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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 12, 2001

12 June 2001
Shaimiev's Tenth Anniversary as President Marked
On 12 June 1991, Mintimir Shaimiev was elected president of Tatarstan for the first time. The majority of the voters who elected him abstained from participating in the Russian elections which chose a Russian president.

Abuse of Tatar Rights in Bashkortostan Decried
Tatar writer Aidar Halim said in an interview with Tatarstan State Radio on 11 June that Bashkortostan�s media and press have begun a campaign to register its Tatar population as Bashkirs in order to show bigger figures for the Bashkir population during the upcoming national census. He sharply criticized something that he called �Bashkirization propaganda,� which, he said, "would never bring to the increase of Bashkir population, but to the reduction of Tatar people.� He said that this and the loss of Tatar as a language by Tatars in Bashkortostan "meets Moscow's interests."

Tatars Mark Sabantuy, Ignore Russia�s Independence Day
The traditional Sabantuy holiday was widely celebrated in all regions of Tatarstan on 9-10 June. But no special events were scheduled in the republic on the anniversary of Russia�s sovereignty declaration on 12 June.

Private Businesses Development a Priority for Tatarstan�s Economy
According to Tatarstan�s economic development program presented by deputy prime minister Sergey Kogogin on 9 June, Kazan will direct its policies toward supporting private businesses and strictly monitoring the effective management at state-owned companies.

Tatarstan Maintains Low Fares on Suburban Trains...
Tatarstan�s government has fully compensated the losses of Gorky railroads for maintaining the suburban trains in the republic in 2000, reported on 11 June. This service operates at a loss because ticket prices are kept low.

...But Trams And Trolley Buses Tickets Prices To Rise
Efir TV reported on 9 June that due to an increase in electricity power rates in Tatarstan, city electric transport enterprises are planning to increase tram and trolley bus prices by 50%. This would make the ticket price 3 rubles [$0,10], the same as for tickets on city buses.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

More Details on Putin's Visits To Ufa
During his visit to Bashkortostan on 10 June, President Vladimir Putin was constantly accompanied by Bashkir president Murtaza Rakhimov and the president of Tatarstan Republic Mintimer Shaimiev, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported the next day. Russian presidential envoy to Volga administrative district Sergey Kiriyenko, deputy PM, minister of agriculture Alexey Gordeev and deputy head of presidential staff Dmitry Gordeev were followed by the members of Bashkir government also were part of the entourage."

Putin Praises Bashkortostan's Ethnic Policy
Putin met the representatives of different ethnic communities before taking part in a meeting with members of Bashkortostan Peoples' Assembly. He told national TV channels that Bashkortostan "was an example of peaceful coexistence of 112 nationalities."

Hunger Strike Ends in Durtuli
Militia troops dispersed a dozen protesters who announced a hunger strike to protest the violations of the rights of Tatars in the Durtuli region on 9 June, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported.

Rakhimov Calls for Development of Russian Federalism
President Murtaza Rakhimov told on 10 June that during his visit to Ufa president Putin "had an opportunity to witness that the experience of strong, progressive regions so far has been neglected by Russia." Rakhimov said that he had discussed with Putin "new ways for supporting the weak recipient regions, so that the interests of donor regions are not harmed."

Peoples' Assembly Head Says Ethnic Rights Are Equal In Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan Peoples' Assembly chairman Niyaz Majitov told the official delegation visiting Ufa on 10 June that Russians and other people "felt themselves comfortable living in Bashkortostan and had opportunities for practicing their confessions, customs and traditions."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi