In Moscow, the Union of Russia’s Moslems, which was formed in May, held its first Congress. As its leader, the Union elected the 35-year old Imam Khatyb Mukaddas Bibarsov, head of the Volga Moslem Spiritual Department. Federation Council vice-chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov was chosen as honorary chairman, Interfax reported September 3 and 4. The Union’s secretary general Akhmed Khalitov was deposed because of his association–which he ended only recently–with Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
The Union claims to be the successor of Russia’s first lay Moslem organization of the same name, which existed from 1905 to 1917, and had its own faction in the Duma. Today’s Union hopes to achieve the same clout, and is counting on the backing of Russia’s more than 20 million Moslems. The organization supports a state-controlled economy, federal investment in Moslem-populated regions, and the protection of Russian interests in the country’s foreign policies toward Moslem countries. It objects to the treatment of the Orthodox church as a state religion, and has ignored the recent appeals by Patriarch Aleksii II that clergymen of all faiths eschew political activity.
Central Election Commission Not Prepared for Elections.