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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 28, 2001

28 September 2001
Mukhametshin Says Duma Unlikely to Adopt Anti-Latinization Law
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin told Tatarstan Television on 27 September that he had met with Duma deputies who had initiated the draft law prohibiting introduction of non-Cyrillic alphabets and that he is convinced this draft will not go forward. At the same time, he said, the deputies involved had asked Kazan to lengthen the period over which the new script will be introduced.

Tatar Intelligentsia Backs Latinization...
Representatives of the Tatar intelligentsia on 27 September held a forum to discuss switching to Latin script, Tatar Television reported. Linguists, literary figures, and representatives of Tatar public organizations being in attendance spoke out against those trying to slow down the shift in alphabets. Tatar Public Center head Rashid Yagfarov said that the forum was intended to unite intelligentsia on latinization. Meanwhile, Tatar language professor Flera Safiullina told Tatar Television that schoolchildren learn that script within 2-3 weeks.

...And TPC In Chally Calls For This
The Tatar Public Center in Chally appealed to Tatar organizations and intelligentsia to promote latinization of the Tatar language saying that it will help Tatars to survive and resist assimilation, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported on 26 September.

Duma Deputy Opposes Idea of Referendum on Latin Script
Duma Deputy Fandas Safiullin said on 27 September that attempts to prevent the introduction of Tatar Latin script violate rights of the Tatar people and the Russian constitution, Rosbalt reported. He said that the issue is "an internal affair of the Tatar people." He also spoke against a referendum on the issue being related only to Tatars as ethnic Russians "may feel insulted by not being able to take part in it."

Abdulatipov Defends Tatarstan's Right to Choose Alphabet
Ramazan Abdulatipov, a Federation Council member from Saratov Oblast, said on 27 September that introduction of Latin Tatar script may be "inexpedient" but he defended the right of Tatarstan to make that choice. He suggested that Tatars might wish to revisit the question now that integration rather than disintegration is the order of the day.

Harmonization Continues
State Council Secretary Valentina Lipuzhina said on 26 September that Tatarstan has successfully defended before the Russian Supreme Court its laws on local self-governance bodies, on emergency situations, and on elections of local council deputies and that 40 legal acts were harmonized by the court decisions. She said that seven more laws may be harmonized only after amending the republic constitution.

Milli Mejlis Says Census May Divide Tatars
The Milli Mejlis said that Moscow may exploit the forthcoming census to reduce the number of Tatars in the country by dividing them into four ethnic groups including Kazan, Astrakhan, Siberian, and Christian Tatars, RFE/RL's Chally correspondent reported on 26 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chechen Official Thanks Rakhimov
Chechnya's Urus-Martan administration head Gebertaev sent a message of thanks to Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov for the help provided by republic's interior bodies in Chechnya, Bashinform reported on 26 September. Gebertaev said that after units from Bashkortostan had begun working in his district, the number of complaints from local residents about bad behavior of servicemen had declined.

Government Discusses 2002 Budget...
The cabinet on 27 September discussed the draft 2002 budget, Bashinform reported. Deputy Prime Minister Foat Khantimerov said that budget revenues next year are supposed to total 57.6 billion rubles ($2 billion) and that 48 percent of them are to be transferred to Moscow. He said that the rate of income tax will be reduced from current 35 to 24 percent.

...And Sets Limits on Housing of Administration Head
The cabinet also issued a resolution governing the amount of housing space provided for the heads of regions and cities, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 26 September. According to the ruling, free apartments or houses provided to administrations heads will remain state-owned property and cannot exceed 150 square meters.

Number Of Bashkir Children in Tatar Villages Increases
D�rtile raion education department official Rimma Sharipova told RFE/RL on 26 September that about 20 percent of students at Tatar schools in the raion's Tatar villages are Bashkirs, and that in a few the percentage is as high as 35 percent. Moreover, Bashkir classes have been opened this year in eight Tatar schools there. The region has a special three-year program to transition from Tatar to Bashkir as the language of instruction.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova