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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 14, 2000

14 August 2000
Tatarstan To Celebrate Anniversaries Of Islam And Christianity
A committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ilgiz Khairullin was appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers to prepare for the celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Christianity and the 1400th anniversary of Islam in Russia, Tatar-inform reported on 11 August. Part of the planned program for the celebrations includes construction in Kazan of the Qol Sherif Mosque, some buildings for the Russian Islamic University and Orthodox Religious Seminary, and reconstruction of Blagoveshcheniye Cathedral. In the autumn, a Russia-wide conference of the Young Muslims of Russia will be held in Chally, problems of religious education are scheduled to be discussed at a conference called "Religion and Forming Pupils Spiritual Culture."

Nationalist Leader Calls For Unity To Preserve Sovereignty
Rafis Kashapov, the chairman of the Chally branch of Tatarstan's nationalist opposition organization, the Tatar Public Center, told Tatar-inform on 11 August that Tatar nationalist organizations should unite with democrats within the republic and then with other republics of the Volga/Ural region to form a force of counteraction that could resist the desire of Russian authorities to violate the sovereignty of Tatarstan and other national republics. Kashapov said that during the last decade the two factions couldn't manage to form a constructive opposition representing a national movement. He said it was to a great extent due to the activities of security services which took control over national organizations, vied them against one another, and made provocative statements in the media. He expressed his concern about the Christianization of the education system in Russia, the war in Chechnya where Muslims are being killed, and reports in the media that portray all Chechens to be terrorists. Kashapov said if this will continue in such a way, Tatarstan will become a guberniya, will lose its president, and its constitution. If we are silent, we'll face baptism, the annihilation of our language, culture, religion, and national traditions. In Kashapov's opinion, in order to resist, the authoritative bodies in Tatarstan should unite with the opposition. He added that Tatarstan alone, however, isn't able to withstand the pressure from Moscow, and that's why the most efficient strategy could be the creation of a confederation of peoples of the Volga/Ural region, in which the republics of the region would unite.

Tatarstan, Shleswig-Holstein Parliament Officials Meet
Tatarstan's deputy State Council chairman, Robert Minnullin, met with the vice president of the parliament of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Gabriela Keshtau, to discuss interparliament relations and scientific, cultural, and educational cooperation, the daily "Respublica Tatarstan" reported on 11 August. Minnullin told Keshtau about activity in Tatarstan's parliament, relations between the republic and the Russian Federation, and the situation regarding the reform of federative relations based on constitutions and bilateral treaties of territorial entities and Moscow. Prospects for the development of cooperation between scientists in Tatarstan and Schleswig-Holstein, and between the Geissen and Kazan universities were also discussed.

By Gulnara Khasanova