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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 19, 2000

19 October 2000
Tatarstan to Close its Australian Trade Office
12 October

The Tatarstan Republic is closing its trade representation in Australia, the republic's Ministry of Trade official told the RFE/RL Kazan correspondent on 12 October. The representation is being closed reportedly because during five years of operation, it failed to establish significant economic ties between Tatarstan and Australia. According to the official, Rustam Sadri, head of the Australian trade office, did not live up to expectations as an active organizer. The Tatarstan Republic also maintains permanent trade representations in Moscow, France, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Cuba, Cyprus, Vietnam, Austria, Finland and the United States.

Tatarstan's First Deputy PM On Economic Development Perspectives
17 October

Tatarstan's first deputy prime minister Ravil Muratov commented on the republic's development perspectives during his press conference on 17 October. Muratov said, "the main factor currently affecting foreign investment in Russia is the unclear political system, in regard to limitation of regions' rights." He emphasized that "Tatarstan has all the necessary resources to promote investment projects [and] no one is infringing upon its [Tatarstan's] right to manage these resources." Muratov acknowledged that "bad management is the main problem of Russian economy." Referring to the federal tax reform to increase the percent of taxes which Moscow would retain from Tatarstan -- which would go from 50% to 70% -- first deputy PM said, "the republic's budget will lose about 20-30% of its income. So the first point on republican government's agenda is how to increase revenue by intensifying economic growth." "Generally speaking" � he said, "Tatarstan is lucky to have Sergey Kiriyenko as a Russian presidential representative in Volga administrative district because he is a devoted supporter of the market economy� Tatarstan will use the framework of the Volga administrative district to organize a strong regional lobby and defend its interests."

Bashkir Professors Send Protest to Kiryenko
17 October

Four Bashkir historians sent an open appeal to the Russian presidential representative in the Volga administrative district, Sergey Kiriyenko, on 17 October. The appeal, also sent to Bashkortostan's and Moscow-based newspapers, stated, "Dear Sergey Vladilenovich, you told "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" newspaper on 11 October 2000 that history is really your ally, when you tried to argue for the need to liquidate the state ethnic formations in the Russian Federation. Your statements, however, � really represent a clumsy forgery and distortion of historical reality." Four Bashkir Ph.D's in historical sciences, professors M.Kulsharipov, R.Yanguzin, I.Akmanov and R.Kulbakhtin, addressed Kiriyenko by saying that "the attempt to present the formation of autonomous republics [in Russian Federation] as a Bolshevik act represents scurrility. Be it known to you, Bashkirs won their autonomy with weapons in their hands, through their own national armed forces� We consider that a person without a basic knowledge of Russian history, the history of non-Russian peoples who live in this multiethnic region, cannot work as plenipotentiary representative of the Russian president. We state our distrust to you and deeply resent your far-reaching plans to eliminate the state formations of non-Russian peoples."

Latin-Based Tatar Alphabet Introduced In Schools
18 October

Tatarstan's peoples' languages development department chief at the republican Ministry of Education Kim Minnulin told reporters on 18 October that a brochure on the new rules of Tatar spelling will be published in November 2000. Minnulin stated that the brochure would set the new rules for Tatar Latin-based spelling. In his words, Tatarstan's education ministry has already initiated an experiment to introduce the new alphabet to 2,5 thousand primary school pupils in different regions of the republic. According to the republican program for the switch from a Cyrillic-based alphabet to Latin one, a new Tatar alphabet and orthographic dictionaries will be published by the summer of 2001, based on the results of classroom experience.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi