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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 7, 2000

7 November 2000
Constitution Day Celebrated In Republic
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev addressed the people of Tatarstan on 6 November on the republic's Constitution Day, a republican holiday. In his message, Shaimiev stated the importance of the Tatar Constitution "which laid the basis of state sovereignty and legal principles of relations between Tatarstan and the Russian Federation." The president's statement also said that the constitution "maintained peaceful coexistence between different confessions and nationalities...and opened the way to further market reforms." Celebrations were held in Tatarstan's capital and regions to marking the eighth anniversary of the establishment of the republic's fundamental law, adopted one year before the Russian Constitution.

Republican media prepared special reports, commenting on the current situation involving the republic's constitution, which must be brought in accordance with Russian laws. Tatarstan's parliamentary deputies and people interviewed on the streets told TV and radio of the pros and cons of the Tatar Constitution. While some of those interviewed spoke of "preserving the power-sharing principles of relations between Kazan and Moscow," others spoke for a "united and indivisible Russia."

Tatarstan prosecutor Kafil Amirov said on 4 November that the "Tatar Constitution will be changed to suit Russian laws anyway," while State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin told Tatar State Radio that "there must be no rush in altering the provisions of our constitution." Russian Duma deputy and member of the Union of Right Forces Vyacheslav Igrunov told RFE/RL in Kazan on 6 November that: "Tatarstan's Constitution pushed the other regions [of Russia] towards obtaining more powers, and this was just what the Russian state system lacked." In his words, "some of Tatarstan's achievements can be used as an example for all of Russia, but our organization also notes violations during elections in the republic. I would say that President Shaimiev fails to 'go with the times' on some issues and I would advise him to add more young professionals to his staff if he decides to run for his third presidency."

Accord and Reconciliation Day Marked In Tatarstan
The Communist Party of Tatarstan held a holiday gathering in Kazan on 7 November devoted to the 83rd anniversary since the October Revolution. Tatarstan's branch of the Russian Communist Party said it hoped that some 5,000 people would attend the rally. Usually some 1,000-1,500 mainly elderly people participate in such meetings. After a meeting at the entrance to Gorky Park, the demonstration will proceed to Liberty Square for a laying of the flowers at a monument to Vladimir Lenin. Demonstrators held red flags and placards urging the dissolution of Tatarstan's State Council. According to previous statements by Communist Party leaders, they are unhappy with the results of parliamentary elections in December 1999, claiming they were fraudulent. As in other republics and regions of the Russian Federation, 7 November is a holiday in Tatarstan.

Kazan Building To Be Registered By UNESCO
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov will attend a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Australia on 27 November, Tatarinform agency reported. Iskhakov told reporters that the committee agreed to include the Kazan Kremlin on the World Heritage list of.

By Iskender Nurmi