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Tatar-Bashkir Report: December 18, 2000

18 December 2000
Passport Issue Resolved
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev met with Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov, speakers of the both parliaments, the Russian Presidential administration deputy head Dmitri Kozak, presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko and his deputies, Vladimir Zorin and Aleksandr Yevstifeyev, in Ufa on 15 December to discuss passport and other legal issues. The two sides agreed to modify Russian Federation passports to be used by Tatars and Bashkirs. Citizens of each will now have an additional page in the Tatar or Bashkir language in which republic emblems will be pictured and local information reflected.

Shaimiev Pessimistic About Rapid Reconcilation of Republic, Federal Laws
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said that it will be impossible to bring regional legislation into line with federal laws quickly, ITAR- TASS reported on 15 December. In Shaimiev's words, it will be especially difficult for Tatarstand and Bashkortostan to do so given their special status within the Russian Federation.

Mukhametshin Happy With Tatar, Bashkir Parliaments Cooperation
Tatarstan State Council chairman Farid Mukhametshin on 15 December said he was pleased by the strengthening of ties between the parliaments of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported. He made his comments during an interparliamentary protocol signing cermony in Ufa. He gave particular thanks to the efforts made by Bashkortostan speaker Konstantin Tolkachev to develop relations between the parliaments. And he invited Bashkortostan parliamentary delegation to visit Tatarstan.

Tatarstan Deputies Protest Duma Resolution on Alphabet
Tatarstan's deputies in the Russian Federation Duma, Fandas Safiullin and Nail Khusnutdinov, held a press conference in Moscow on 15 December to complain about a Duma protocol assignment concerning the introduction of the Latin Tatar alphabet in Tatarstan. They suggested that this resolution represented an effort to cause a problem that doesn't exist. Switching to the Latin script is not an act of secession, they said, noting that even Ivan the Terrible who conquered the Kazan Khanate respected the Tatar script. Stalin was the first to introduce a Cyrillic based script in 1939. Safiullin said that currently "ambitious mini-Stalins reanimate this reactionary event and try to prevent us from writing words as we want." And Khusnutdinov added that "the situation isn't as complex as Russian journalists describe it."

By Gulnara Khasanova

Russian Passports To Be Issued In Bashkortostan And Tatarstan
Meeting in Ufa on 15 December, the presidents of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, Murtaza Rakhimov and Mintimer Shaimiev, and the Russian presidential Volga Federal District representative, Sergei Kirienko decided to renew introduction of Russian Federation passports to residents of these two republics, ITAR-TASS reported. Such passports had not been issued since 1997 because of conflicts between republic leaders and the federal authorities. The new passports will be supplied with additional page filled in national languages. Kirienko said that this practice will be extended to other republics within the Federation. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an assignment to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo on 13 December to change the 1997 governmental resolution which confirmed the format of the Russian passport. Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov called settling the problem of passports issuing to be "decisive in the strengthening federal relations."

Bashkortostan, Tatarstan Parliaments Sign Joint Statement
Bashkortostan's parliament ratified a protocol on further development of interparliamentary relations with the Tatarstan State Council, RBC reported on 15 December. This is the second joint document in the history of the two republics; the first was signed in 1997. The protocol says that joint sessions of the two republics parliaments representatives will be annually held. And it calls for regular exchange of legislative acts and documents, consultations and negotiations, and the creation of joint working and expert groups for developing common draft federal laws are provided by the document.

Bashkortostan's Jews Need Bigger Synagogue
The chairman of Bashkortostans Jewish national-cultural center Kohav, Semen Spivak, said on 15 December that the main achievement of the Jewish community in the republic has been the opening of a synagogue three months ago, Bashinform reported. The center also includes a charity canteen, a youth center, and a library. But Sivak said that the current premises are too small and said that his community hopes to open a larger one in the future. He also said that a teacher from Israel will probably be invited to work with children.

By Gulnara Khasanova