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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 16, 2000

16 February 2000
Humanitarian Aid Delivered To Tatarstan
A humanitarian aid package with $7.7 million worth of vaccines against hepatitis A arrived in Kazan on 15 February. The aid was provided by the American Project Hope foundation and reportedly will inoculate some 90,000 children. Tatarstan's Nizhnekamskneftekhim company and the Tatfond Bank shared the transportation costs on the request of the republic's Health Ministry.

Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov told a press conference at the Kazan airport the same day that a governmental commission was established to assist the Project Hope representatives in monitoring the application of the medicine in hospitals across the republic. Minnikhanov noted that Russian Deputy Premier and Minister of Social Security Valentina Matvienko "demonstrated full understanding of the problem of operative measures in allowing the humanitarian aid." According to republican Health Ministry officials, about 62,000 people were infected with hepatitis in Russia in 1999, exceeding the 1998 total by 20 percent.

Muslim School To Close
Tatarstan's Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Education appealed to the republican Arbitrage Court on 16 February asking it to close the Islamic religious school named after Rizaetdin Fakhretdin in Elmet. The deputy chairman of the Muslim Religious Board in Tatarstan, Valiulla khazrat Yakup, told the press the same day that the school would be closed because it was functioning without a license from Tatarstan's Ministry of Education for the two years since it was established. Valiulla khazrat insisted that the suit brought by the Prosecutor's Office and Education Ministry was not objecting to the school's educational program.

In late January, the heads of Tatarstan's newly-created Security Council noted the necessity of "stepping up governmental control over the education process in religious educational institutions."

Afghan War Veterans Commemorate 11th Anniversary Of Withdrawal
A book of "memories" devoted to the recruits from Tatarstan that died fighting in Afghanistan was presented by the Otechestvo fund in Kazan on 15 February. According to the book, 296 citizens from the republic were killed in combat, 220 died later from their injures and psychological shock. The book was distributed to relatives of the deceased soldiers to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi