MINELRES: RFE/RL on minority issues
Fri May 30 17:27:01 2003
Original sender: Multiethnic list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 98, Part I, 27 May 2003
PERM, KOMI-PERMYAK MOVE ONE STEP CLOSER TO MERGER... The legislature of
Perm Oblast on 23 May amended the regional law on referendums to allow a
plebiscite on merging the oblast with Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug,
regions.ru reported, citing the Perm-based news agency Novyi region.
President Putin endorsed the idea of merging those two regions during a
March meeting with Perm Oblast Governor Yurii Trutnev and Komi-Permyak
Autonomous Okrug Governor Gennadii Savelev, who both favor the merger
for economic reasons (see "RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly," 19 March
2003). However, the Komi People's Movement has expressed concern that
the Komi ethnic group would be assimilated following a merger with Perm
Oblast (see "RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly," 30 January 2003). LB
TATARSTAN DELAYS APPEAL AGAINST CYRILLIC-ONLY LAW. The Republic of
Tatarstan's challenge to Russia's federal law requiring the use of the
Cyrillic alphabet will not be submitted to the Constitutional Court
until this fall at the earliest, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 27 May.
Last year, officials in Tatarstan vowed to challenge the
constitutionality of new amendments to the law on the languages of the
peoples of the Russian Federation (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 and 27
November 2002 and "RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly," 20 November 2002).
But the presidium of the republic's State Council, or parliament,
decided on 26 May to take the court appeal off the agenda for this
week's session. Constitutional Court Chairman Valerii Zorkin had
requested that the parliament not seek another decision from the
Constitutional Court until that court rules on three other appeals
submitted by official bodies in Tatarstan during the last six months.
Those appeals relate to the new draft of Tatarstan's constitution,
portions of which are being challenged by the Prosecutor-General's
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 98, Part II, 27 May 2003
HUNGARIAN STANDING CONFERENCE REACHES AGREEMENT ON AMENDING STATUS LAW.
The Hungarian Standing Conference (MAERT) approved amendments to the
country's controversial Status Law on 24 May, and the government will
submit those amendments to parliament, Hungarian media and AFP reported.
MAERT is a forum of government ministers and of representatives of
parliamentary parties and ethnic Hungarian organizations abroad.
Parliament must now approve the amendments. The main opposition FIDESZ
party refused to back the amendments, which mandate that a controversial
reference to the law's preamble describing Hungarians in neighboring
countries as part of the "unified Hungarian nation" be deleted. Under
the amended version of the law, educational benefits previously granted
to ethnic Hungarians would be extended to members of any ethnic group
who study the Hungarian language, culture, or history. Employment
benefits granted to ethnic Hungarians in the original version were
rescinded by the government of Viktor Orban, which initiated the Status
Law. However, Slovak Premier Dzurinda said on 25 May that he continues
to oppose the law. Asked what will happen to the legislation in view of
the Slovak position, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, cited by AFP, said
the same day: "I am no fortune teller. Let's cross that bridge when we
get there." MS
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