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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 8, 1999

8 June 1999
Shaimiev Calls For Referendum On Lenin's Burial
In an interview with "Kommersant-Daily," the president of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, commented that if the majority of the Russian people oppose the idea of removing Lenin from the mausoleum [on Moscow's Red Square] and burying him, then why we should make such a decision?" Shaimiev said "I'm sure that it still isn't the [right] moment to take such decisions." He pointed to the practice among developed countries of organizing referendums and conducting public opinion polls to decide similar problems.

International Conference in Kazan Discusses European Convention on Human Rights in Russia
Experts from the Council of Europe, politicians and lawyers from Tatarstan, and Russia's First Deputy Minister of Federal Relations and Nationalities Aleksandr Voronin attended an international conference on 7-8 June in Kazan called "Federalism and the European Convention on Human Rights." Voronin said in an interview with Tatar Radio that Tatarstan is leading the way to the development of federalism in the Russian Federation. He said that to a considerable extent, it was Russia's fault that tension existed between Russia and Tatarstan several years ago. But, he noted, there have been no mutual recriminations for the past couple of years, which, he said, is a good sign. The Council of Europe experts noted that of Russia's territorial entities, Tatarstan has made the most progress toward the creation of institutions dealing with human rights. Kazan residents can appeal to the European Court through Council of Europe information and documentation centers at the State Council and Kazan State University.

New Electoral Bloc Created
An initiative group meeting in Kazan on 7 June announced the creation of a social-political movement called "Tatarstan: A New Century," Tatar radio reported. The new electoral bloc unites 16 social-political parties and movements of democratic orientation. The constituent congress of the bloc will be held later this month. State adviser to Tatarstan's president and a member of the bloc's organizing committee, Rafail Khakimov, said in an interview with Tatar radio that the main goal of the bloc is to consolidate centrist forces during the campaign for elections to the State Council of Tatarstan and the Russian State Duma. He said another task is to "influence the policy" of federal parties and movements that have branches in Tatarstan. Khakimov said the bloc unites various social groups, including women's organizations, Afghan war veterans, members of the intelligentsia, and industrial associations.

Iran To Hold Goods Exhibition In Kazan
An Iranian Trade Ministry delegation is preparing for an exhibition of Iranian goods during its upcoming visit to Kazan, Tatar-inform reported on 7 June. Official from Tatarstan's Department of International Relations told a Tatar-inform correspondent that foodstuffs, consumer goods, and automobiles are expected to be on exhibit in Kazan.

Crimean Tatars To Support Rukh's Candidate For Presidency
The Presidium of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars has decided to set up a headquarters for collecting signatures supporting Gennady Udovenko, the candidate for the Ukrainian presidency from the nationalist opposition party Rukh, Tatar-inform reported on 7 June. The Mejlis also said, however, that Crimean Tatars can support any candidate of their choosing even if he/she does not belong to the left wing of the political spectrum.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova