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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 13, 2001

13 June 2001
Shaimiev's First Election Recalled as Significant Step Forward
Deputy Prime Minister Zilya Valeeva told RFE/RL Kazan Bureau on 12 June that the election of Mintimir Shaimiev as president ten years ago was especially significant because it was an election and thus broke the tradition of communist party control of political life in the republic.

Ethnic Republics Seen Leading Political Change in Russia
Tatar ethnographer Damir Iskhakov told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 12 June that the non-Russian republics will resume their dialogue with the Russian government because these republics "have always been more progressive." At the same time, he noted that ethnic Tatar public organizations played a greater role ten years ago than they do now.

Tatar Public Organizations Gather
The public organizations of Tatarstan are gathering in Kazan for a 13 June forum on defending the republic's statehood. They plan to create a special coordinating center for this.

Tiger Terrorizes Kazan
An Ussuri tiger recently bought by the Kazan zoo escaped on 12 June, spreading panic and leading people to stay away from public places. For nine hours until the tiger was recaptured, the city was in a panic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Says Putin's Visit a Success...
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 12 June said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Ufa was a success both in public and private, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported.

...But Many People Less Sure About That
Several local residents interviewed by RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 12 July were less upbeat. They said that Putin "didn't look like he came to join the celebrations" and that "he didn't seem happy to be in Bashkortostan." Tatar groups in Bashkortostan were even more negative: They said that the mutual admiration expressed by Putin and Rakhimov was "not a good sign for Tatar communities in Bashkortostan."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi