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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 29, 1999

29 April 1999
President's Advisor: Stepashin To View Tatarstan As An Ally
Rafail Khakimov, the state advisor to Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev, said Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin will not attempt to downgrade the status of Russia's ethnic republics. Khakimov made his comments in an interview with Tatar-inform on 28 April after Stepashin's appointment as first deputy prime minister in charge of nationalities' policy, particularly the north Caucasus as well as on relations between Russia's regions and CIS countries. In Khakimov's opinion, Stepashin will see Tatarstan as an ally, not an adversary. Khakimov said Stepashin, who used to work in the North Caucasus and is well acquainted with the situation there, is well suited to pursue a reasonable and balanced policy in the region. Khakimov said that there will not be order in Russia until the Chechen problem is solved. Khakimov said that Stepahsin will not suggest a solution involving the use of force in Chechnya because he "went through Chechnya" and would never use methods that haven't worked.

Tatar Parliament Holds Session
Tatarstan's permanent parliament held a session on 28 April, Tatar radio reported. A package of draft laws was included in the agenda of the next plenary session of the State Council -- to be held on 26 May -- among them draft laws on charitable activities, on the Kama Alany off-shore zone, on freedom of conscience, and religious associations. The deputies passed laws on Tatarstan's international treaties, on administrative responsibility for infringements in production and trade of alcohol, on state support for young families in gaining housing, on a water code, ecological matters, on the Alabuga off-shore zone, and on a referendum to be held in the Republic of Tatarstan.

UNESCO Conference Held In Kazan
A scientific conference called "Russia on the Border of Centuries: From Confrontation to a Culture of Peace" was held in Kazan on 26-28 April under the aegis of UNESCO, Tatar radio and television reported. The program the Culture of Peace that UNESCO has developed is aimed at preventing ethnic and religious conflicts. A national Russian project within the framework of the Culture of Peace program was considered at the conference. Valerii Sakharov, the national coordinator of the Russian project, said in an interview with Tatar radio that Tatarstan can be an effective and objective model for Russia's Culture of Peace project. He said UNESCO, as well as Russia, promote solutions used in Tatarstan in avoiding ethnic and religious strife.

Otechestvo Interested In Chistai Watches
More than 1,000 watches were bought from the Chistai watch plant in Vostok for delegates to the second Otechestvo congress held in Yaroslavl, Tatar-inform reported. Otechestvo leader and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov met on 28 April with the general director of the Chistai plant, Vladislav Tsivilin, and the prospect of setting up an association of Russian watchmakers was discussed. The Vostok factory currently cooperates with the First Moscow watch factory.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova