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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 14, 2001

14 September 2001
Mufti Rejects Linking Terrorism to Islam
Russian Mufti Council chairman Ravil Gainutdin on 13 September told RFE/RL that he is sending deep condolences to the American people on the behalf of Russia's Muslims. He said that terror can be in no way justified and that Koran evaluates a person who killed another one as having killed the whole mankind. He noted that this terrorist act has become a heavy blow to Islam and Muslims as politicians and mass media have rushed to accuse "Islamic terrorists and extremists" even before they have any evidence. He said that Islamophobia exists in Russia and that attacks against Muslims are accompanying the Chechen war. And he added that anyone who has engaged in terrorism under the cover of Islamic slogans is a criminal before Allah, and he must be punished in "this world" as well.

Turkey's State Minister Says Kazan 'Rather' Independent
In an interview published in "Vostochnyi ekspress" on 7 September, Turkey's State Minister in charge of relations with Turkic communities and states Abdulkhalyuk M. Chai said he had been convinced during his visit to Kazan of Tatarstan's being "rather independent" and having the intellectual resources for the integration with the West. He said he found the situation in Tatarstan to be even better than in former union republics.

Deputy Promotes Referendum to Amend Constitution
Tatarstan deputy Marat Galeev said that a referendum must be held before adopting amendments to the republic constitution, "Vremya i dengi" reported on 11 September. That means that amending the constitution will take at least six months and not one as prosecutors demand.

Khakimov Wants Tatar Latin Script to Be Improved
Presidential advisor Rafail Khakimov said that the current version of Tatar Latin script "is not very good" and that the Uzbek one is "more suitable." But he added that "any Latin script is better for Turkic languages than any Cyrillic one."

Tatarstan Mass Media Said in Crisis
Rimma Ratnikova, the chairwoman of the Tatarstan Journalist Union and the Tatar-inform general director, said in an interview published in "Respublika Tatarstan" on 6 September that the state-owned mass media in Tatarstan are in crisis, noting that planned reforms are likely to leave the republic without any publications that helped the Tatar people move toward sovereignty. She sharply criticized Communications Minister Rinat Zalyalov for threatening to close those media that are unable to gain profit. Ratnikova said the state has failed to set up a mass media market and to provide population with enough income to purchase them. She noted that property rearrangements in the sector are performed with "violations of rights of journalist collectives". And she called for the reforms to be "less painful".

Paper Says Tatarstan to Preserve Its Sovereignty
"Moscow news" on 11 September reported that "the Moscow vertical has rested on Tatarstan's 'sovereignty' concept." The paper noted that when signing the document on joining the Russian legal space, Tatarstan had insisted this space to be called "united" rather than "common." And the paper predicted that the issue on sovereignty will be removed from the legal sphere to the political one and that the concept of "sovereignty" will likely be preserved in the Russian political discourse but Tatarstan leaders will find its 'milder' definition.

Passport Issue Still Controversial
The Samara social justice movement has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to stop issuing new Russian passports without a nationality entry, "Medeni jomga" reported on 7 September. The movement said that otherwise Russia will stop being a multinational state and noted that Russians may face difficulties in the future without such a line given increasing numbers of non-Russians.

Tatar National Heroes Monument Opened In Crimea
A monument has been erected in the Buyuk Ozenbash village of Crimea's Baqchasarai raion to commemorate leaders of the Crimean Tatars national movement Beker and Yurii Osmanovs, "Medeni jomga" reported on 7 September.

American Tatars Finance Construction of Mosque in Crimea
A new mosque has been constructed in Crimea's Kapsikhor residential area at the sponsorship of Zakiya and Niyazi Urals, Crimean Tatars residing in Detroit, "Medeni jomga" reported on 7 September.

Tatar Library to Open in Tomsk
The Tatar Cultural Center of Tomsk began the reconstruction of a house of Tatar merchant of the beginning of the century, Karim Khamitov, Internews reported on 12 September. The center plans to arrange a Khamitov Museum and a Tatar library in the building being a federal cultural monument.

Efir General Manager Named Member of TV Academy
Andrei Grigoryev, the general manager of Tatarstan's Efir TV company, was elected a member of the Academy of Russian television, reported on 13 September. Two times, in 1998 and 2000, his company was recognized Russia's best regional television company.

KamAZ Trucks to Be Assembled in Azerbaijan
KamAZ and Azerbaijan's Gyandzh automobile plant have agreed to begin in January 2002 assembling annually 300 KamAZ trucks in Azerbaijan, reported on 8 September.

Tu-214 to Receive State Funding from Moscow
Nikolai Shipil', the general manager of the state transport company Rossiya, said on 12 September that the number of aircraft models to be given state support in construction will be reduced, RBK reported. His comments came after a meeting on civil aviation development held by President Vladimir Putin. Aeroflot general manager Valerii Okulov said that the Kazan-produced Tu-214 is among those jets that will get state subsidies.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkortostan's Security Agencies On Alert
After the terrorist acts in New York and Washington on 11 September, Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry and republic branch of Federal Security Service were put on alert and additional forces were sent to guard the Ufa airport.

Weekly Warns Against Oversimplifying Terrorism
"Kizil Tan" wrote on 12 September that portions of the Russian media and some ordinary people are trying to blame past U.S. policies for the terrorist outrages. The paper suggested that such suggestions were wrong and noted that terrorism has no nationality.

Bashinform Says US Should Not Rush With Retaliation
In its 12 September report, Bashinform agency said that the US government "should be wise enough not to turn the country into a villain in the eyes of world community by means of cruelty to innocent people" when it seeks to punish the terrorists.

Tajutdin Says Interfax Issued False Report
Talgat Tajutdin, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of European Russia and the European Part of the CIS, said on 12 September that Interfax had been wrong when it reported that he supported the terrorist attacks against the U.S. He said that he had never done so but has expressed regret that many have blamed Islam for these terrorist actions.

Harvest Figures Up
Agriculture Minister Grigory Gorobets said on 13 September that this year featured an unexpectedly large harvest but noted that back wages continue to be a problem in the sector.

Budget Amended to Fit Improving Economy
Deputy PM Foat Khantimerov said on 13 September that the amendments entered to Bashkortostan's state budget the same day were inspired by the general improvements in republic's economy and social sphere.

Constitution Court Chairman Slams Volga District Prosecutor's Office
AROMI quoted the chairman of Bashkortostan's Constitution Court Ildus Adigamov as saying on 11 September that Volga district prosecutors had taken a rather formalist approach towards improving republic legislation and had neglected the interests of the regions.

Industrial Companies Upbeat about Future
According to an opinion poll conducted by Bashkortostan's State Statistics Committee on 11 September, 75% of the heads of industrial firms in the republic believe that they will see continued growth. Only five percent said they did not expect any improvement.

Rakhimov's Horse Wins Title
President Murtaza Rakhimov's horse won the annual Russian president�s prize during the race at Moscow Hippodrome on 9 September.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Idel-Ural Leaders Express Condolences To United States
The heads of territorial entities of the Volga-Ural region, among them governors of Samara Oblast Konstantin Titov, Saratov Oblast Dmitrii Ayatskov, Perm Oblast Yurii Trutnev, Sverdlovsk Oblast Eduard Rossel, Tyumen Oblast Sergei Sobyanin, Chelyabinsk Oblast Petr Sumin, and Nizhnii Novgorod Mayor Yurii Lebedev sent their condolences to the American people on the 11 September tragedy, Russian agencies reported.

Moscow Resident to Represent Chuvashia in Federation Council
The Chuvashia State Council has elected Yamalstroi president Vyacheslav Borovik as republic representative to the Federation Council, VolgaInform reported on 10 September. Borovik told deputies that although he is a Moscow Oblast resident, he "studies Chuvashia's history and culture."

Cheboksary Promotes Investments
The Chuvashia parliament has amended the law on investment activities in the republic clarifying terms of state support for investors, VolgaInform reported on 10 September.

Chuvash Language Taught in 14 Regions of Russia
The Chuvashia Education Ministry said that 35,000 students in more than 300 secondary schools in 14 republics and oblasts of Russia are now studying the Chuvash language, VolgaInform reported on 7 September. Most part of them are in Tatarstan (148), Bashkortostan (93), and Samara Oblast (50).

Social-Democrats in Chuvashia Issue Paper
Two hundred members of the Russian United Social-Democratic Party (ROSDP) on 8 September have held a constituent conference of the party's Cheboksary city organization and elected ROSDP board member Valerii Chapurin its chairman, VolgaInform reported on 10 September. By the day, the ROSDP republic organization has issued the first number of its newspaper "Sotsial-demokrat Chuvashii," the move that was praised by party leader Mikhail Gorbachev as the first experience of issuing party newspaper in the federation subjects. The Chuvashia republic organization existing for 11 years has some 1,000 members.

Yoshkar-Ola Authorities Reject Financial Transfers
The Yoshkar-Ola administration announced its disagreement with the government decision to transfer 21 million rubles from the Yoshkar-Ola budget to that of the republic in order to compensate the latter's failure to collect 80 million rubles in revenues, reported on 8 September. The capital authorities said they will sue because the measure that worsens living conditions of Yoshkar-Ola residents.

Marii El Government Said Pressuring Finno-Ugric Paper
Vladimir Kozlov, the chief editor of the Finno-Ugric newspaper "Kudo+Kodu," said on 8 September that the Marii El government is persecuting his paper because of its critical publications, reported. He noted that local publishing houses were refusing to publish his paper and that the founder of the paper has been sued for past due rent.

Teens Put Under Lawyers' Protection in Mordovia
Vasilii Guslyannikov, the head of the Mordovia Republic Human Rights Center, said that his organization under support of the Fund for Civil Freedoms has launched a program to provide teenagers under the age of 16 who are being investigated with free legal representation, reported on 10 September. He said that some 40 teenagers in the republic are subject to the measure.

Yermak Monument to Be Erected in Perm
The Cossack Chieftains Council of the Kama region Cossack district in Perm has laid the foundation for a monument to Cossack Chieftain Yermak on 420th anniversary of his Siberia campaign, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 10 September.

Four Deserters From Perm Military Unit Arrested
The interior agencies of Sverdlovsk Oblast's Kamensk-Uralskii have arrested three Tyva soldiers who had left on 4 September their military unit in Perm, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 10 September. The servicemen reportedly deserted protesting violent treatment in the unit.

Samara Authorities, Muslim Board Agree on Cooperation
The Samara Oblast administration's healthcare department and the local Muslims Religious Board on 7 September have signed a cooperation accord, the Samara information portal reported. Mufti Vagiz Yarullin said that the document is intended to promote the revival of moral norms. He said that his board seeks to prohibit alcohol and tobacco advertising in the oblast.

Samara Oblast, Yugoslavia To Boost Ties
The Samara Oblast administration and Yugoslavia's Voevodina Executive Veche on 6 September signed a protocol promoting cooperation in metallurgy, machine building, chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, light industry, construction, and agricultural sectors, reported.

Murders by Minors Up 500 Percent in Samara over Past Year
The Samara Interior Board information service said that the number of murders conducted by minors increased fivefold over the past year, "Samara segodnya" reported on 10 September. The oblast interior bodies plan to impose curfew to fight the trend.

Ayatskov Promotes Countrywide Anti-Drug Body
Saratov Oblast Governor Dmitrii Ayatskov told Ekho Moskvy in Saratov on 8 September that a special anti-drug body should be set up at the Russian Interior Ministry.

Yekaterinburg Human Rights Groups Concerned about Treatment of Prisoners
The Ural Youth Museum, the Moscow Center for Reform of Criminal Justice, and the Memorial in Yekaterinburg have launched a countrywide project "Man and Prison" intended to attract public attention to problems of penal institutions, Region-Inform reported on 10 September. The initiative includes an exhibition about prisons and convicts, consultations for prisoners' relatives, and a conference on humanization of penitentiary institutions.

Yekaterinburg Post-Offices to Be Connected to Internet
The Yekaterinburg General Post-Office announced that it will open a network of Internet-stations in the city post-offices by the end of the year, UralBusinessConsulting reported on 7 September.

LDPR Wants Parties to Take Part in Tyumen Parliamentary Elections
The LDPR in Tyumen Oblast called on Governor Sergei Sobyanin to postpone oblast Duma elections till March 2002 in order to allow parties to participate in them, "Tyumenskaya liniya" reported on 6 September.

Federal Official in Udmurtia to Run in Izhevsk Mayor Election
The Chief Federal Inspector Sergei Chikurov said that he will run for Izhevsk mayor, reported on 7 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova