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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 3, 2001

3 September 2001
Paper Says �Holy Rus�� Has No Space For Tatars
�Zvezda Povolzhya� wrote on 30 August that the location of Tatarstan in the center of Russia made the republic politically resourceful and forced it to follow a strategy of permanent retreats. Circumstances left Tatars the only opportunity to survive � through behaving themselves like �political hares.� But maybe it is Tatars� super-conformism that brought them to such circumstances and explains the fact that Tatars are among world�s few large peoples that have not still obtained independence, the weekly noted. Recalling a recent thesis by Vladimir Putin about the creation of �the Holy Rus�,� the paper pointed out that Tatars with their Islam and Oriental culture hardly fit in with this concept, which could be realized only if Tatars accept Orthodoxy and dissolve themselves within the Russian culture. And the paper noted that unlike in the past, the Tatars have relatively few friends and therefore less space for maneuver.

Russian Ethnologist Says Russia Benefits from Tatar Latinization
�Zvezda Povolzhya� on 30 August quoted Valerii Tishkov, the director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as saying that Russia should support Tatarstan�s move toward the introduction of the Tatar Latin script and allot funding for this rather than attempt to counteract this process. He said that Tatarstan has two possible directions to develop � the Islamic-Oriental and the Western ones. If it chooses the first way, Tatarstan will receive a strong support from the Arab countries but will face growth of Islamist sentiments, something that can radicalize the republic, he stressed. The second, Western way for Tatarstan to develop is more favorable for Russia, and switching to Latin script helps direct the republic towards the West, he noted.

American Scholar Proposes International Tatar University Project
�Zvezda Povolzhya� in the same issue published a draft project for an International Tatar University designed by U.S. Wisconsin-Madison University professor Uli Shamilogli. The university aims to develop and promote new Tatar culture, training new Tatar elite and is supposed to connect Tatars in Tatarstan with the Tatar diaspora living in Russia and abroad and to help those Turkic and Muslim peoples that cannot create their own national universities. Visiting Kazan a month earlier, Shamilogli presented his project to President Mintimer Shaimiev.

Mukhametshin Joins Kabardino-Balkaria Jubilee Celebrations
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin took part in the celebrations devoted to the 80th anniversary of Kabardino-Balkaria�s statehood and 444th anniversary since it voluntarily joined Russia, Tatarstan Television reported on 31 August.

Two Militiamen Convicted of Selling Drugs
Tatarstan�s Supreme Court has sentenced two militiamen of the anti-drug department of Kazan�s Kirov district interior board, Mikhail Buzin and Eduard Abushaev, to 7.5 and 6 years of imprisonment respectively for selling drugs, Efir-inform reported on 31 August.

Vneshtorgbank To Give Money For Tu-214 Production
Vneshtorgbank board chairman Yurii Ponomarev said that his bank will allot $175 million in credits to leasing companies for purchasing domestic aircraft, among them to the Finance Leasing Company for the leasing of Kazan-produced Tu-214 jet, Tatar-inform reported on 31 August. Tatarstan�s government and Tatneft are the major shareholders of the Finance Leasing Company.

Tatar Leader Says Radio Liberty the Only Mass Media Uniting Tatars
Zinnur Ehliullin, former leader of the Tatar Public Center in Chally, told RFE/RL�s Crimea correspondent on 31 August that due to the efforts of the Tatar national movement over the past decade, Tatars have become a well-known people in the world, but they have not succeeded in obtaining an independent state. In early 1990s, Tatar national organizations used the experience of the Crimean Tatars� public movement, he said, noting that by now, however, Tatarstan�s national organizations have exceeded their Crimean counterparts in respect of theoretical developments. And he called on Tatarstan�s, Bashkortostan�s, and Crimean Tatars to unite and to continue the exchange of experience. At the same time, he said that national movement in Tatarstan has become a �pocket� one of local authorities. In other comments, he said that Tatar-language press is totally controlled by the government in Tatarstan and is not able to criticize republic authorities. And he added that the Radio Liberty meets the requirements of freedom of speech, �helps us receive the free information we otherwise lack.� Moreover, he said, it remains the only media uniting all Tatars.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russian National Policy Minister Says Bashkortostan Has No Sovereignty
Meeting with pro-government national-cultural organizations in Ufa, Aleksandr Blokhin, Federation, National and Migration Policies Minister, said that Moscow considers the development and realization of Russia�s new national policy one of the most important issues, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 2 September. He said that national issues currently could be resolved on the basis of the law on national-cultural autonomies. But he added that practice has proved that this law is not perfect and that his ministry proceeds with its improvement. He stressed that Bashkortostan has no sovereignty, as location of one sovereign state within another one is �nonsense.� Not a single republic leader being in attendance at the meeting opposed this comment. In other comments, Blokhin opposed switching to Tatar Latin script in Tatarstan saying that the measure will require a lot of money.

Agidel Population Pleased by Renewed Construction of Nuclear Station
Agidel Mayor Valerii Fedorov said that the Agidel nuclear station will be constructed on the basis of the most modern and secure project being developed by the Moscow Atomenergoproekt, RFE/RL�s Ufa correspondent reported on 31 August. He said that the construction will begin not earlier than two years from now, that the station�s first power unit will be finished in 2010, and that the station will be completed in 2020. Agidel residents reportedly praised the decision to resume the construction of the station while environmental activists said they will fight the project.

Bashkortostan�s Paper Says Tatarstan�s Sovereignty Declaration Important for Many Peoples Of Russia
Bashkortostan�s �Kyzyl tang� on 30 August wrote that the declaration of Tatarstan�s sovereignty was drawn forth by the republic�s desire to avoid the kind of extreme centralization that took place in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia and to revive its ancient statehood. The republic political initiatives, and above all its Declaration of Sovereignty, helped Russia move towards a true federation and thus provided assistance to other non-Russian peoples.

Kozak�s Commission Seeks To Annul Power-Sharing Treaties
�Izvestiya� on 28 August wrote that the commission on power sharing chaired by Deputy Presidential Administration Head Dmitrii Kozak is expected to present to President Vladimir Putin in September its proposals on annulment of power-sharing treaties. The treaty-based federation suited Boris Yeltsin, the paper stressed, adding that the new president needs a new state system to be established. On 29 August, the paper noted that Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk Oblasts, and Udmurtia oppose annulling their power-sharing treaties.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova