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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 16, 2004

16 September 2004
Monument To Tatar Monument To Be Erected In Moscow
A monument to prominent Tatar poet Gabdulla Tuqai will be erected in Moscow in the nearest future, Interfax reported on 15 September. A corresponding decision was passed on 14 September by the Moscow City Duma's commission on monuments. The chairman of the commission, architect Sergei Petrov, said the monument will likely be located in a public garden in front of the Tatar Cultural Center building. Petrov also said Moscow's Tatar community will foot the bill for the construction of the monument. Representatives of the Tatar community pointed out that the 120th anniversary of Tuqai's birth will be marked in April 2006.

New Election Commission Starts Operations
Anatolii Fomin was reelected chairman of Tatarstan's Central Election Commission (USK) on 15 September during an organizational session of the republic's newly appointed USK, and other news agencies reported. Minfaiq Wafin was reelected deputy chairman, and Valentina Kamenkova was elected commission secretary. The new commission was formed in September after the term of the previous body expired. The commission comprises 14 members, including three representatives of parties -- Union of Rightist Forces, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia -- and members of the government, parliament, representatives of local self government, directors of republic's enterprises, and businessmen. Half of the members were appointed by Tatarstan's president while the other half was elected by the republic's State Council. Six members belonged to the previous commission.

Suzuki Reportedly Mulling Opening Plant In Tatarstan
Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation is reportedly considering constructing an auto plant in Alabuga, Interfax reported on 15 September. The corporation heads and representatives of the economic mission of the Volga Federal District reportedly discussed the project the previous week in Japan. During the mission's visit to Japan, the construction of a Toyota car plant in Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast and deliveries of Japanese equipment to automakers GAZ and KamAZ were also negotiated.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Religious Leaders Call For Religious Concord
Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia and the European countries of the CIS head Telget Tajetdin and Archbishop Nikon of Ufa and Sterletamaq announced at a press conference in Ufa on 15 September their full support for state measures on fighting terrorism, Interfax reported the same day. Tajetdin said that "followers of the Muslim and Orthodox faiths have been living together in Russia in peace and mutual respect and there have never been bloody conflicts between believers of those confessions." Tajetdin added that "the attempt to represent terrorism as a display of religious intolerance, in the first instance, of Muslims to Christians, is in fact aiding and abetting terrorists who do not have either true faith or nationality in the direct sense as they defy all written and unwritten laws." He labeled the proposal by some politicians to extend responsibility for terrorists' crimes to their relatives "an extreme impasse."

Nikon expressed his concern that the "enemies of multinational Russia make provocations to compromise Muslims and bring discord in confessional balance." He said that "a believer cannot commit an act of terrorism aimed against people, especially against children." Such crimes are committed by criminals not for religious but for political reasons, Nikon said. Commenting on changing the procedure of electing the heads of regions, Nikon said, "The church does not interfere in affairs of state authority, but as a citizen of Russia I support this proposal and consider it grounded."

Bashkortostan's Unified Russia Leader Criticizes Putin's Proposals
The leader of the Unified Russia faction in the Bashkir State Assembly, Vladimir Kashulinskii, said Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal to abolish direct elections of heads of regions is unacceptable for Bashkortostan, the Vsya Ufa TV reported on 15 September. Vsya Ufa also cited Bashkir political analysts as saying that as a result of the proposed political reforms, the state machinery will become more manageable but civil democratic freedoms will be inflicted a serious blow.

Ufa, Cheboksary Sign Cooperation Agreement
Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov and Chavash President Nikolai Fedorov signed an agreement on 15 September on trade, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation between the Bashkir and Chavash governments, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. Baidavletov said a representation of the Chavash Republic in Sterletamaq will be opened as part of the agreement. He also said bilateral trade turnover between the republics, which totaled 400 million rubles ($13.7 million) the previous year, grew to 500 million rubles in the first six months of this year. The agreement also includes opening an affiliate of Chavash State University within the Sterletamaq Pedagogical Institute that will train teachers of Chavash and Bashkir.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova