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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 11, 1999

11 October 1999
Shaimiev On Chechnya, Russian-Belarusian Union
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said on 9 October that terrorists should be "found and exterminated" wherever they are, but this doesn't mean that we could change our attitude toward all Chechen people. Shaimiev made his comments in an interview with the daily "Moscow Times" and Tatarstan TV and Radio. Shaimiev said he strongly objected--from the very beginning--to the military interference in Chechnya. He said that before bringing troops into Chechnya it was necessary to negotiate with [Chechen President Aslan] Maskhadov so as to diminish the suffering of civilians to the maximum extent possible. Shaimiev said "in any case, military actions on the territory of Chechnya should be confined to a liquidation of terrorists bases, and first of all, to the capture of executors of terrorist bombings." Shaimiev said that it is very dangerous to play the national [ethnic] card and set different religious followers against each other in a multiethnic state like Russia. Shaimiev said "I'm sure that most of the Chechen people want a peaceful life, and they are nice to Russians residing Chechnya."

Commenting on the Russian-Belarusian union, Shaimiev said that the two sides positions appear to be "slightly pregnant. Such a thing never happens." He said they must either decide on a union or scrap the idea. Shaimiev also said he regrets that the possibilities of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have been never realized. He said the main problem with the progress of the CIS was political. He continued that if the CIS had been developed on a process of equal economic integration, many of the current problems could be avoided.

Shaimiev also commented on the situation regarding the Yoldiz Islamic school in Chally. The school was recently accused by some Russian media of training terrorists and sending them to Chechnya. Shaimiev said that the republican leaders have taken measures for deporting representatives of Arab countries which taught fundamentalist ideas in the Chally school. However, he said the people made their way back to Tatarstan anyways. Shaimiev said "we haven't given them permission to enter Tatarstan," but imperfections within Russian legislation allowed them to return to Tatarstan. Shaimiev added that resolute measures--including deportation--will be taken against those teaching the ideas of extremist Islam.

Tatarstan Opens Trade Office In Cuba
Tatarstan has established a trade representative in Cuba, Tatar Radio and Television reported on 8 October. The deputy director of the presidential External Connections Department, Dinar Ismagilov, said in an interview with Tatar Television that the office would probe Kazan's trade prospects in Cuba and help develope foreign trade and relations with Havana. The Cuban office is the republic's fifth trade representations abroad--after the missions in Australia, Italy, Cyprus, and Ukraine. Tatarstan also has five plenipotentiary representations (in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, France, and Australia) and seven permanent representations (in St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast and Yekaterinburg, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, the United States, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova