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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 18, 2000

18 May 2000
Tatarstan Officials Attend Federation Council Session
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, and State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin participated in a session of the Federation Council in Moscow on 17 May, Tatar-inform reported. Later the same day, Shaimiev and other members of the Federation Council's Committee for State Building Strategy met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Indian Ambassador Visits Kazan
A delegation headed by the Ambassador of India to Russia, Satiner Kumar Lamba, is on a visit to Tatarstan, the daily "Vremya i Dengi" reported on 17 May. Lamba is scheduled to negotiate with Tatarstan's heads on the development of economic and cultural cooperation between India and Tatarstan. Tatarstan's Trade and Industry Chamber will hold a business conference, while a scientific seminar at Kazan State University will be devoted to Russian-Indian relations. A center for developing cultural relations between Tatarstan and India will be opened within the framework of the visit.

Mufti Says Wahhabization Issue Not Urgent In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's mufti, Gusman khazrat Iskhakov, spoke at the "Islam and Political Stability: the Experience of 14 Eras of Russian History" conference held by the Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizational Affairs of the Russian State Duma, Tatar-inform reported on 17 May. Iskhakov's report was devoted to the historical aspect of Islamic development and its current state in Tatarstan. Iskhakov emphasized that Islam spread in Russia in a peaceful way and was used from the vey beginning for creative purposes. He said the media lately has been discussing at length the issue of Wahhabization of the Muslim community in Tatarstan, and he pointed out that this problem is not the most urgent. He said the level of personnel training, Muslim educational institutions, and the Muslim media worry him more.

Finland To Participate In Liquor Plant Construction
A contract on the construction of a liquor plant in Bua, Tatarstan's district center, was signed during a Finnish business forum held in Kazan on 16-17 May, Tatar Television reported. The plant, which is not going to produce any waste, will be equipped with Finnish technology. The project's expected value is $10 million. Tatarstan's first deputy prime minister, Ravil Muratov, said the project is very interesting and has no precedent in Russia.

Tatarstan exports petrochemical products to Finland, as well as chemistry, oil, and import equipment for the communications industry. Exports from Tatarstan exceeded 23 times the volume of import.

Opposition Demands To Abolish Presidency In Tatarstan
The opposition Round Table Charter (RTC) addressed a statement on 17 May to authorities at all levels, starting with Tatar President Shaimiev and including the Council of Europe, calling on them to resolve the institution of the presidency in Tatarstan, Tatar Television reported. Some 15 small opposition groups, including communists, nationalists, and democrats united on the RTC held their meeting in the Museum of Vladimir Lenin in Kazan where they made accusations of falsificatin in Tatarstan of the results of the State Duma, the State Council, and Russian presidential elections and insisted on their abrogation. Nevertheless, the opposition movements expressed their support for Vladimir Putin and reported they are going to appeal actively to the new Russian president.

Earlier this year, the Round Table appealed to Putin asking him to appoint a plenipotentiary representative of the Russian president to Tatarstan.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova