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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 21, 2001

21 September 2001
Tatar Media React to Moscow's Opposition to Latinization"
Tatarstan Yashlere" on 20 September published interviews with some of the Tatar intelligentsia members living outside Tatarstan Republic who signed the petition against transition to Tatar Latin script published by "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" on 14 September. Ufa-based Russian Moslems leader Talgat Tajetdin said that he signed the document because he regards the planned switch only as a means of "irritating Moscow" and believes that if the switch occurs, Tatars will have even stronger pressure in Russia. Moekeddes khazret Bibars, Muslim leader of Saratov oblast, said that although his name was mentioned among the signatories, he had not in fact signed it. Moscow writer Kotdus Deyletshin said that he had agreed to sign only after seeing the list of those who had already signed. Russian deputy minister of nuclear energy Bulat Nigmatullin said that Tatarstan should not decide on the switch to Latin script on its own because two-thirds of all Tatars live outside the republic.

In its 20 September issue, "Zvezda Povolzhya" shared the skepticism of "Tatarstan Yashlere" about the genuineness of this document, noting that one of the signatories is mentally ill. Another signatory, the paper said, Russian Academician Edham Tenishev called friends in Kazan to apologize and say that he was pressured to sign. He said he in fact supports the switch to the Latin script. The weekly also said that Tatarstan State Council archives have a record of comments by former Tatarstan Writers Union chairman Rinat Mokhamadiyev saying that the Cyrillic script should be scrapped -- even though he now appears among the signatories. Rafael Khaimov, an advisor to President Shaimiev said that the petition had been organized "by the staff of the Russian President."

Federal Official Says Switch to Cyrillic Should Not be Overpoliticized
Deputy presidential representative to Volga federal district Vladimir Zorin on 20 September asked that people not "overpoliticize" a shift to the Latin script. He said that the problem was a purely linguistic one, "related to culture and nation" and not a political thing at all. Zorin referred to some appeals to appeals from Tatar communities in Russian regions and abroad asking to block the script reform, but he noted that World Tatar Congress Executive Committee chairman Indus Tahirov had told him that interests of distant Tatar communities would be protected when introducing the new alphabet.

Tatar Scholars Frozen Out of Anti-Latin Script Meeting
None of the Tatarstan philologists was invited to the Moscow conference on "Language and Culture" at which participants adopted a resolution opposing the switch to the Latin script.

Tatars Worried about Census
"Kommersant-Daily" on 19 September reported that members of the Tatarstan State Council are upset by certain rules being laid down for the 2002 census. The deputies reportedly believe that the census is being structured to reduce the number of Tatars, many of whom in the past were "forcibly registered" as being members of other nationalities by census takers.

Prominent Tatar dramatist and Security Council member Tufan Minnulin told the paper that such things were taking place in Bashkortostan. He reported that some Tatar farmers there had been told to register as Bashkirs because tests of their blood showed them to be Bashkirs and not the Tatars they thought they were.

Moreover, the paper noted, some Russian scholars at the Institute of Ethnology consider "baptized Tatars, Mishars, Astrakhan Tatars, Kasim Tatars, and Siberian Tatars" to be distinct ethnic communities. And the paper called attention to a statement by Institute director Valeriy Tishkov who said that the Tatars will remain "Russia's second largest native people" after the census.

State Council Expected To Correct, Rather than Rewrite Constitution
"Izvestia" reported on 20 September that President Shaimiev's absence at the republic State Council session, which elected him a head of Constitution Commission responsible for adjusting the Tatarstan's fundamental law to Russian legislation, "was a tactical move" that allows him to intervene and modify the document after returning from vacation.

The paper noted that State Council Farit Mukhametshin insisted on that State Council "would correct the republic's Constitution, not bringing it in absolute conformity with Russian one."

Callers Divide on Meaning of Terror Attacks on US
A telephone poll conducted by the Teleforum program on Tatarstan State television attracted 350 callers who said this as a "tragedy" for the US, saying that they felt sorry for the victims but not for the US Some 750 others said that the attacks had in fact served American interests "well." State TV Company chairman Ilshat Aminov who was present at the program looked stunned by this reaction. Sociological research figures of previous years show that elderly people, pensioners represent the majority of GTRK audience.

Tatenergo Cuts Off Debtor Companies But Pledges to Heat Houses
Tatenergo said it is cutting off supplies to 130 debtor companies who owe a total of 130 million rubles ($4.4 million) for past heat deliveries, but the company indicated that it will not cut off heat to residences, Efir-Inform reported on 19 September.

Public Organization to Fight Family Violence in Chally
The Femina women's rights organization in Chally has launched a hotline for women who suffer from family or sexual violence, reported on 18 September.

Federal Tax Ministry to Use Kazan-Made Software
The Federal Tax Ministry is interested in implementing the tax calculation software produced by a group of Kazan programmers, Tatnews reported on 20 September. After checking the system operation in Tuben Kama region, ministry officials confirmed that it could be used across the country.

Record Harvest Allows Republic's Farmers to Enter Russian Grain Market
AK&M agency reported on 19 September that Tatarstan farmers this year expect to gather the total of 6 million tons of grain, 2.4 million more than last year. That will allow the republic to sell some one million tons on the Russian grain market.

TPC Says US Should Change Its Attitudes Towards Islam, Developing Countries
The Tatar Public Center issued a statement on 19 September expressing its concern with the terrorist attack on the US and condemning terrorism. It also called for "revising the worlds policy against Islamic fundamentalism, because it involves general opposition to Islam as a religion." The statement also said that developed countries should change their attitude towards the rest of the world, because the latter no longer want any support from the US or Israel.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov Turns to Constitutional Court
Bashkortostan press published on 14 September an inquiry by President Murtaza Rakhimov to the Russian Constitutional Court concerning the court's 19 April 2001 ruling. Republic mass media as well published an appeal by the State Assembly to the same court to interpret several paragraphs of the Russian Constitution. The presidential press service issued its comment to the latter appeal expressing concern about Moscow's efforts on restriction of federalism and negative evaluation of the concept of "restricted sovereignty." It stressed that the Constitutional Court's rulings are depriving federation subjects of sovereign rights and are reviving unitary traditions. The service contested a conclusion by the Russian Constitutional Court saying that federation subjects have no sovereignty and that their peoples are not a source of power. But federation subjects' authority bodies, under the Russian Constitution, enjoy all state powers except those delegated to federal bodies, and this is a formula of restricted sovereignty, republic lawyers say. The statement noted that treaty-based relations are now under strong criticism for being "non-constitutional." It recalled, however, that President Vladimir Putin urged republic legislators to base their harmonization efforts on the republic power-sharing treaties with Moscow.

Legislature Continues Harmonization Efforts
The State Assembly on 20 September passed amendments to the law on donors on third reading, amended laws on ecological monitoring and on employment on second reading, and on alcohol production and sale on first reading, the presidential press service reported.

Official Urges Food Processing Plants To Pay Cash For Agricultural Production
Deputy Agriculture and Foodstuff Minister Flaris Shaikhetdinov on 17 September sharply criticized republic food processing companies for inefficiency and for continuing to use barter relations with agricultural producers, Bashinform reported.

Bashkir Folklore Presented in Greece
A group of actors from Sibai took part among representatives of 15 countries in two international folklore festivals in Greece's Saloniki and Levkada, Bashinform reported on 17 September. They have also received invitations to take part in folklore competitions in Saudi Arabia, China, and Senegal.

Neftekamsk Obtains Local Newspaper In Bashkir
A new Bashkir monthly newspaper, "Neftekamskiye vesti," appeared in Neftekamsk, Bashinform reported on 18 September. The edition is issued in Ufa on the basis of republic-wide daily "Bashkortostan."

Machine Building Companies Increase Production
Vil Ardislamov, the first deputy head of the State Industry Committee, said on 19 September that the republic machine building enterprises have increased production over eight months of the year by 31 percent and received 83 percent more profit as compared to the same period a year ago.

Bashkortostan Prepars for Republic Day Celebration
The organizing committee on celebration of the eleventh anniversary of the Bashkortostan sovereignty declaration on 20 September discussed preparations for the event due to be marked on 11 October, Bashinform reported.

Bashcreditbank Expands Offices Network
Bashcreditbank on 20 September opened a new office in Tuimazy, Bashinform reported. That is the 47th office of the bank and the 15th to be opened in the last month alone.

Ufa, Nikoil To Boost Ties
President Murtaza Rakhimov on 13 September met with Nikoil investment-bank group president Nikolai Tsvetkov to discuss financial and investment plans under the July 2001 bilateral cooperation agreement. Rakhimov said that the republic companies are interested in closer ties with Nikoil.

Daily Says World is a Victim of Technical Progress
"Kyzyl tang" on 13 September commented that the world on 11 September has realized that it had become a slave to the technical progress it has created. The paper noted that not only passenger jets but a lot of other peaceful technical facilities could be used as weapons. And it predicted that the United States is now more likely leave the 1972 counter-rocket defense treaty without consultations with Russia in order to protect itself. The paper also expressed concern about "the anti-Islamic hysteria" that may follow the tragedy in the U.S.

Bashkortostan Communists Say Terrorists Act Against American Hegemony
"Nash vybor" which is published by Bashkortostan communists reported a comment by Renat Gabidullin, the deputy leader of Bashkortostan communists, who suggested that whatever fanatics or maniacs these terrorists were, they were in fact a force countering American hegemony.

Criminals are Criminals, Not Muslims
Rustem Tukhvatullin, the chief editor of "Tainoye zdorovye," told RFE/RL on 16 September that "a criminal has no religious identity. Muhammad said that one who raised his hand against an innocent person has left us." For that reason, Tukhvatullin noted, people who engage in crimes should be identified as "gangsters" rather than "Christians" or "Muslims."

A Monument to Poet Erected
A monument has been erected in Oktyabrskii to commemorate the 100th anniversary of poet Muzagit Khairutdinov who died in 1944 in the Nazis camp Dachau, Bashinform reported on 14 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Idel-Ural Region Leaders Comment on Terrorist Attacks in U.S. �
Chuvashia President Nikolai Fedorov said that terrorism is a consequence of inadequate policy and of the criminal mistakes of politicians, including their inability to reach agreements with each other. He said that the tragedy of Americans reflects polarization of rich and poor countries. As a result of the failure by G-7 countries to settle military conflicts in several countries, several generations there have been formed in the situation of war, so they cannot have normal human psychology, he stressed. And retaliatory military strikes will multiply the number of terrorists ready to die, he added.

Anatolii Kozeradsky, the speaker of the Nizhnii Novgorod Legislative Assembly, said that the American people will not forgive the U.S. President and security services officials for not preventing such terrorist actions. He added that the United States will likely take inadequate measures that can result in more victims among peaceful residents of suspected countries. And he said that he is concerned about the need to allocate extra money for the defense from terrorism.

Deputy Presidential Envoy to the Volga Federal District Vladimir Zorin said that all Muftiate boards in the district had condemned terrorism, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 12 September. Terrorism has no nationality, he said.

Representative of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nizhnii Novgorod, Sergei Malov, said that the events have shown a serious failure by the U.S. security bodies, the Nizhnii Novgorod telegraph agency reported on 12 September. He said that America used a "double standard" concerning international terrorism and turned to be powerless before it. He said that the United States' retaliatory act of punishment will be justified if those guilty are identified but that it won't work if it is only a demonstration of force and power.

Deputy head of the Sverdlovsk Oblast interior board Yurii Ovchinnikov said on 12 September that "no one can exclude participation of Chechen terrorists in the acts of terrorism in the United States, that's why international community may change its attitude toward Russia's anti-terrorist operation" in Chechnya, the Ural Information Bureau reported.

Presidential Envoy to the Ural Federal District Petr Latyshev sharply criticized comments about "Islamic terrorism" and "social outcast countries," saying that terrorism is not an attribute of any religion or nationality, reported on 14 September.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel said that the opposition of wealthy and poor countries is a real threat for peace adding as well that terrorism has neither national nor religious identity. He called for setting up a united program of countries' activity in emergency situations. And he said that the oblast will toughen its immigration policy as regards immigrants from Middle Asia.

Tyumen Oblast Governor Sergei Sobyanin said that he hopes Russian anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan and Chechnya won't be more criticized and added that "we must bow low to those Russian soldiers who died" there. No peace negotiations and compromises are able to solve problems, he stressed.

�And Take Security Measures
The Federal Security Service in Sverdlovsk Oblast on 3-13 September held exercises in Lesnoi residential area to provide safety of nuclear facilities from possible terrorist attacks, the Ural Information Bureau reported on 14 September. In the meantime, territorial entities of the Volga and Ural Federal Districts took extra security measures after the 11 September acts of terrorism in the United States, local agencies reported.

Sverdlovsk Oblast interior bodies introduced a 12-hour working day for their employees and increased their staff on duty by 25 percent. Additional emergency measures were taken at 230 especially important objects in the oblast. The interior agencies promised to pay for the information about possible crimes and terrorist acts. They also called for stricter measures against illegal immigration from Middle Asia that now amounts up to 70,000 persons a year.

Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Gennadii Khodyrev said that safety measures must provide permanent guard of important facilities rather than to be restricted by short-term campaign. He said that all flights of local airlines' jets will be accompanied by armed militia employees. Nizhnii Novgorod authorities called on residents to arrange twenty-four-hour duties in apartment houses while the oblast legislature initiated amending the law on defense from emergency situations.

In Tyumen Oblast, "preventive work" was held with leaders of Caucasus peoples' local diasporas, "Tyumenskaya liniya" reported on 12 September.

Meanwhile, the international express post service in Samara and Tolyatti provided free delivery of mail from the United States after the tragic events there.

Mordovia's Merkushkin, Chelyabinsk's Sumin Named State Council Presidium Members
President Vladimir Putin on 18 September appointed Mordovia head Nikolai Merkushkin and Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor, Petr Sumin, members of the Russian State Council presidium, reported.

Ulyanovsk to Sell 15 Tu-203 to Beijing
Ulyanovsk's Aviastar and the Chinese civil aviation board signed an agreement on the delivery of 15 Tu-204-120C jets, reported on 13 September. This is the first sale of Russian jets in the post-soviet period.

Journalist Killed In Sverdlovsk Oblast
Chief editor of the "Novyi Reft" newspaper Eduard Markevich has murdered in Sverdlovsk Oblast's Reftinskii village on 18 September, reported on 20 September.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova