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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 18, 2001

18 September 2001
A Referendum on Constitutional Changes
State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin said on 17 September that changes demanded by Moscow in Tatarstan's constitution need to be voted on in a popular referendum. The State Council on 20 September does not plan to discuss these changes but rather will take part in the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission chaired by President Mintimir Shaimiev.

Moscow Scholars Say Politics Behind Alphabet Shift
Russian Academician Edhem Tenishev said in Moscow on 17 September that the shift to the Latin script in Tatarstan is the result of politics rather than linguistics, RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent reported. He called for a referendum on the issue. Vladimir Alpatov, the deputy director of the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, seconded Tenishev's remarks and added that the change "would be profitable for those who want to distance Tatarstan from Russia."

Government Names Those Responsible for Cholera Outbreak
Deputy Prime Minister Zilya Valeeva said on 17 September that a closed session of the government had identified the Kazan Vodokanal water supply company, the Kazan city administration, and doctors in Sovetskiy district hospitals as being criminally responsible for the spread of cholera there. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov said that no minister will be dismissed but that more junior officials will be punished.

No Information Yet on Tatarstan Losses at Gudermes
Russian news agencies on 17 September did not provide any information on possible losses of Tatarstan militia officers during the Chechen attack on Gudermes.

Prominent Tatar Singer Dies
Tatar singer Vafire Gyzatullina died in a car crash on Kazan-Chally highway on 16 September, Tatar-inform reported.

Two Drug Traffickers Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
Two Tajik citizens were sentenced to 14 years in prison for organizing a heroin distribution network in Tatarstan, Efir-Inform reported on 17 September.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Worried about Future of Federalism in Russia
The Bashkir presidential press service said on 17 September that President Murtaza Rakhimov is concerned about Moscow�s approach to federalism and power sharing treaties with regions, RFE\RL Ufa correspondent reported.

Top Government Officials Return to Ufa after Long Inspection Trip�
Bashkortostan�s government finished its 1500 kilometers trip through 11 regions of the republic�s West, having inspected the industrial facilities, schools and other objects of economic and public importance, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 17 September. President Murtaza Rakhimov told the reporters that he was pleased with what he had seen.

�To Places Which Followed The Traditions Of Potyemkin Villages
An RFE/RL correspondent quoted an unnamed forestry employee as saying that he and his counterparts had to clean the woods near the roads taken by governmental inspection, pushing the garbage inside the forest, so that it would not be seen. Moreover, he added, before the inspection, the local administrations repaired the roads to be taken by presidential escort and renovated the public places of their areas.

Bashkir Parliament Deputy Calls on Regions to Stand Together
Bashkortostan�s State Assembly deputy Zufer Yenikeev told RFE/RL on 17 September that Russian regions should cooperate to preserve their freedoms and to realize the independence enshrined in their fundamental laws. .

HIV Positives Mostly Young
The majority of 1926 HIV positive residents of the republic are reportedly the people aging from 15 to 30, reported on 17 September. Twenty of those infected are children under the age of 14.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi