Salavat Yulaev." In the home region of the Bashkir national hero, school officials from across the republic attended lessons in patriotism, viewed an exhibition of children's art devoted to Salavat Yulaev, and heard reports from local teachers and education officials at the plenary session of the conference. This year, Bashkortostan is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Yulaev, who led a peasants' revolt against the Russian empire in the 17th century. In 2007, Bashkortostan will celebrate the 450th anniversary since its peaceful submission to Moscow's Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible following the bloody conquest of the neighboring Kazan khanate in 1552.

President Pledges New Homes For Fire-Devastated Village
President Murtaza Rakhimov said on 12 May that 16 families from the village of Almaliq in Bashkortostan's Karamasqali region whose homes were destroyed by fire will receive assistance from the republic to move to new homes by this fall, the presidential press service announced the same day. The 16 families who lost their homes in the 11 May fire are made up of 59 family members.

Bashkirs Were Among LDPR's Strongest Supporters in Duma Elections
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovskii said at a recent conference of the party's activists that the highest support the party received from the Volga Federal District in the December Duma elections was recorded in the Bashkir Republic, Bashinform reported on 12 May. LDPR took some 11 percent of the vote in Bashkortostan.

Bashkirs Get Ethnic School In Chally
The Bashkir national-cultural autonomy in Tatarstan's second city Chally on 12 May opened its first school for ethnic Bashkirs, an RFE/RL correspondent in Ufa reported. The opening ceremony was attended by World Bashkir Congress officials and Bashkir-language teachers from Sibai, Bashkortostan. The local Bashkir community earlier opened a Bashkir Sunday school.

'Airborne' Leaflets Expected To Prevent Forest Fires
In an effort to prevent forest fires in Bashkortostan, the local directorate of Russia's Natural Resources Ministry will use airplanes to distribute leaflets urging campers in the republic to be more vigilant in following safe practices, Rosbalt reported on 12 May.

This year, approximately 193 hectares of forest have been destroyed in Bashkortostan as a result of fire.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi