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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 9, 2001

9 October 2001
Foreign Affairs Official Says Air Strikes Inefficient Against Taliban
Timur Akulov, a Foreign Affairs Department chief and Arab-countries specialist, said in an interview with "Vechernaya Kazan" published on 9 October that, "It would be cheaper for the United States to avoid a military solution to the situation with the Taliban. It's easier to bribe field commanders within the Taliban military than to shoot half of the population. It is still possible to create favorable living conditions in Northern Afghanistan so civilians begin an exodus from Taliban territories." He added: "Bombardments of Afghanistan and unavoidable losses among civilians would bring negative results, because they would unite Afghan people around the Taliban, who would get support they never dreamed of." Akulov called it "funny to hear about the bombardment of the Taliban command center in Kandahar, which is only a small air-control tower with very old equipment. It was also unnecessary to bomb Jalalabad, which has become a hideout for civilians fleeing from air strikes."

Republican Party Leader Opposes U.S. Military Involvement In Afghanistan
Former prime minister and the current leader of Tatarstan�s Republican Party, Mukhammat Sabirov, said in a 9 October interview with "Komsomolskaya Pravda" that the "Texas cowboy didn't have enough wisdom" to refrain from U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan, presumably referring to U.S. President George W. Bush. He added: "The United States will demonstrate its muscles, but quite possibly it will have to pay for this war adventure. No matter how precise the weapons are, civilian losses are inevitable, and this will cause a storm of fury among Muslim people, thus beginning a conflict on a global scale."

Federal Authorities Report On Ethnic Hotline
The Kazan delegation of the Russian presidential envoy to the Volga federal district opened a three-day hotline on ethnic and migration policies in Tatarstan, Efir-Inform reported on 8 October. According to delegation officials, most complaints received from Kazan residents have concerned "the abundance of Tatar language lessons in primary schools, because some of the parents considered four Tatar lessons per week too much for their children." No calls were reportedly received on ethnic conflicts in the republic.

Deputy Prime Minister Urges President To Follow Private Businesses Development
Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov said on 8 October that he would like "to see some sufficient evidence that Tatarstan�s president has taken small and mid-sized businesses under his patronage." Muratov stated that in 2002 Tatarstan�s budget should allocate no less than 100 million rubles [$3.4 million] to boost private businesses.

TPC Calls U.S. Air Strikes 'An Assault On All Moslems'
The leader of the Kazan branch of the moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center, Rashit Yagafarov, told reporters on 8 October that he considered the current U.S. military actions in Afghanistan "an assault on the Muslim people of that country, which can be interpreted by Muslims in our republic as an assault on them."

Tatarstan To Face 4,6% Budget Deficit In 2002
Tatarstan�s budget revenues in 2002 will total 51.6 billion rubles [$1.75 billion], which is twice the figure of 2001, while expenditures should reach 54.1 billion [$1.84 billion], according to an 8 October government session. Finance Minister Robert Musin said during the meeting that with the republic�s transition to federal taxation Tatarstan would cost it 6.5 billion rubes [$221 million] in income.

Tatarstan Interior Bodies On Antiterrorist Alert
Tatarstan�s Security Council ordered Kazan International Airport to tighten security to guard against possible terrorist acts that might result from U.S.-led attacks in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, 60 pilots of private airline Tulpar are resuming internal flights in Pakistan despite their proximity to the conflict.

Tatarstan To Resume Ramshackle Housing Program
The head of the state's off-budget Fund to Eliminate Ramshackle Housing, Talgat Abdullin, told reporters on 8 October that Tatarstan would spend over 3 billion rubles [$102 million] to build free apartments for residents of older districts.

Tatneft Profits In 2001
Tatneft oil company should earn some 15 billion rubles [$510 million] of profits in 2001, AK&M agency reported on 8 October.

Dominican Republic Interested In Tatarstan-Made Military Equipment
General Manuel Ernesto Polanko, chief of the general headquarters of the Dominican Republic's land forces, expressed interest in the defense production of Kazan Helicopter Plant, KamAZ trucks concern, and the Tuben Kama Tire Plant during a meeting with Tatarstan�s minister of trade and foreign economic cooperation, Khafiz Salikhov.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Eurasia Party Leader Condemns U.S. Air Strikes In Afghanistan...
The Eurasia party's branch leader in Bashkorotstan, Zahir Hakimov, told RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent on 8 October that, in his opinion, "America's activities in Afghanistan will result in the deaths of numerous innocent people in Muslim countries." He added that the recent actions of the U.S. have "put Islam in the status of some terrorist faith, [and] we cannot ignore this."

...While Media, Residents Fear Escalation Of Conflict
So far none of Bashkir's officials have expressed reactions to the start of U.S.-led military actions in Afghanistan. But the republic's media quote street polls showing that ordinary people consider current developments as "the possible start of WWIII."

Bashkir Airlines Pilots Evacuated From Pakistan
Bashkir Airlines recalled the crews of two BR aircraft working in Pakistan after reports of American and British air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan on 6 October. The commander of both crews, Galim Kamaev, said after arriving at Ufa airport that he was grateful to the Bashkortostan government for its actions and added that the pilots of Kazan's Tulpar airlines and another, Ukrainian airline had failed to leave Pakistan before the country declared a ban on any flights over its territory.

Bashkir And Tatar Communities In Chelyabinsk Join Forces To Preserve Native Languages, Traditions
Children of the Bashkir and Tatar communities of Chelyabinsk can receive help in learning their native languages and about their cultures with the help of the local "Babich" Bashkir-Tatar library, uralpressinform reported on 10 October.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi