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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 30, 2001

30 November 2001
Another Challenge To Tatarstan Constitution Before Russian Court
"Vek," No. 46, reported that several Duma deputies are challenging paragraph 108 of the Tatarstan Constitution, which requires the republic's president to speak both official languages, Tatar and Russian. They have appealed to the Russian Constitutional Court. The weekly cited Elvira Ishmaeva, the head of parliament's legislation department, as saying many rural residents in Tatarstan do not speak Russian so would be unable to communicate with a president if he spoke only Russian.

Meanwhile, the Russian Constitutional Court is due to hear another case in the coming days against paragraph 70 of the Tatarstan Constitution, which includes the requirement that candidates for elected office live in the area where they are running.

Duma Deputy Calls For Suspension Of Tatarstan Constitution To Save It...
Duma Deputy Fandas Safiullin told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service on 27 November that harmonization of Tatarstan's and Russia's constitutions is being conducted in an uncivilized way, with Moscow guilty of pressure and attacks in court. Safiullin said such a strategy aims to "drive the republics into one barn" and thus form a unitary state.

Safiullin said the Tatarstan Constitution should not be brought into line with the Russian one under such pressure. Its functioning should be suspended until Russia becomes a democratic, federative state, and begins observing its own constitution, he added. Tatarstan should directly follow decrees by President Putin for a certain period, Safiullin said. "We will be unable to adopt such a suitable constitution once again," he said, adding that "harmonization" or "amending" the constitution spells its downfall.

...And Says Statements In Russian Newspaper Hint At Anti-Tatar Campaign
Safiullin said an article titled "The Second Capture of Kazan" in "Zavtra" on 20 November effectively presented a direct call for an anti-Tatar pogrom addressed to Russians, especially those who live outside Tatarstan and do not know much about Tatarstan and Tatars. He said the publication demonstrated the way some forces in Russia want to annihilate Tatars.

The newspaper claimed that Tatars destroyed a monument to Ivan the Terrible in Kazan. Safiullin said most Russian citizens are unaware that an Ivan the Terrible monument has never existed in Kazan. He suggested the article could signal an officially sanctioned anti-Tatar action and an effort to turn public opinion against Tatars. He said after people read such an article about Tatars and Tatarstan, they will laud any anti-Tatar decision by authorities.

Tatars To Be Divided Into Six Groups In 2002 Census
The Duma on 29 November passed in its first reading a draft law on the 2002 Russia-wide census, Tatar-inform reported. Deputy Fandas Safiullin told the agency that the draft is accompanied in its appendix by a list of nationalities people will be allowed to choose during the 2002 census. Safiullin said that Tatars, unlike in previous years, have been divided into six groups, including: Kazan Tatars, Siberian Tatars, Mishers, Christian Tatars, and others.

Tatar Youth Leaders Forum Supports Latin-Tatar Script
Leaders of Tatar youth organizations from Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, St. Petersburg, and other Russian regions gathered in Kazan for a two-day seminar to discuss the development of Tatar culture, traditions, language, and education, Tatar-inform reported on 28 November. Forum participants stated their support for a switch to the Latin-Tatar script. They also appealed to Tatarstan's president to establish a Tatar National University and called on Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences to develop a program to support young scientists.

Map Of Religious Buildings Published
A map of the religious buildings and institutions of Tatarstan has recently been published, Tatar-inform reported on 29 November. The publication includes mosques, churches, synagogues, religious educational institutions, and religious administrative buildings, was prepared with the participation of the Kazan Eparchy Board and the republican Muslims Religious Board.

TNV Wins Television Broadcast Tender In Tatarstan
Tatarstan�New Century Television (TNV) has won a tender for transmissions in Tatarstan, beating out Moscow's NTV and TB-3, Tatar-inform reported on 29 November. TNV will broadcast in Tatar, and its transmissions will be receivable in the European part of Russia and Western Siberia, the agency said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russian Journalists Union Leader Takes Part In Bashkortostan Journalists Congress
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 29 November met with the secretary of the Russian Journalists Union, Anatolii Bogomolov, to discuss the development of federal and regional mass media and the activities of the Journalists Unions of Russia and Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported. Bogomolov arrived in Ufa to take part in the 15th congress of Bashkortostan's Journalists Union, which opens on 30 November. Some 130 delegates will represent 906 republican unions members at the forum.

Bashkortostan Has Tenth-Highest HIV-Infection Rate In Volga District
There are 58 HIV-infected people per 100,000 inhabitants of Bashkortostan, the 10th-highest rate in the Volga federal district. The Samara Oblast is the worst-affected, with 335 infections per 100,000 people, and Tatarstan is eighth with 87 per 100,000, reported on 29 November. Roughly 800,000 republican residents undergo AIDS tests every year.

In total, 2,852 HIV carriers have been registered in Bashkortostan since 1987, 83 percent of them in the current year. Some 20 percent of those infected are prisoners. Forty-three carriers have died, 30 of them this year.

Chuvash Delegation Joins Celebration Of 'Chuvash People's Poet' In Bashkortostan
The Chuvash Republic's deputy culture and nationalities affairs minister, Mikhail Krasnov, is visiting Ufa to take part in a celebration devoted to the 90th anniversary of "Chuvash People's Poet" Yakov Ukhsai, who was born in Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported. Some 118,500 ethnic Chuvash reside in the republic, establishing it as one of the biggest diasporas in Bashkortostan, and 13,000 live in Ufa.

The republic-wide newspaper "Ural sassi" and two raion newspapers are published in the Chuvash language. The Chuvash Drama Theater in the village of Bizhbulyak and a Chuvash ensemble in the Sterletamaq Philharmonic Society opened in 1999-2000.

Street In Buzdyak Raion Named For Chechen War Victim
The Buzdyak Raion Council named a street in the raion center after Ilshat Gallyamov, a local law-enforcement official who died in Chechnya in August, Bashinform reported.

Bashkir Nuclear Station Blueprints Due In 2002
Technical preparations for the construction of the Bashkir Nuclear Power Station in Agidel are due to be designed in 2002, reported on 29 November, citing government fuel and energy commission officials. Deputy Prime Minister Midkhat Shakirov is inspecting the plot and will nominate organizations to work on developing the documents.

Russia-Wide Meeting Of Interior Officials Held In Ufa
The heads of regional training centers from the Russian Interior Ministry are taking part in a two-day meeting in Ufa to discuss training, Bashinform reported on 28 November.

Russian Interior Minister Praises Bashkortostan President
Interior Affairs Minister Boris Gryzlov honored Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov with an award "For Promoting the Russian Interior Ministry," Bashinform reported on 29 November.

Bashkortostan Delegation Joins Russian Independent Trade Unions Congress
Twenty-eight delegates from Bashkortostan are taking part in the fourth congress of the Russia's Independent Trade Unions Federation, Bashinform reported on 28 November. Bashkortostan trade union leaders are against the introduction of a united social tax, are calling for the harmonization of member-organizations' charters with that of the country-wide federation, and are pushing to combat divisions within trade unions.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova