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Tatar-Bashkir Report: February 16, 1999

16 February 1999
Negotiations Continue On Tatar-Russian Treaty
Tatarstan's Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Vadim Gustov met behind closed doors in Moscow on 15 February to continue negotiations on an extension of the interbudget agreements between Tatarstan and Russia, the republican media reported. The interbudget agreements are the most important of 12 agreements that were concluded in the framework of the 1994 interstate treaty. Extensions on ten of the agreements have been agreed to. The sticking points in the negotiations are on the percentage of tax revenue Tatarstan will pay to the Russian budget and the size of Moscow's defense industry order for enterprises in Tatarstan. Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farid Mukhametshin, said in an interview with an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 15 February that the agreement may be signed by the end of the month by Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev and Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

Officials On Importance Of Power-Sharing Treaty
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said in an interview with the BBC in Kazan that the power-sharing treaty signed by Tatarstan and Russia in 1994 has helped promote the republic's economic development. Shaimiev said that under the treaty, Tatarstan has reached a high rate of development in the agrarian-industrial sector and in infrastructure (construction of roads and homes, installation of gas lines and telephones). The state adviser to the president, Rafail Khakimov, said that the treaty had given Tatarstan a lot of power though not as much as it wants. Khakimov said Tatar authorities would like a portion of the custom fees to remain in Kazan instead of them all being sent to Moscow. Fandas Safiullin, a leader of Tatarstan's nationalist opposition movement and the head of the State Council's Idel-Yort (Volga Is Our Home) faction, told the BBC that because of the treaty, Tatarstan has failed to create its own education system. Safiullin said the Tatar people are being deprived of the possibility of studying in the Tatar language at the university level and of having its own modern mass media.

Tatar Official: Treaty Helped Russia Move To Democracy
Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farid Mukhametshin, said on 15 February that the 1994 interstate treaty between Kazan and Moscow forced Russia to abandon any idea of a totalitarian state and to start building a democratic federation. Mukhametshin held a press conference in Moscow to mark the fifth anniversary of the treaty. He said the powers Tatarstan received under the treaty were used effectively to raise people's standard of living and to develop the republic's economy.

Afghan War Veterans Mark 10th Anniversary Of Withdrawal
Veterans of the Afghan war met in Kazan on 15 February to mark the 10th anniversary of the end of Soviet participation in it, Tatar radio and television reported. The problems facing war veterans were discussed at the meeting, including unemployment, homelessness, and proper health care. Some 10,000 soldiers and officers from Tatarstan were sent to Afghanistan, and 279 of them died.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova