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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 2, 2003

2 April 2003
Spring Draft Gets Under Way In Republic
During the spring draft for the Russian military, which began on 1 April, the Tatar Military Commissioner's Office hopes to recruit 4,000 young men born between 1976 and 1985, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 1 April. During the fall 2002 draft, the republic, which has the second-highest number of draft-eligible men in the Volga Federal District, actually enlisted the second-lowest number of recruits in the district. A large number of drafted individuals were able to avoid service either by enrolling in institutions of higher learning or by proving that they suffered from any of a number of different illnesses.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Human Rights Report Promotes Official-Language Status For Tatar In Bashkortostan
The U.S. State Department's annual report on the state of democracy and human rights in the world, which was issued on 31 March, criticizes Bashkortostan for violating ethnic minorities' rights in its language policy, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 1 April. The report says only the Bashkir and Russian languages were given the status of official languages in the republic, while the language of Tatars, who amount to 30 percent of the population and exceed the number of Bashkirs, was deprived of similar status. Bashkir authorities ignored an appeal by the Tatar State Council demanding that Tatar be declared an official language, the report says.

Rakhimov Meets With German Space Agency Head
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov met with German Aerospace Center Chairman Sigmar Wittig on 1 April to discuss Bashkortostan's scientific and technical potential and possibilities in computer technology, robotics and training personnel for the high-tech sector, Bashinform reported the same day. Rakhimov told Wittig about the participation of local companies and scientific bodies in space programs. The two men discussed reforms in Bashkortostan, modernization and setting up of new industrial facilities, attraction of investment, and development of the high-tech sector in the republic, as well as industrial development in Germany and reforms that followed German unification.

New Legislature To Hold First Session On 11 April
President Rakhimov signed a decree on holding the first session of the newly elected State Assembly on 11 April, Bashinform reported on 1 April. RosBalt speculated the same day that President Rakhimov's son Ural, who was elected a deputy, is considered to be a contender for the post of parliamentary speaker, as well as the former speaker, Ufa Juridical Institute head Konstantin Tolkachev.

Bashkir Exhibition Opens In Khanty-Mansii Okrug
More than 60 Bashkir companies are presenting their products at the Business Bashkortostan exhibition, which opens on 2 April in Surgut, Khanty-Mansii Autonomous Okrug, RIA-Novosti reported on 31 March. A Bashkir delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Yefremov is to leave for Surgut on 2 April to meet with heads of the okrug government, representatives of the Surgut administration, and local businessmen, reported on 1 April.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova