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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 4, 2000

4 May 2000
Opposition Deputy Comments On The Current Situation In Tatarstan
In an interview with RFE/RL's correspondent in Kazan on 3 May Tatarstan's State Council deputy Alexander Shtanin commented on current situation in the republic. Shtanin is reportedly the only deputy representing the opposition in the republican parliament elected in December 1999. He is a member of Tatarstan's RIZ (Equality and Legality) party, which is affiliated with the Democratic Choice of Russia party.

Shtanin told RFE/RL that Tatarstan's previous parliament was deprived of any opposition and served the executive branch. In his words, this state of affairs resulted from Tatarstan's internal domestic debt of 10 billion rubles, while its annual budget is about 19 billion rubles. Shtanin said that opposition was necessary in the republican parliament and that Tatarstan's future development was impossible without it. He added that currently the continued existence of the republic is "viable only owing to its intellectual potential and oil drilling."

The deputy said he disagreed with the strategy of radical Tatar nationalists, saying that they first need to gain sovereignty and then deal with local nomenclature. In his words, the viewpoints of Tatar nationalists and Russian democrats are now closer than they were several years ago. Shtanin said he would only "acknowledge sovereignty when it is enjoyed not only by local elite but by regular citizens. This means that all democratic rights of every citizen must be maintained."

Shtanin also said that he does not support the idea of drastic changes in Tatarstan's government but not there are already some healthy trends toward gradually reforming the current style of government. Alexander Shtanin commented that President Mintimer Shaimiev is doing the right thing in seeking to bring republican laws into line with Russian legislation.

Bashkortostan To Join 'Enemies Of The Press' List
Russian News Bureau [] quotes the general secretary of the Russian Journalists Union Igor Yakovenko as saying on 3 May that a list of "enemies of the Russian press" is being drawn up. The list, which includes politicians, state officials and parliamentary deputies, will reportedly be published in 2001. According to RBN the list will include a number of Russian regional governments such as the Bashkortostan Republic and Saratov Oblast. Igor Yakovenko noted in his statement that there are more than enough candidates for the list because 89 different political regimes have been established in Russia.

Bashkortostan Issues A Protectionist Decree
Bashinform reported on 3 May that Bashkortostan's Cabinet of Ministers has issued a decree requiring local municipal services to prefer domestic producers when purchasing goods and services. Purchases outside the borders of Bashkortostan Republic can be made only when there is a deficit of some certain goods on the local market or when local prices exceed those outside the republic.

Victory Day Ceremonies Begin In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev met with the Heroes of Soviet Union and holders of the Glory Order from Tatarstan on 3 May. Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest award for military servicemen in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Shaimiev congratulated the veterans on the occasion of the Victory Day anniversary on 9 May.

Also on 3 May, chairman of Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board
Gusman khazrat Iskhak held a reception for Muslim priests, actors and artists who fought in the Great Patriotic War. Gusman khazrat will reportedly send congratulations on Victory Day to 266 imams of Muslim parishes in Tatarstan who fought during the war.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi