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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 15, 1999

15 February 1999
Shaimiev: Russia On Verge Of Becoming A 'True' Federation
Mintimer Shaimiev, the president of Tatarstan, said in an article published by "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" on 13 February that "the Russian Federation was never a true federation, despite its name. Now it is on the verge of forming new relations [among its republics] based upon free will and democracy which acknowledges the rights of all people living on its territory." Shaimiev's article was devoted to the fifth anniversary of the bilateral treaty delineating powers between Tatarstan and the Russian Federation, which will be marked on 15 February. The article also said that the "treaty between Tatarstan and the federal center emerged at a time when there was the risk of a backlash to democratic gains and a possible return to the unitary state. In fact, it helped prevent a return to the empire, and federalism started to become more real and democratic."

State Council Praises Status Within Russia, Calls For Reformed Upper House In Moscow
In a 13 February statement issued on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the bilateral treaty between Tatarstan and Russia, Tatarstan's State Council praised the importance in strengthening relations between Moscow and Kazan and said it was a major factor in the development of the republic's statehood. The Council also said it was reasonable to consider establishing a House of Nationalities within the State Assembly in Moscow.

Shaimiev Leaves Hospital
President Shaimiev left the republican diagnostic center in Kazan on 13 February. He spent several days there being treated for high blood pressure and is reportedly in good health. Shaimiev will leave on 15 February for the Borovoye Matushino recreation area near Kazan for a vacation.

Tatar Government Sends Condolences, Money To Samara
On 13 February, President Shaimiev, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov, State Council chairman Farit Mukhametshin, and Minister of Internal Affairs Asgat Safarov sent a condolence letter to Samara Governor Konstantin Titov on the death of more than 30 officers in a fire at a regional militia department. The Cabinet of Ministers and Internal Affairs Ministry sent 100,000 rubles and 50,000 rubles, respectively, to the families of the deceased officers.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi