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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 3, 2003

3 January 2003
Deputy Speaker Says Tatarstan To Continue Hope Of Using Latin Alphabet
Tatar Deputy State Council Chairman Robert Minnullin has said that Tatarstan should not cease its efforts to make a transition to the Latin alphabet for the Tatar language, adding that the republic is going to try to find a new way of achieving that aim, reported on 28 December. Minnullin said that not only Moscow is to blame for the recently enacted prohibition against the use of non-Cyrillic alphabets for state languages in Russia but that Tatarstan's intelligentsia, which was unable to take a common stand on the issue, is also to blame. Minnullin added that the republic's unwillingness to discuss the issue with Bashkortostan's Tatars and Bashkirs, as well as with the Russian Education Ministry, contributed to Tatarstan's failure to introduce the Latin alphabet.

Kazan-Based Company To Assist Emergency Situations Ministry
The Kazan-based ICL-KPO VS computer company has agreed to join the Federal Center of Science and High Technology of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, reported on 2 January, citing The center's function is to coordinate the activities of 34 organizations involved in preventing emergency situations, as well as in lending assistance in the aftermath of emergencies. The Kazan-based company is to develop automated information systems to be used in emergencies.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Republic Marks Six Months Since Air Tragedy
On 2 January, just over six months after the midair collision of Bashkir Airlines and DHL jets over Germany (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report", 2 July 2002), 118 German policemen, firemen, medics, interpreters, and volunteers who worked at the crash site arrived in Bashkortostan for a 10-day vacation in local spas, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported the same day. The guests will also take part in memorial events dedicated to the victims of the tragedy.

Putin Visits Bashkortostan
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Abzakovo ski resort in the Beloretsk region of Bashkortostan on 1 January, Bashinform reported the next day. Putin, well-known as an avid downhill skier, will spend several days in Abzakovo and later visit Ufa for a number of meetings. On 1 January Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov, Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin, and the general director of the Magnitogorsk metallurgical plant met Putin at the Magnitogorsk airport.

Rakhimov Offers Condolences On Grozny Bombing
President Rakhimov sent a telegram to Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadirov on 31 December to share the grief of the Chechen people in connection with the 27 December bombing of the governmental building in Grozny (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 December 2002). On behalf of his republic, Rakhimov condemned what he called the "barbaric act by terrorists, aimed against the revival of peaceful life" in Chechnya.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi