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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 3, 2000

3 November 2000
Shaimiev, Kirienko On Passport Issue
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told Interfax on 2 November that using the native tongue of the respective republics as the language in new Russian passports is the republic's "position of principle." "We insist that any resident of the republic has the right to read his name and other data in his passport in his mother tongue," Shaimiev said.

The presidential representative to the Volga Federal District, Sergei Kirienko, told Russian ORT TV on 1 November that claims that issuing Russian passports in the Tatar and other native languages doesn't correspond to Russian legislation. Kirienko said he doesn't exclude that Russian law could be changed so that passports could be written in local languages. Kirienko noted, however, that one-third of the republic's 87 legislative acts that don't conform to federal laws has been modified so they are no longer in conflict with Russian legislation.

Opposition Parties To Observe Presidential Elections
The roundtable which unites Tatarstan's opposition parties and movements, is holding seminars to prepare observers for the republic's next presidential elections, Tatar-inform reported. The roundtable spokeswoman, Zukhra Aisina, told the news agency that observers will be sent to all polling stations. She said the roundtable will try to provide "pure" elections but does not intend to support any candidate. Aisina added that the last time, Tatarstan's branches of the Pensioners Party and the Liberal Democratic Party joined the roundtable.

Environmental Referendum Backed In Tatarstan
Tatarstan's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) confirmed that over 22,000 signatures collected in the republic in favor of a Russian-wide referendum initiated by environmentalists are valid, Tatar-inform reported on 2 November. The referendum is to ask about citizens' feelings about the import of radioactive materials into Russia for processing or storage; their opinion on the creation of a federal but independent state body for the protection of the environment; and on the creation of an independent state timber service. Signatures backing the referendum were collected over three months in 62 Russian territorial entities including Tatarstan. The republican CEC sent its decision and signatures to the Russian CEC.

By Gulnara Khasanova