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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 6, 2001

6 November 2001
Parliamentary Speaker Hails Tatarstan Constitution's Anniversary...
State Council Chairman Farit Mukhametshin led the government's observance of nine years since the Republic of Tatarstan adopted its first constitution on 6 November 1992, RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported. He called the constitution adopted by Tatar legislators among "the most politically and legally important documents, reflecting the needs of a new era in Russia's and Tatarstan's history [and] expressing the will of the multi-ethnic people living in the republic."

Mukhametshin emphasized that the constitution "had a very special feature, because it was adopted without any pressure from above and united people of different ethnic groups, political viewpoints, and faiths." In his words, in nearly a decade since its adoption, Tatarstan's constitution has proven viable, managing to steer relations between the republic and Moscow, provide security to citizens, and protect civil and human rights.

Mukhametshin said that during the constitutional reform "dictated by the present political reality," the republic's president and parliament will use as a foundation "the state status of Tatarstan, as it was defined by the referendum and the power-sharing treaty signed by Kazan and Moscow."

...While Intelligentsia Views The Event With Skepticism
A majority of those considered part of the Tatar intelligentsia and interviewed by RFE/RL's Kazan correspondents on the eve of 6 November were cautious in welcoming the anniversary of the republic's constitution. They said, for instance, that they "would gladly celebrate the anniversary of the constitution if not for the current legal harmonization procedures initiated by Moscow." Many said they thought that "after Tatarstan's constitution is brought into conformity with Russian law, it will lose its political significance."

Individual Claims That Tatar Lessons Are Taught Illegally
A Vakhitov district court in Kazan is preparing to consider a suit by one of the city's residents claiming the Tatar language is illegally taught in Tatarstan's schools, RFE/RL's Kazan Bureau reported on 5 November. The plaintiff wants children to be given the choice of whether to study Tatar, while currently all are required to study Tatar language and literature to the same extent as Russian language. information service has suggested that Tatar was being forcibly taught in schools and quoted unnamed legal experts predicting that the Tatarstan Education Ministry would lose the suit.

Russia To Provide Real Estate Loans To Refugees In TR
The Tatarstan branch of Russian ethnic and migration policy ministry began distributing 10-year, interest-free, property loans to refugee families living in the republic. A ministry representative in Tatarstan, Nikolai Vladimirov, on 5 November said the Russian budget has earmarked 4 million rubles ($136,000) for such loans in 2001.

KamAZ Reports High Sales In October
KamAZ automotive concern posted sales of 1.72 billion rubles ($51 million) in trucks and small vehicles in October, the highest monthly sales figures in the last five years, KamAZ press service reported on 5 November. So far in 2001, the concern has produced more than 14 billion rubles ($476 million) worth of goods.

Minnikhanov Wins Desert Rally
Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov won the "Desert Challenge 2001" rally in United Arab Emirates, "Vechernaya Kazan" wrote on 3 November. His victory, as part of the KamAZ racing team, was helped by the fact that traditional rivals from Czech Tatra didn't take part in the rally, while German racers suffered a major technical failure during the race.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Visits Tuymazi...
President Murtaza Rakhimov visited Tuymazi, Bashkortostan on 3 November to meet local officials and join the opening ceremonies of an art school for children, a branch of Bashkreditbank, a new gas station new Nurkay village, a number of industrial enterprises and collective farms, the presidential press service reported. Leaving Tuymazi, Rakhimov praised the city by saying that "much has been done by its residents, especially in the social sphere."

...After A Visit By Taiwanese President's Adviser
Li Tsai Fan, an adviser to Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, also visited Tuymazi on 2-3 November to get acquainted with local industry and study opportunities for bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and Bashkortostan.

Agricultural Products Exchange To Be Set Up
Bashkortostan's agricultural producers agreed to create an agricultural commodities exchange for the centralized distribution of their goods, a move that could positively affect the development of agricultural prices.

Three Of Four 'Kursk' Crew Members From BR Buried At Home
The body of Salavat Yanasapov, a "Kursk" crew member from Ishimbay, Bashkortostan has been returned home and buried, AROMI news agency reported on 5 November. A Local school reportedly opened a small museum dedicated to the sailor's memory. Earlier this year, the bodies of Bashkortostan crew members Robert Gessler and Fanis Ishmuratov were recovered, while the body of Nail Khafizov is still missing.

Bashkir Researchers Return From Abkhazia Due To Presence Of Militants
Bashkortostan's State Committee on Sport and Tourism on 5 November confirmed that a group of 21 speleologists, or cavers, from Bashkortostan who were researching mountain caves in Abkhazia safely reached Sochi in Crimea after receiving reports on the presence of Chechen militants in the Abkhaz highlands.

Bashkir Farmers Concentrate On Horse-Breeding
Horse-breeding has become a major field of activity for Bashkortostan's farmers, Bashinform reported on 5 November.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi