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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 17, 2000

17 August 2000
First Prayer At Qol Sherif Mosque To Be Offered On Sovereignty Day
The first call for Muslim prayer will be heard on 30 August at the Qol Sherif Mosque being constructed in the Kazan Kremlin, Tatar-inform reported. Builders are reportedly scheduled to finish the roofing on the biggest cupola of the mosque on that day, which is the 10th anniversary of Tatarstan's declaration of sovereignty. Tatarstan's main mosque, which was destroyed after the conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible, will be the tallest one in Europe.

Safiullin: Sovereignty Did Not Solve A Key Issue
Fandas Safiullin, a Russian State Duma deputy representing Tatarstan, said a main portion of declaring Tatarstan's sovereignty hasn't been done. Safiullin made his comments in regards to the 10th anniversary of the republic's Delcaration of State Sovereignty in an interview with Tatar-inform. Safiullin said the stage of creating a legislative basis for sovereignty was rather successful, including the referendum in March 1992, adopting a republican constitution the same year, and the 1994 power-sharing treaty with the Russian Federation, and the Law on Languages. In his opinion, the stage of creating an economic basis of sovereignty wasn't so successful due to the fact that Tatarstan remained within the united Russian economic and financial space and was restricted in how much it could do on its own. Nevertheless, he continued, some important steps were accomplished in a soft transition to the market economy that was devoid of mass impoverishment. For instance, he said, Tatarstan reached first place within Russia in the installation of gas in villages, urban improvements, and road and bridge construction. Safiullin said that in the spheres of culture, education, and morality, however, the Tatarstan's citizens have nothing to boast of since a broader system of higher education in Tatar was not created and there is no TV channel broadcasting in Tatar more than two hours a day; saying that the "level of professional culture has decreased." He added that "our language hasn't become a state one, it hasn't become, as Russian is, a language of science and professional culture." Safiullin said that the Tatar language remains "a kitchen language and it is doomed to die out." He added that some of the successes in politics and economics are also being eroded. He said he thinks a significant part of the population became disappointed in the ideas of sovereignty.

Kazan May Not Have Energy To Celebrate Anniversary
Tatarstan's electricity suppliers may refuse to provide Kazan's city administration with energy during celebrations on 30 August for the 10th anniversary of Tatarstan declaration of sovereignty because of the city's huge debts, Tatar-inform reported on 16 August. An official from the Energosbyt energy company, Leonid Larin, told the news agency that the Kazan city government has never paid for the energy it has used during celebrations on Sabantuis, the Republic Days, and other holidays, and that's why Tatarstan's electricity monopoly Tatenergo has demanded that payment be made in advance this time. A performance of a scheduled laser show, "Lights of Night City," scheduled to mark the 995th anniversary of Kazan on 30 August, is still in doubt.

Interior Minister Reward With Pistol
An engraved Makarov pistol was given to Tatar Interior Minister Asgat Safarov at a session of the Russian Interior Ministry Board in Moscow, Tatar Radio reported on 15 August. As stated in an order signed by Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, Safarov was rewarded for successes in his activities.

By Gulnara Khasanova