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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 5, 2001

5 October 2001
Mukhametshin Says Language Issue Beyond Duma Powers
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 4 October told Tatar-inform that critics of Tatarstan's move toward latinization over-politicize the issue and said the introduction of the Latin scrip in no way spawns separatism. He said statements by representatives of Tatars living outside Tatarstan that the move "will cut them off from their historical Motherland" are unfounded. Mukhametshin stressed that republican authorities will not rush into the transition and said he is puzzled by the Duma's drive to regulate rules of writing for the peoples of Russia. He added that the issue is beyond the powers of federal authorities. He stressed that Russian will remain Tatarstan's state language alongside Tatar, so called predictions that Tatars will forget Cyrillic script groundless. Mukhametshin said that those schoolchildren studying Latin Tatar script show great interest in it and more easily learn foreign languages. He added that Cyrillic script does not suit Tatar phonetics.

Shaimiev Said To Become Leader Of Merged Unity, All Russia, And Fatherland
"Vremya novostei" on 4 October reported that Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, together with Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, will head a new party to be set up as a result of the merger of Unity, All Russia, and Fatherland. The paper quoted Oleg Morozov, the head of the All Russia executive committee, as saying that the three organizations "are negotiating the merger" and that All Russia is going to "invest resources in this project." Morozov told Interfax that a 13 October All Russia congress may take a decision on a merger with Unity and Fatherland. He noted that Unity began a rapprochement with All Russia much earlier than it decided to merge with Fatherland. Aleksandr Bespalov, the head of the union of Unity and Fatherland, said that the new party will initially have three co-chairman but that a single leader will remain. He added that it already has its moral leader in President Vladimir Putin.

Kazan May Not Meet Constitution Harmonization Deadline on 4 October quoted Tatarstan's parliamentary spokeswoman Lyubov Ageeva saying that the republic is unlikely to complete the harmonization of its constitution by Moscow's January 2002 deadline. The agency commented that, as a result, the Kremlin could dissolve the Tatarstan legislature and dismiss the republic's president in January.

Mukhametshin Joins Adygea Jubilee Celebrations
State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 4 October took part in celebrations devoted to the 10th anniversary of the Republic of Adygea in Maikop and delivered greetings from President Mintimer Shaimiev. Mukhametshin the same day met with representatives of the Tatar diaspora of more than 4,000 people in Adygea.

Milli Mejlis Promotes Constitutional Referendum
The Leader of Milli Mejlis, Aidar Khalim, told RFE/RL's Kazan bureau on 3 October that Tatarstan is threatened by a loss of the constitutional sovereignty it won 11 years ago. He said the State Council has no right to abolish the republic's sovereignty, confirmed in a 1992 referendum, and added that the annulment of gains in sovereignty would be "a disgraceful retreat" for Tatarstan. He proclaimed Milli Mejlis's disagreement with the State Council's efforts on harmonization of the constitution and called on the parliament to hold a new referendum on key constitutional issues. He said that Moscow must stop infringing on the rights of Russia's peoples. Khalim also called on all Tatars to unite and, during the coming census, not to divide themselves into the different ethnic groups of Siberian, Astrakhan, Christian Tatars, Mishers, and Bulgars.

Crimean Journalist On Development Of National Media
Crimean Tatar journalist Lilia Bozyrova told RFE/RL on 3 October that Tatars in Crimea now publish two newspapers -- "Qrym" and "Yanga donya" -- in Crimean Tatar and two more newspapers in Russian. Previously only "Leninskoe znamya," published by Crimean Tatars who had been deported from the region, existed. The Crimean Tatar department within Ukrainian state radio and television also now broadcasts seven hours per week. But she stressed that the development of Crimean Tatar mass media is hindered by the fact that no higher institution in Ukraine trains in journalism and the Crimean Tatar language at the same time. This would be possible in Kazan, she noted, but added that Russian diplomas are not recognized in Ukraine. Bozyrova said that some 270,000 Crimean Tatars now live in Crimea and almost as many remain in areas to which they were deported, mainly in Uzbekistan. She thanked the RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir service for providing broadcasts in Crimean Tatar.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Constitutional Court Chairman Says Sovereignty Declaration Not To Be Annulled
Constitutional Court Chairman Ildus Adigamov on 4 October said there is neither the need nor legal grounds for annulment of Bashkortostan's sovereignty, Bashinform reported. He was commenting on the decision of the Komi parliament to annul the republic's sovereignty, saying that it was prompted by political reasons like the forthcoming elections of a regional head. He said that neither Bashkortostan's declaration of sovereignty nor its constitution declare unrestricted sovereignty, so the Russian Constitutional Court's ruling requiring declarations of sovereignty to be annulled doesn't apply to Bashkortostan. He added that all contradictions with the Russian basic law had been removed in the new edition of the republic's constitution.

New Medical Facility Opens In Ufa
Russian Deputy Health Care Minister Olga Sharapova on 4 October took part in the opening ceremony of a new maternity hospital in Ufa, Bashinform reported. She praised President Murtaza Rakhimov for his attention to the sector, saying the republic's leaders "do much themselves and never ask Moscow."

Legislature Proceeds With Harmonization
The State Assembly on 4 October passed in their third reading amendments to laws on ecological monitoring, employment, and leasing, according to the presidential press service. The assembly passed legislation on veterinary and private medical practice in their second readings, and on privatization and freedom of assembly and demonstration on first reading. Deputies also initiated amendments to the federal law on violations in the production and sale of alcohol.

Bashkortostan Delegation To Take Part In Fatherland Congress
Sixty-nine Fatherland departments in Bashkortostan have elected 22 delegates to a 13 October congress of that organization, Bashinform reported on 4 October. The chairman of Fatherland in Bashkortostan, Duma Deputy Rim Bakiev, will head the republican delegation.

Beloretsk Militiamen Thanked For Service In Chechnya
The deputy chief commander of Russian interior troops in Chechnya, General Lieutenant Iskander Galimov, and Chechen Roshni-Chu village administration head Beksultanov addressed a letter of thanks to the administration and the interior board of the Beloretsk Raion, Bashinform reported on 4 October. The officials praised seven interior employees from that raion who served in Chechnya from May to August. Beksultanov expressed his deep thanks for "understanding and sharing the terrible tragedy of the Chechen Republic."

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova