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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 6, 2002

6 August 2002
Bad Management Blamed For Low Harvesting Figures In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's Deputy Agriculture Minister Tagir Khadiev told reporters on 5 August that the current low grain-harvest figures in the republic are explained by the "slow work" of local farmers, who worked only one shift during the day, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. He said that by 5 August 2001 farmers had already gathered 21.7 percent of the total harvest while this year they managed to collect only 10 percent.

Khadiev added, "We may lose our harvest because of the deteriorating weather conditions, but ineffective management is also a factor in this, as only 10-14 tons of grain are processed by each harvester combine each day, while we need five times more than that." He referred to last year's harvest figures, when some of the combine operators managed to gather up to 70 tons of grain each day and stressed that Tatarstan should use the experience of agricultural regions such as Krasnodar Krai, where harvester drivers substitute each other to keep their machines working around the clock.

Tatar Muslim Leader Condemns Paratrooper's Day Violence
Tatarstan Muslim Religious Board Chairman Gusman Iskhakov told members of Kazan's Azerbaijani community on 5 August that he condemned "the extremist actions against the Azerbaijanis on 2 August," which was celebrated as Paratrooper's Day (Den Desantnika) across Russia, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 6 August citing Some 200 retired paratroopers gathered in Kazan's Gorky Park on 2 August, and 12 of them later were detained for attacking the merchants at Kazan Central Market, many of whom were from Azerbaijan, acting chief of the Kazan police Rim Shakurov told reporters on 3 August.

During the meeting with Iskhakov, the Azerbaijani community delivered its monetary donation to the Qol Sherif Mosque being constructed in Kazan's Kremlin.

City Government's Fails 'Homework Checkup'
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov failed to hold an effective meeting devoted to the preparations for the town's millennium anniversary on 5 August, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the next day. The meeting revealed that the responsible officials hadn't prepared their reports on projects to develop tourism, attract investors, and fulfill the federal program for rebuilding the historical parts of Kazan. In order to do at least some work instead of dissolving, the meeting had to switch to discussing routine issues such as preparations for the new school year.

Situation With Back Wages In Kazan
According to an Efir TV report citing the Kazan city government on 5 August, industrial workers in the city are currently owed 56.2 million rubles ($1.8 million) in back wages, 36 million of which are owed by the Kazan Gunpowder Plant (NPO imeni Lenina). The second major debtor enterprise is another Russian defense industry, NPO Sviyaga, which specializes in aircraft radio systems, with 12 million rubles in wage arrears.

Government Puts Socioeconomic Development Into Agenda
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Prime Minster Rustam Minnikhanov will join the cabinet meeting to discuss the tasks of Tatarstan's social and economic development in the office building of Aq Bars Bank in Kazan on 6 August, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported. After this meeting, the officials will attend an exhibition devoted to Tatarstan's industrial innovation projects, where President Shaimiev will hand out awards to the best exporting companies in the republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Shaimiev Emphasizes Importance Of Future Census
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev wrote in an address to the forum of Bashkortostan's Tatars, presented by Tatarstan State Council Deputy Chairman Robert Minnulin, that the "spirit of Tatars in Bashkortostan...influenced Bashkortostan's and Tatarstan's fates," RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 5 August. Referring to the upcoming national census, Shaimiev wrote that "every person should decide who he is and no one has the right to distort the will of a nation" by adjusting the census figures.

Alternative Tatar Congress To Consider Overlooked Issues
According to RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 5 August, the 2-3 August congress of Bashkortostan's Tatars adopted an appeal asking the federal government to re-establish the Ministry of Nationalities Affairs and generally increase activities against chauvinism, nationalism, racism, fascism, and extremism.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Bashkortostan branch of the Tatar Public Center (TIU), Airat Giniatullin, told reporters during the congress that his organization planned to hold an alternative Tatar congress in the republic to adopt a special appeal to the World Tatar Congress, "because the [2 August] congress didn't touch all of the problems linked with the Tatar language and cultural development." Giniatullin admitted that the 2 August event might be considered completely illegitimate, because according to the federal law on public organizations, only people of Tatar nationality over the age of 18 can be elected delegates to a Tatar congress in the republic. Referring to the fact that there were many republican officials of Bashkir and Russian nationality elected as delegates to the congress, he said, "In this situation we must decide whether to amend the congress charter to allow the people of other nationalities in or deny registration to the non-Tatar delegates."

Meanwhile the Tatar Congress procedures were held only in Russian, as Bashkir Prime Minister Rafael Baydavletov chaired the meeting.

Tatar Congress Official Says Life Of Tatars Improved
The head of the Executive Committee of the Tatar congress in Bashkortostan, Bashkir State Pedagogical University rector Eduard Khamitov, told the 2 August forum that "significant positive changes tool place in the sphere of developing and preserving the Tatar language and culture" since the first Tatar congress in the republic in 1997, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported yesterday.

Khamitov stated that 19,200 of 202,500 Tatar pupils in Bashkortostan had an opportunity to study in their native language and 98,200 studied the Tatar language as a subject.

He added that even though Tatar, the language of the second-largest ethnic group in Bashkortostan, has not yet been granted official status, "it would be wrong to say that Tatars in Bashkortostan are deprived of their tongue." He called on the forum to "fully implement the provisions of the law on Bashkortostan's peoples' languages."

Federal Inspector Dropped From List Of Congress Delegates
On 3 August, participants of the Tatar congress excluded the chief federal inspector in Bashkortostan, Rustem Khamitov, from the list of delegates for the third World Tatar Congress, RosBalt reported on 5 August. Khamitov was reportedly replaced by Azgat Kurmanaev, who represents the Tatar community of Salavat. Khamitov's candidacy was rejected after the speech of Buizdyak region delegate, who claimed that "Khamitov is not worthy of representing Bashkortostan, because he took a strict anti-republican position, expressing disrespect to the congress by ignoring it." According to his staff, cited by RosBalt, Khamitov is currently on leave outside Bashkortostan. The agency also reported that Khamitov now plans to join the World Tatar Congress as a delegate elected from Sverdlovsk Oblast.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi