6 July 2000
WEEKLY REVIEW FROM TATARSTANCommissioner On Human Rights Appointed In Tatartstan
29 June 2000
Plenary session of Tatarstan's State Council elected 53 years old lawyer, Rashit Vagizov a republican commissioner on human rights on 29 June. Reporters of republican media interviewed Vagizov, who had been elected a deputy of Tatarstan's parliament for 3 times, on the day of his new appointment. Vagizov told the reporters that he didn't think of his possible appointment when he was working on the draft law on republican human rights commissioner in 1999. He said that he felt satisfaction from that he "managed to persuade the parliamentary deputies and Tatarstan's government that securing the human rights is a top priority mission for Tatarstan, Russia and world community." Vagizov reminded the reporters that "all local wars in the world history were ignited by someone's attempts to infringe on the rights of people."
New human rights commissioner admitted that�his job was an "extremely difficult problem." According to Vagizov "attempts to solve the human rights problem in Russia were taken from early 90ies and proceeded with�ratifying the European convention on human rights." He also stated that "Russia took a great responsibility to bring its legislation in accordance with norms of international law. But we must not forget that all the processes connected with citizens' rights cannot be arranged in rushing style and must be implemented gradually. Commissioner on human rights [HR] is a bridge between the citizen and the state. Although experience of western countries shows the necessity of special commissioners on rights of children, women, military servicemen, elderly people, etc. I will solely work with all these groups. We are not planning to hire extended staff for my office and we will choose the most suitable variant from thirteen already existing in Russia. For example HR commissioner's office in Sverdlovsk oblast consists of 35 employees, in Bashkortostan � 10 employees but with local commissioners in all cities of the republic. We will hire people with higher legal education and such personal features as honesty and high moral values."
Tatar University Problem Still Remains
A thesis concerning the vital necessity of establishing the Tatar University in Kazan is regularly mentioned in agenda of republican parliament. Parliamentary session on 29 June again issued a statement for "continuing the consideration of this issue" which caused serious discontent of Tatar deputies. Tatar writer, State Council deputy Tufan Minnulin said in his speech that he "resented constant attempts to leave this problem for later." Reportedly Tatarstan's government issued a decree approving the creation of Tatar national university in 1995. Russian Duma deputy representing Tatarstan, former moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center chairman Fandas Safiullin sharply criticized president Mintimer Shaimiev for his "inactivity on this issue." He directly asked Shaimiev "will there be a Tatar university or not? Who is sabotaging its creation?" Safiullin advised opening the university by 10(superscript: th) anniversary of Tatarstan's declaration of independence on 30 August, 2000. He informed the deputies that in 1859 rector of Kazan Emperor's University suggested to open a higher education institution for Tatars. But royal curator of education in Privolzhsky district mr. Magnitsky�prevented this initiative from being implemented.� In his critical rhetoric Fandas Safiullin asked the deputies "who is Magnitsky now?" In Safiullin's words "it's impossible to preserve Tatar culture and language without a national university. Tatars have fallen deep, they have to rise back on their feet."
Tatarstan's president Mintimer Shaimiev argued that Safiullin "should appeal" to State Duma chairman Gennady Seleznev. Shaimiev said that Safiullin ought to "defend Tatarstan's interests in Moscow, if he manages to." Safiullin replied by saying "it only takes having something to defend."
Russian deputy Sergey Oskolok shared the opinion of Minnulin and Safiullin and offered to devote a special parliamentary session to Tatar university problem. In his closing speech Mintimer Shaimiev said that Tatarstan was "among the leading Russian republics in higher education." "But in order to be proud with Tatar university" � he said, "it can't be on a lower level than other higher education institutions of Kazan, it will need a high-qualified staff and educational programs. These problems couldn't have been solved in only 5 years."
Parliamentary statement concerning the Tatar national university was endorsed in its primary edit [See the beginning of the text].
Tatarstan's State Council Unready To Amend Republic's Constitution
Tatarstan's president Mintimer Shaimiev told the press on 4 July that there must be a coordinated process of bringing the republican legislation in conformity with federal laws. In his statement Shaimiev said that "today's members of our State Council are unready to consider this issue without proper conciliation procedures. I must say that our parliament is used to working independently." Shaimiev said that he managed to reach an agreement with Russian president Vladimir Putin on creating the conciliation commission, which will gradually adjust republican laws to federal legislation. "This process must be arranged from simple to more complicated" � he said, "and without special enforcement, but with gradual adjustment of constitutions." According to Shaimiev, adjustment procedures will take Tatarstan and Bashkortostan republics more time than other subjects of Russian Federation. He said that "other regions don't have such a vast field of work. Fast solution of this problem in Kazan and Ufa is unreal. Constitutions of these republics were adopted before the Russian Basic Law was. What kind of matching here can we talk about?"
Tatarstan's president said that power sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan of 1994 "was a significant milestone and it had a character of conciliation. We do have a number of laws in our republic which are more advanced and reality-adapted than federal ones. Such situation exists because previous Russian Dumas had a majority of Communist deputies which blocked market-oriented draft laws."
Concerning the republican law on free sale of land president Shaimiev said "will it make any sense if we abolish this law, which is still awaited by the entire Russian society? Still there are some other laws which need to be brought in conformity with federal legislation." He emphasized that "today there are no such laws adopted in Tatarstan which contradict Russian legality, this is a first step and for us and it is quite important."
Compiled by I.Nurmi