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Thread: Curbing autonomy

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    Curbing autonomy

    Tatarstan's State Council in session (file photo)

    KAZAN, Russia -- Lawmakers from the Russian Republic of Tatarstan have appealed to Moscow to extend a power-sharing treaty between the capital and the region that is set to expire later this month.

    Members of Tatarstan's State Council adopted the text of a statement addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11, urging him to prolong the agreement signed between one of Russia's most economically advanced regions and Moscow 10 years ago.

    The statement also asks the Kremlin to allow the republic to continue designating its executive-branch head as "president." Under pressure from Moscow, all other republics in the Russian Federation have abandoned that title.

    The power-sharing treaty signed on July 27, 2007, expires on July 24.

    Tatar lawmaker Nikolai Rybushkin said at the parliamentary session that unless the agreement was prolonged it would be necessary to amend at least 14 articles of Tatarstan's constitution, as well as several federal-level laws.

    He also said the people of Tatarstan were counting on the treaty's renewal.

    Recent reports in the Moscow press indicate that the treaty most likely will not be prolonged.

    The first power-sharing treaty between Tatarstan and Moscow was signed in 1994 by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin of Russia and then-Tartarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev.

    The treaty provided Tatarstan with broad autonomy, giving it rights to have its own laws, taxes, and even citizenship.

    After Vladimir Putin took over in 2000, he began actively pursuing the creation of the so-called power vertical that many critics viewed as an attack on the principle of federalism itself.

    All the laws in the subjects of the Russian Federation were brought into strict conformity with federal laws. By 2005 all previous agreements and treaties between subjects and Moscow were annulled, and it was announced that pacts would be negotiated in conformity with strict new federal laws.

    Special status was given to only to two federal subjects: Tatarstan and Chechnya.

    In 2007, the current treaty was agreed, according to which Tatarstan had the right to make decisions jointly with Moscow regarding Tatarstan's economic, ecological, cultural, and other policies.

    Tatarstan was allowed to have special passports with attachments in the Tatar language. According to the treaty, candidates for Tatarstan's presidency must be fluent in both of the republic's state languages -- Tatar and Russian.

    The issue of renewing the treaty is expected to be raised at the World Congress of Tatars, which will be held in Tatarstan's capital, Kazan, in August. Tatars from 40 countries are expected to attend the gathering.

    Tatarstan is a mainly Muslim-populated region in central Russia with deep cultural and economic influence on the neighboring Russian republics of Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Mari El, Udmurtia, Mordovia, and other parts of Russia along the border with Kazakhstan.

    Kazan, once the center of the Kazan Khanate, was conquered by Muscovite Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1552.
    Tatar Lawmakers Urge Renewal Of Kazan-Moscow Power-Sharing Agreement

    Kazan Kremlin

    President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov

    There are many powerful Tatars in Russia today.

    Elvira Nabiullina is the head of the Central Bank

    General Rashid Nurgaliev is the former Interior Minister (and national head of police) and currently Deputy Chairman (Putin himself is Chairman) of the National Security Council

    And Aman Tuleev has for many, many years (he is the last survivor from the Yeltsin era, the 90s!) been Goveror of Kemerovo region in West Siberia, home of most of Russia's coal industry

    Though, his reign is now coming to an end: age and chronic weight issues have caught up with his poor heart, it seems; he is now lying all but unconscious in an elite hospital in Moscow; nobody has openly said yet that he is dying, but I understand big men in Kemerovo are already fighting for his lucrative chair...

    Point is, the Tatars wield much wealth and political sway. And many Slavic Russians resent that, for historical reasons, if nothing else. Tatars did rule Russia for 300 years, under the Khans of the Golden Horde. And it was not nearly as nice and benign a rule as often described today, as many abuses and atrocities are indeed played down or not mentioned at all, to avoid inflaming interethnic hostilities even more.

    Today, I have read online many Russians grumble that Tatars have too much influence again ("as if we're going back to the fucking Horde...")

    It's a very delicate issue. Putin, of course, is not exactly a delicate guy. He just moves to placate public opinion, now, but attacking Tatarstan's own status...

    Not wise. Almost 6 million Tatars in Russia too, ya know. Big ass electorate to just go and turn against yourself that way...

  2. #2
    New Member
    Dec 2014

    New prime minister of tatarstan is ethnic russian though, first ever btw.
    Thanks from The Man

  3. #3
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousou View Post
    New prime minister of tatarstan is ethnic russian though, first ever btw.
    Yes. The Kremlin should be nice to the Tatars. They are some of the smartest and most business savvy people in Russia. They also tend to take a lot of pride in their work.

    For example, Tatarstan has the best roads in the country, even in rural areas; people from other regions driving in/through Tatarstan always praise their roads

    I've also seen lots of good feedback about their traffic police

    More polite and professional than elsewhere in the country; yet also less corrupt, harder to bribe, NOT always seen as a positive quality in Russia, where corruption is a normal part of life and people are used to it They are strict over there though, Tatarstan is a national leader in traffic tickets issued for last four years, in a row, I believe

    Good people, all in all.
    Last edited by The Man; 13th July 2017 at 08:04 AM.

  4. #4
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    People walk in a square near Qol Sharif mosque in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. Roman Kruchinin / Reuters

    The special status that Russia’s Tatarstan republic has enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union ended on Monday, when its agreement with the federal government expired.

    The republic had once been among 46 Russian regions that negotiated a degree of self-rule with the Kremlin after the Soviet Union’s collapse. But by July 24 this year, only Tatarstan had retained a semblance of that autonomy.

    In the months leading up to the agreement’s expiration, the Kremlin gave little indication it intended to renew the deal. Under President Vladimir Putin, power has been returned to the capital.

    What was the ‘special status’?

    In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, each of Russia’s regions except Tatarstan and Chechnya signed agreements with central authorities that solidified Russia’s federal structure.

    Tatarstan officials demanded a separate agreement that would preserve their regional sovereignty. Two years later, it finalized a deal with Moscow that gave the ethnically diverse republic its own laws, tax rules and citizenship privileges. Tatarstan kept control over its resources and budget, and could even participate in international affairs.

    Another 45 regions later signed similar agreements with the federal government under then-President Boris Yeltsin, who was willing to give regions extra sovereignty.

    That trend shifted in 2000 when Vladimir Putin came to power. One by one, the regions were brought to heel and their unique privileges were taken away.

    “The Russian system has been dominated by an authoritarian model of federalism,” political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov told The Moscow Times. “This became especially clear during Putin’s first term, when he was looking for easy victories.”

    Political scientist Abbas Gallyamov agrees: “It is clear why Putin started doing this in 2000. He was like the English Queen. He wanted to amass power in Moscow.”

    By 2009, only Moscow’s agreements with the restive Chechnya and Tatarstan were still intact. And at that point, Putin had already renegotiated the terms of those agreements, making them largely symbolic.

    In 2007, the president removed most of Tatarstan’s special privileges, with the exception that local authorities could still issue passports with a one-page insert in the Tatar language.

    Then, in 2010, Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov voluntarily gave up his republic’s special status, famously saying that Russia could only have one president. This display of allegiance earned Kadyrov informal perks from the Kremlin, but it also meant Tatarstan was the last Russian region with such a special status.

    What now?

    Tatarstan is one of the most economically successful regions in Russia thanks to its well-developed oil industry. It was Russia’s 16th most wealthy region in 2015 with about 434,509 rubles ($7,270) GDP per capita, according to the state-funded RIA Rating.

    Its capital, Kazan, is the sixth largest in Russia, religiously diverse, and a host city for the 2018 World Cup.

    Even though Tatarstan’s deal with Moscow has been largely symbolic for around a decade, authorities there have defended it passionately, using it to tout the region’s independence and exceptionalism.

    The deal is proof for Tatarstan that the region has a special place in Moscow, Gallyamov told The Moscow Times. If the agreement is not extended, it will be seen as “a slap in the face,” he says. “It will look as if Moscow has put them in their place. People there will not like that.”

    That could drive a wedge between Moscow and local authorities, who have been a useful political ally. In the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Tatarstan helped mediate between the local Tatar diaspora and central Russian authorities.

    Ahead of presidential elections next March and the World Cup tournament next summer, it could also fuel protest potential in the region.

    “Now the agreement holds a mostly symbolic character, but [if if is not extended] that will indicate a loss of trust,” said Vinogradov, referring to the republic’s relationship with Moscow.

    At home, the agreement’s end will be an especially hard blow for Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. His position, which has been historically strong, was recently weakened by a banking crisis this winter, Gallyamov said.

    While Tatarstan authorities will still try to obtain concessions, like keeping the title of president for the republic’s head, Gallyamov does not expect Minnikhanov will be able to convince the Kremlin to renew the agreement.

    “There won’t be any battle. Minnikhanov is not that strong,” he said.
    Tatarstan, the Last Region to Lose Its Special Status Under Putin

    Putin ain't the sort of guy who likes to share power...

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