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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 18, 2000

18 April 2000
Government Discusses Diamond Extraction
A program to stimulate development of Tatarstan's export-oriented production was on the agenda of the Cabinet of Ministers meeting on 17 April, Tatar Television reported. The program is aimed at stimulating the development of competitive production, attracting investments, supporting the defense industry, and introducing international standards of quality was approved by the participants. It was noted at the meeting that the adoption of a law on state support for export-oriented production is necessary for the program's survival.

The topic of funding Tatarstan's participation in diamond extraction in Arkhangelsk Oblast was also discussed at the meeting. Tatarstan has been developing several diamonds deposits for a year according to an agreement signed with the Arkhangelsk governor signed in 1999. The republic has already allocated 50 million rubles to the project, which is experiencing troubles due to a lack of finances.

Change Of Tatar Alphabet To Latin Under Way
Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences recently discussed the law and resolutions concerning the switching in Tatarstan from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet, Tatar Radio reported on 17 April. A joint commission created at the session was charged with developing spelling rules for the new alphabet by 1 May.

Opposition Organization Hopes To Rename Tatarstan
Russia's Supreme Court will hear a case on 20 April about the name of the Republic of Tatarstan which was initiated by the leader of the opposition Bulgar National Congress, Gusman Khalilov, Tatar-inform reported on 17 April. Khalilov insists that decree by the founder of the Soviet state, Vladimir Lenin, on the creation of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, be abrogated. He argues that the name doesn't reflect the Bulgar roots of the Tatar people. A court in Tatarstan has already denied Khalilov's complaint.

Mosques To Hold Services In Russian
Tatarstan's mufti, Gusman khazrat Iskhakov, agreed to hold some of the services in Kazan's mosques in the Russian language, the daily "Vremya i Dengi" reported on 18 April. The measure was proposed by representatives of Muslim communities made up of Azerbaijanis, Bashkirs, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Tajiks, and Afghans residing in Tatarstan, during a meeting with the Mufti at the Muslim Religious Board. The idea of broadcasting services in Russian on local television was also discussed.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova