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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 10, 2002

10 June 2002
Power-Sharing Treaty Between Moscow And Kazan To Be Amended
A republican commission on developing amendments to the power-sharing treaty between Moscow and Kazan held its first session on 7 June, reported. The commission, formed by Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 3 June, is headed by State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin. Mukhametshin said the 1994 treaty does not correspond to either the Tatarstan Constitution or Moscow's requirements. The treaty has not been confirmed by a federal law, and all provisions of power-sharing treaties contradicting federal legislation will be annulled as of 28 July. Mukhametshin said that annulment of the Tatarstan treaty is out of the question and added that amendments to the document will also be a subject of harmonization talks with Moscow. The new text of the treaty may be signed by the presidents of Russia and Tatarstan or be adopted as a protocol. But in either case, it should be passed into federal law, Mukhametshin said. The commission is due to make its proposals by mid-July.

Deputy Speaker Says Tatars Should Decide On Use Of Latin Script...
Tatarstan Deputy State Council Chairman Robert Minnullin told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 9 June that the proposed amendment to Russia's law on languages that would require state languages in Russia to use only the Cyrillic script, which was passed by the State Duma in its first reading on 5 June, is "one more slap in Tatarstan's face" and a warning from Moscow (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 6, 7 June 2002). Minnullin, who noted that this is his personal opinion, expressed his regret that representatives of national minorities, not Russians, initiated this draft, among them Tatars, Tuvins, Bashkirs, and representatives of the Caucasian peoples. He said Tatarstan should not give up on the Latinization move as the republic has a corresponding law on restoration of the Tatar Latin script that is currently in force. Minnullin said Tatars "should have the final word" at the third World Tatar Congress, which is scheduled for August. He said an appeal should be made to the Russian State Duma and President Vladimir Putin right now, and not when the draft becomes law.

...As Deputy Says Putin's Administration Promoting Language Amendments
State Duma Deputy Fandas Safiullin said on 7 June that before voting in the State Duma on the amendment prohibiting usage of non-Cyrillic scripts in Russia, a senior official from the Russian presidential administration gathered the Unity and Fatherland-All Russia factions and urged them to back the draft, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on 9 June. The official said "the draft is, in fact, absurd, but it is to be passed in the first reading and then held up." Safiullin made his comments at the Unity of the Tatar Nation conference at the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences in Kazan.

Interior Ministry Official Discusses Attack On Chally TIU
Tatarstan Deputy Interior Minister Rafil Nagumanov categorically rejected on 6 June accusations of the involvement of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the republic's Interior Ministry in the assault on the leader of the Tatar Public Center (TIU) in Chally, Rafis Kashapov, and other TIU members on 29 May (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 30, 31 May 2002). Nagumanov said the FSB and Interior Ministry do not resort to such tactics, Tatar-inform reported. Nagumanov said the incident was likely business-related rather than politically motivated. He pointed in particular to issues regarding the control of local markets and Kashapov's protest against the presence of Vietnamese traders in the markets.

Nagumanov added, however, that he cannot rule out entirely the participation in the crime of skinheads, followers of National-Bolshevik Party leader Eduard Limonov, or representatives of other fascist organizations.

Rossiya To Purchase Two More Kazan-Produced Tu-214 Aircraft
The state transportation company Rossiya has concluded a second contract to purchase two Tu-214 passenger aircraft produced by the Kazan Gorbunov aviation plant (KAPO), Igor Kabatov, chief designer of the Tupolev aircraft manufacturer, told Finmarket on 7 June. The plant is to deliver the planes within a year. The other two airplanes being built for Rossiya under an earlier contract are to be delivered this month and in the fall.

Kabatov said KAPO has already received orders to produce several tens of the Tu-214 aircraft. He added that the company is currently developing several modified versions of the plane, the Tu-214F cargo plane; the Tu-214D for long-haul flights; and the Tu-214C3 for passenger, cargo, and passenger-cargo flights. The Tu-214 costs $25 million.

Afghan Students To Study At Tatarstan Universities
Nail Khairullin, chairman of the Council of Rectors of Higher-Educational Institutions, told on 7 June that the Russian Education Ministry has established quotas for Afghan students to study at higher-educational institutions in Tatarstan. A number of students from the country will enter republican educational institutions this year. The measure is aimed at implementing the agreement on mutual aid between Russia and Afghanistan. Khairullin said studying Russian will be one of the most serious problems for Afghan students.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Legislature Seeks Dismissal Of Supreme Court Chairman
The Chamber of Representatives of the Bashkortostan State Assembly appealed on 6 June to Russian Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev, Chairman of the Council of Russia's Judges Yurii Sidorenko, and Chairman of the Supreme Qualification Board of Russia's Judges Valentin Kuznetsov to strip Bashkortostan Supreme Court Chairman Marat Vakilov of his judge's license, Bashinform reported. Two days earlier, the Bashkortostan parliament's Legislative Chamber made a similar appeal.

RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent cited an unidentified source on 9 June as saying that presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko urged Vakilov "to perform his duties quietly."

Meanwhile, "Kommersant" daily quoted Vakilov on 7 June as saying that certain forces had ordered his persecution and that State Assembly deputies are carrying out that order. Vakilov refused to list any specific names and said the reason for his persecution is likely the decision of the Bashkortostan Supreme Court to annul part of the republic's constitution (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 23, 27 May 2002).

Academy President Discusses Tatar-Bashkir Relations
Mansur Khasanov, president of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, told a conference titled Unity of the Tatar Nation in Kazan on 7 June that the condition of Tatars in Bashkortostan is a cause for serious anxiety. He added that complaints about violations of Tatar rights have been addressed by Tatars in Bashkortostan to the authorities in the neighboring republic of Tatarstan, as well as to a number of academic institutions.

"I don't want to believe that the state policy of this friendly republic [Bashkortostan] is aimed directly at the elimination of the Tatar national identity, but facts are stubborn things," Khasanov said,

Khasanov added that recent publications, including an interview with Takhir Akhunzyanov, former secretary of the Bashkortostan ASSR Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in "Tatarstan yashlere" daily on 18 May, have confirmed that work aimed at turning Bashkortostan's Tatar population into Bashkirs has been carried out for several decades already. Khasanov stressed, however, that such attempts have increased in scope at the present time. He called for serious attempts to improve Tatar-Bashkir relations and for scientific research on the ethnic history of the Tatar and Bashkir peoples.

Paper Criticizes Plans To Divide Tatars In Census
Bashkortostan's "Qyzyl tang" daily published on 7 June the first article in the republic in which efforts to divide Tatars into several ethnic groups in the October national census were criticized, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 9 June. The paper reported that the religious, linguistic, and territorial division of Tatars has become a real threat. The paper also claimed that certain forces in Russia want to weaken the strength of Tatars and to replace national republics with national and cultural autonomies (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 20, 21, 24, 27, 30 May 2002).

Tatar Group Appeals To Prosecutor To Obtain Registration
The deputy head of the Tatar National Cultural Autonomy (TMMM), Elfir Saqaev, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 9 June that the refusal to register the TMMM constitutes a legal violation and reflects nationalities policy in the republic. Saqaev was commenting on the 13 May ruling by Rishat Kilmyakov, head of the Main Administration of the Russian Justice Ministry in Bashkortostan, to refuse to register the Ufa-based TMMM.

Saqaev said that certain forces don't want a strong Tatar organization to appear in the republic, and thus they are trying to hinder the national and spiritual development of Tatars. He added that the removal of a memorial plaque from the building in Ufa in which Tatar poet Tuqai lived can be seen as part of an effort to eliminate all Tatar signs in the republic. Saqaev said the TMMM has appealed to Bashkortostan's prosecutor to protest Kilmyakov's ruling.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova