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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 7, 2001

7 September 2001
Presidential Advisor Says Tatar History Should Not Be Over- Politicized...
Rafael Khakimov, an advisor to Tatarstan's president and one of the leaders of Tatarstan New Century movement, said on 6 September that the 450th anniversary since the conquest of Kazan by Russian troops, which is to be marked on 15 October 2002 "should be regarded only as a historical fact and that any other interpretations are only good for political protest meetings." In his words, the forces of those times cannot be directly associated with modern Russia or Tatar people. Khakimov referred to state-published Russian history books for schools saying that they "foisted viewpoints which are far from being true."

...Expresses Enthusiasm About Script Reform...
Khakimov said that he believes that the Latin script is more appropriate than a Cyrillic one. And he said that a proposed Duma law that would prohibit the introduction of Latin script in Tatar would "violate the Russian Constitution."

... But Admits Problems in Tatar-Bashkir Relations
At the same time, Khakimov said that there would likely be some problems with the introduction of the Latin script in Bashkortostan because ties between the two republics are "very complicated."

Deputy PM Says Tatarstan Learning How to Ask Moscow for Money
Speaking at the press conference on 4 September Deputy PM and Economics and Industry Minister Sergei Kogogin said that after the changes of federal tax policy, Tatarstan officials "had to learn how to ask for funding from federal ministries" because previously the republic covered its expenses with the share of tax revenues left at its disposal.

SPS Facing Crisis In Tatarstan
"Zvezda Povolzhya" reported on 6 September that the Tatarstan branch of Russia's Union of Right Forces is facing a crisis because of its inability to attract new members. The weekly said that the current PSS leader there, Marsel Shamsutdinov, had adopted "an anti-Shaimiev position and was oriented toward the federal authorities." Only 20 people showed up at a meeting devoted to the tenth anniversary of the failed August 1991 coup.

Incomes Rise Faster than Prices
According to the State Statistics Committee in a report released on 3 September, an overall increase in consumer goods prices had been compensated by a decline of 30 percent in vegetable prices over the first seven months of 2001. As a result, inflation was significantly lower than the growth in incomes in the republic. Back wages also fell by 1.5 percent over that period to a total of 1.02 billion rubles ($34 million).

Kazan-Made Helicopters To be Used Against Colombian Drug Lords
The Kazan Helicopter Plant is to deliver six Mi-17-1B helicopters for Columbian armed forces for use against the drug cartel, Tatarstan media reported on 6 September.

Kazan Airport to Be Renovated
Officials at the Transportation and Highways Ministry announced on 6 September that they planned to complete the renovation of the Kazan airport in advance of that city's millennium celebrations. Some 513 million rubles ($17.44 million) of the cost will come from the federal budget.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Scholar Unhappy With Slow Introduction of Russian Passports by Ufa, Kazan
In an article published in "Zvezda Povolzhya" on 6 September, Valerii Tishkov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology, called for accelerated distribution of new Russian passports in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. He said that "the Bashkir and Tatar nationalists who now rule in 'their' republics" are seeking to use the passport issue to promote privileges for their ethnic groups. He added that he is "very concerned" about the rights of subgroups to classify themselves as Bolgars, Kreshens, Mishers, Tipters, Nagaibaks and even Muslims if they wish.

WTC Leader On Possible Confederation Of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan
World Tatars Congress leader Indus Tahirov said in "Shehri Qazan" on 29 August that a confederation of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan might be established in order to strengthen ties of the two closely related peoples. He pointed out that one time President Murtaza Rakhimov has confirmed such a possibility. Tahirov cited American professor Khafez Malek as having proved that Tatars and Bashkirs speak the same language. But Tahirov stressed that the main obstacle hindering such a development is a policy of Bashkortostan authorities restricting Tatars and Tatar language. And he urged Bashkortostan leaders to stop forcing Tatars to study Bashkir instead of their native language and persecuting representatives of Tatars.

Local Government Arrangements in Bashkortostan, Tatarstan Said to Contradict Federal Laws
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 24 August criticized the existing system of local self-government in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

Kumertau Helicopters to Equip Indian Air Forces
Rosoboroneksport and the Kumertau aviation plant have signed a protocol providing measures for more active promotion of Ka helicopters in international markets and performing the contract on the delivery of Ka-31 helicopters to India, Bashinform reported on 31 August.

Students Receive Free Textbooks, Teachers Extra Subsidies
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 30 August attended ceremonies opening two schools in the Arkhangelskii raion, Bashinform reported. Rakhimov said that 35 secondary schools designed for 9,700 students have been constructed in 2000 and that 32 schools with 8,200 places are planned to open this year. He said that Bashkortostan is among few regions in Russia providing secondary schools students with free textbooks and paying additional subsidies to teachers.

Government Supports Needy Schoolchildren reported on 31 August that the republic budget has allocated 7.8 million rubles ($265,000) on subsidies for 64,000 schoolchildren from needy families to equip them for a school. Education Minister Galiya Mukhamedyanova said that all 1,600 rural schools have received computers by September and that federal and republic governments agreed to allot 38 million rubles each for equipping rural schools. She said that 28.4 percent of schoolchildren in Ufa and 62.8 percent in the republic study in their native languages. Some 50,000 children went to school for the first time current year, and some 40,000 left secondary schools.

Interior Detachment Completes Service In Chechnya
RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 2 September that 40 Bashkortostan militiamen returned from Chechnya without losses after 3 months of service.

Paper Comments on Khasavyurt Agreement Anniversary
"Kyzyl tang" on 31 August published an article to mark the fifth anniversary of the 1996 Russian-Chechen peace accords. The paper noted that Moscow has not been willing to live up to its promises.

One Teen in Four Has Tried Drugs
Vladimir Yuldashev, the psychiatry department head at the Bashkir Medical University, said that the number of drug users has grown in the republic over past five years by 230 percent to more than 5,000, Bashinform reported on 4 September. He said that every fourth teenager has already tried drugs.

Library Marks Jubilees of Enlightener, Dissident
Jubilee book expositions devoted to 160th anniversary of Bashkir enlightener of nineteenth century Mukhametsalim Umetbaev and 60th anniversary of writer Sergei Dovlatov opened in the Akhmet Zaki Validi Library, Bashinform reported on 5 September. One of them is.

Paper Says Ufa Promotes Ecologically Harmful Project
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 4 September reported that the Yumaguzy reservoir on Agidel had failed to pass ecological expertise and had been repeatedly protested by the Office of Prosecutor General.

Armenian Summer School Opens in Ufa
Some 60 Armenian children attend an Armenian summer school opened by the Bashkortostan Armenian national-cultural center on the basis of the secondary school No. 10 in Ufa, Bashinform reported on 3 September. Students will be taught Armenian language, history, and culture.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Chuvash Government Adopts Program to Support Invalids
The Chuvashia cabinet has approved a five-year, 523.5 million-ruble program to provide social support to invalids, VolgaInform reported on 30 August.

SPS in Mordovia Provides Schools with Russian Flag, State Emblem
The Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) in Mordovia decided to present all schools in the republic flags and state emblems of the Russian Federation, reported on 1 September. SPS local branch leader Maksim Osovsky said that these gifts are intended to improve patriotic education.

Prison Amnesty Said to Have Caused Tuberculosis Increase
The Mordovia republic anti-tuberculosis clinic said that the number of people infected by tuberculosis had increased 3 percent over past eight months largely because of the release of prisoners under an amnesty, reported on 1 September.

Khodyrev Decries Myth About Investments in Nizhnii
Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev said on 5 September that his oblast has never enjoyed the amount of foreign investment that the media have presented. Meanwhile, Nizhnii Novgorod Mayor Yurii Lebedev has liquidated the city administration's public relations and mass media department, the city's news service reported on 3 September.

Perm Mayor Promotes Judo in Schools
Perm Mayor Arkadii Kamenev presented equipment for playing judo to the school No. 44, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 3 September.

Afghanistan Said Main Source of Drugs in Perm
The Perm Oblast anti-drug board said on 31 August that annual illegal drug turnover in the oblast has reached four tons and that 90 percent of drugs are delivered from Afghanistan, Region-Inform-Perm reported.

Samara Mayor Sues Newspaper
Samara Mayor Georgii Limansky has filed a suit against the "Samarskoye obozreniye" accusing it of defaming him, "Samara segodnya" reported on 31 August.

Group of Samara Garrison Servicemen Faces Charges
Evgenii Fishchenko, the deputy prosecutor of the Samara garrison, told the Samara information portal on 3 September that 13 servicemen from garrison's motor-infantry regiment have been accused of crimes against their comrades. He added that another set of cases had been filed against 12 accused of violations against their co-servicemen and that the Samara garrison military court is due to start hearings on their cases current week. He said that 12 criminal cases were filed after 72 servicemen had left their unit protesting bad treatment.

Saratov Residents Say Authorities Put False Information in Media
Sociologist Vladimir Sanatin said that a poll in Saratov Oblast in July-August showed that 30 percent of the people there trust local media up from 10-12 percent after the August 1998 economic default. At the same time, however, some 41 percent of those questioned believe that local authority is responsible for placing untrue information in media. Twenty-seven percent said that owners and sponsors of newspapers initiate it.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Shifts from Donor to Recipient Region
Officials in the Sverdlovsk Oblast government said that the oblast will stop being a donor-region in 2002 and called on Governor Eduard Rossel to promote inclusion of the oblast in the list of regions receiving subsidies, Region-Inform reported on 3 September. According to the draft oblast 2002 budget, its deficit will total 2.7 billion rubles ($92 million).

3,000 Former Nazi Victims to Receive Compensation in Sverdlovsk Oblast
Leonid Sof�in, Deputy Social Care Minister of Sverdlovsk Oblast, said that some 3,000 former convicts of Nazi camps and people captured by Nazis during the WWII are residing in the oblast and that 1,200 have applied for compensation from the German fund dealing with payments to war victims. The fund pays 1,500-15,000 DM to victims or their families.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Marks Tenth Anniversary of Demographic Crisis
The Sverdlovsk Oblast registry office said that the number of deaths was twice the number of deaths in 2000, Region-Inform reported on 31 August. Some 38,000 children were born last year in the oblast down from the 1983 peak of 84,500 births. In 1991, for the first time, there were more deaths than births, a pattern that has continued over the last ten years.

HIV Infections Up Dramatically in Sverdlovsk Oblast
Russian anti-AIDS center head Vadim Pokrovsky said on 2 September that more than 11,000 HIV carriers have been registered in Sverdlovsk Oblast, second largest number in a region after Moscow's 16,000 HIV positives. Eighty months ago, the oblast was twelfth in the list. Viktor Romanenko, the oblast deputy sanitary doctor, called for the legalization of prostitution to combat this AIDS epidemic.

Tyumen Petrol Company Joins American Trade Chamber Committee
The Tyumen Oil Company has become the first company in Russia to join the American Trade Chamber Ecology and Economics Committee, "Sibirskiye novosti" reported on 3 September. The committee promotes realization of environment protecting legislation.

Chechen Families Receive Compensations for Homes Lost
Vladimir Abramov, the head of the Federation Affairs, National and Migration Policy Ministry in Tyumen Oblast, said on 3 September that the oblast has paid this year 836,000 rubles in compensation to nine families of Chechen refugees that had lost their homes and property during the 1994-1996 Chechen war. He said that five more families will also receive 140,000 rubles each.

Votkinsk Residents Against Construction Of Chemical Plant
Some 1,000 residents of Udmurtia's Votkinsk demonstrated on 29 August protesting the construction of a plant that is to destroy rocket fuel there, Rosbalt reported on 30 August.

Ulyanovsk Oblast Leads Volga District in HIV Infections
Ulyanovsk Oblast has more HIV infections per 100,000 population than any other region of the Volga Federal District, Volgainform reported on 31 August.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova