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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 11, 2001

11 June 2001
Shaimiev Meets IRCICA Head
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 8 June met with general director of the International Research Center for Islamic Culture and Art Ekmeleddin Iskhanogly to discuss bilateral cultural cooperation, reported. Shaimiev said that Tatarstan�s leaders will promote the policy of the revival of Islam as well as the policy of inter-religious concord. Iskhanogly said that �world does not always treat Islam in a just manner� and �our task is to destroy incorrect image of Islam� as of an aggressive religion.

Shaimiev Praises Kazan Conference On Islamic Culture
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 8 June told the Emirates National Television that the conference on �Islamic culture in the Idel-Ural region� being held in Kazan is �of great importance� as Islam is reviving in Russia after the long period of prohibition. Shaimiev said that relations between the two main religions in Tatarstan were not simple during the transition period and that religious leaders in extreme situation acted in the most way and called on people to tolerance and consent. He said that the state system of the Russian Federation must reflect interests of its different peoples and confessions.

Kirienko Presents New Russian Passports to Tatarstan Residents
Presidential envoy to the Volga district Sergei Kirienko on 9 June handed out new Russian passports to 50 Tatarstan residents, reported. He said that during a month, all school graduates will receive them. He said that the main aim of the Russian state is to keep its multicultural nature, historical multiplicity, differences between nationalities, and experience of coexistence.

Mukhametshin Comments on New Russian Passports
Speaker Farid Mukhametshin said that he values new passports �positively� and that the event is significant for Russia as a whole. He said that Tatarstan initially postponed introduction of new passports for 4 years and has finally proved the right of national republics� peoples to write their names in native languages. He believes that last political events in Russia show that we are on the threshold of setting up a federative state, he noted. In other comments, Mukhametshin said that Tatarstan did not sign the Federative Treaty and bases its relations with Moscow on the bilateral treaty. "If Moscow would like to give Kazan any more powers," he said, "we are always ready to discuss this issue.�

Nationalists Picket Passport Presentation
Activists of the Tatar Public Center on 9 June held a picket protesting lack of a nationality entry in the new Russian passports and the continuing program of harmonization of the republic Constitution, reported.

Government Discusses Five-Year Plan
The cabinet on 9 June discussed the concept of republic economic development designed for next five years, Tatar-inform reported. The document provides that trade, services, foods processing, and light industry will become fully privatized and that the state will support strong and efficient manufacturers. The average monthly salary is supposed to rise to 3,000 rubles ($104) by 2002.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Putin Visits Ufa
President Vladimir Putin on 10 June met with the presidents of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, Murtaza Rakhimov and Mintimer Shaimiev, and Presidential envoy to the Volga district Sergei Kirienko to discuss social-economic situation in the Volga district, �Radio Rossii� reported. Earlier the same day, Putin attended the national holiday Sabantui. He also visited the Lala-Tyulpan Mosque in Ufa and met with the head of the Russian Muslims Central Religious Board Mufti Talgat Tadgutdin. Putin praised efforts by Muslim leaders to promote peace and friendship between peoples.

Tatar Public Organizations Hold Protest Action
Activists of Tatar public movements from Ufa on 9 June picketed Bashkortostan�s Dyurtile district center to demand equality of nations and peoples, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 10 June. They called for the scrapping of what they called a "discriminatory" language law. Two participants after the event announced a hunger-strike against �illegal actions of Dyurtile administration head Ravil Davletov� and �forcible bashkirization of the Tatar people.�

Putin Greets Rakhimov on Russian Sovereignty Day
President Vladimir Putin has greeted President Murtaza Rakhimov on the Day of the Russian Declaration on sovereignty, the presidential press service reported on 9 June. He noted that this holiday is �a symbol of national uniting and common responsibility for the present and the future of our Motherland.�

Rakhimov Greets Bashkortostan People On Russian Sovereignty Day
President Murtaza Rakhimov greeted Bashkortostan residents on Russian Sovereignty Day, Bashinform reported on 10 June. He noted that the Russian Declaration of sovereignty had provided the basis for �the creation on our territory of a real state being a subject of the Russian Federation.� He said �basic values of democracy, human rights, and socially oriented market economy more and more develop in everyday life.�

Center For Small Businesses to Open in Ufa
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 9 June issued a decree promoting an office for the Fund on development and support for small businesses, Bashinform reported.

Speaker Against Drafting a New Russian Constitution
Speaker Konstantin Tolkachev on 9 June said that the Russian Constitution corresponds as a whole to the country�s federal system and that the adoption of a new constitution cannot be in the agenda now as there is not even a federal law on the Constitutional Assembly. In other comments, he contested the requirement by the Prosecutor General�s Office to remove the expression �Bashkortostan citizens� from the republic Constitution saying that even Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Bashkortostan�s citizenship in his appeal to the republic legislature.

Agrarian Party Leader Visits Ufa
Mikhail Lapshin, the leader of the Russian Agrarian Party, met on 9 June in Ufa with Agriculture and Foodstuffs Minister Grigory Gorobets to discuss reforms in the agricultural sector, Bashinform reported. Lapshin said that Bashkortostan�s experience on preserving collective farms was �positive.�

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova