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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 17, 2001

17 September 2001
Russian Daily Publishes Open Letter by Tatars Opposed to Latinization
�Rossiiskaya gazeta� on 14 September published the appeal of some 40 representatives of Tatar intelligentsia living in Moscow and Russian regions outside Tatarstan calling on Kazan to block the switch to the Latin script. They said that such a shift would be "destructive" and separate Tatars from "a modern national culture." RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent reported that the letter was prepared by the Kremlin and that the Russian Presidential administration pressured Tatars in Moscow to sign it

Mirzayanov Calls for a Push for Tatarstan�s Independence
In an article published in �Zvezda Povolzhya� on 13 September, Vil Mirzayanov, a Russian chemist persecuted in early 1990s for his statements about Russia�s dishonest policy on chemical weapons, sharply criticized Tatarstan authorities for failing to achieve independence. He said that he had tried to set up an international organization for independence of the peoples of Idel-Ural listed among enslaved peoples in U.S. Captive Nations resolution of 1959. But Tatarstan's leaders, he said, had not asked other countries to recognize Tatarstan's independence nor appealed to the United Nations to help them gain their independence from the Russian empire. Now, they are "busy saving the [Russian] empire." Mirzayanov called for "the internationalization of the issue of Tatarstan's decolonization" and said that the People's Front in Tatarstan should collect signatures on an appeal to the UN. He urged "real patriots of the Tatar people to tell the world about the Tatar dream of independence over the last 450 years."

Scholar Opposes Setting Islam Against �Civilized World�
Mikhail Delyagin, the director of the Institute of Problems of Globalization, said in an interview published in �Vostochnyi ekspress� on 14 September that it is incorrect to interpret the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States to be �a war of civilized humanity with Islam� since Islam is a part of the same civilization. He said since Russia is both an Islamic as well as a Christian country, such an approach is especially self-defeating.

TPC Condemns Terrorism
The Tatar Public Center on 14 September issued a statement expressing its condolences to the relative of those victims of acts of terrorism in the U.S., Tatar-inform reported. The TPC said the perpetrators had acted under the cover of religion but do not reflect or represent Islam. It also notes that many Islamic peoples in the Middle East have not yet realized their right of national self-determination.

Russian Government Praises Tatarstan For Good Harvest
Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Aleksei Gordeev on 14 September sent a telegram to President Mintimer Shaimiev praising republic agricultural workers for the 5.5 million tons harvest, Tatar-inform reported. �Zvezda Povolzhya� on 13 September noted, however, that Vladimir Putin has not greeted the republic on the big harvest, which is twice the size of harvests gathered in Soviet times. If he did so, the paper said, he would have to recognize the value of sovereignty to the economy. The paper added that Tatarstan's economy is sufficiently strong that it could withstand an economic blockade like the one the Soviet Union imposed against Lithuania.

Shaimiev Leaves For Vacation
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 14 September has left for a three-week vacation in Antalia, Tatar-inform reported.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan Residents Offer to Donate Blood to U.S. Victims
Masabikh Kagarmanov, the head of the republic's blood transfusion station, told Bashinform on 14 September that his organization has received offers from republic residents to donate blood for Americans injured in the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Ufa Against Introducing Passport Without Republic Insert on 14 September sharply criticized recent comments by Volga Federal District official Nikolai Novikov who said that the right to select passport with or without regional insert is a �constitutional right� of the citizen of the Russian Federation and encouraged Bashkortostan residents to complain of violations of this right. Bashkortostan lawyers consider that citizens have no �constitutional right� to select between passports with an insert in national language and without it, that only the republic as a whole has similar right and that it has already made its choice. The agency noted that the existence of two types of �Bashkir� passport could lead to discrimination outside Bashkortostan of those with insert-containing documents.

Germany Bashkortostan�s Top Investor
Prime Minister Rafael Baidavletov on 14 September told Bashinform that 30 percent of total investments in the republic economy comes from German companies and that Germany was the third largest trading partner of Bashkortostan in 2000 with the $320 million trade turnover.

Ufa Promotes Ural Regional Structure for Electronic Trade
The government interdepartmental council on the development of electronic trade on 14 September formed a special commission to cooperate with federal and republic authority bodies to develop legislation on electronic trade, Bashinform reported. The council also discussed plans on the creation in the Ural region of a single regional system for electronic trade uniting nine regions.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova