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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 19, 2000

19 May 2000
Tatar President On Putin Plans To Strengthen Statehood
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told the press in Kazan on 18 May about the plans the Kremlin has to strengthen the Russian state and consolidate power. Shaimiev's news conference was held upon his return from Moscow where he participated in a Federation Council session and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Shaimiev said open and constructive dialogue Putin -- which lasted over three hours -- touched upon the question of the center strengthening its power. He said all over Russia power has been lost at all levels. Shaimiev said that perhaps this is not felt very much in Tatarstan since it and one or two other regions have more autonomy than the other Russian regions. He added that the lack of powers the president had vis-a-vis the heads of territorial entities resulted in a loss of the executive's vertical power.

Shaimiev stressed the following points listed by Putin: vertical authority should be firmed up and function from top to bottom, that is, from the president down to local executive bodies; the interaction of the federal bodies with those in the regions should be more efficient in future with the newly-created federal districts and the presidential representatives in them; executive, legislative, and judicial powers should be prominently separated. He said that in order to ensure a separation of executive and legislative powers, a proposal has been made to change the way in which the Federation Council is formed. Shaimiev said that according to a draft law, each region will have two representatives to the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, one suggested by a legislative body (the State Council in Tatarstan), though the candidate cannot be from among the republic's deputies, and the second proposed by the head of the territorial entity (the president in Tatarstan). Taking into account that the heads of the republics and regions and their legislative bodies will lose their membership in the Federation Council, Shaimiev suggested to Putin that a council of territorial leaders, chaired by the Russian president, be set up to represent the interests of the regions at the top level. He said the possibility should also exist for the head of the Russian government to meet with the Federation Council to negotiate economic issues, as it used to be in the Federation Council during the "Governmental Hour."

Shaimiev said the legislation introduced by Putin grants the president of the Russian Federation the right to dismiss the leaders of territorial entities if they infringe upon the constitution and/or other laws, and he could also dissolve regional legislative bodies. Similar powers are supposed to be given to the heads of the regions in regard to lower-ranking regional bodies. Shaimiev said this proposal was approved by a majority of regional leaders. They all are sick of anarchy. He added that this is a complex process which will be most likely handled judicially since everything has to be done within the framework of constitutional legislation.

Tatarstan And India To Boost Economic And Culture Ties
The Indian ambassador to Russia, Satinder Kumar Lamba, met with Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov during a visit to Tatarstan on 18 May, Tatar-Inform reported. While reviewing prospects for cooperation, Lamba said that spurring on the development of economic relations is among the main aims of his visit. The ambassador said a group of Indian businessmen had also arrived in Tatarstan to establish business contacts. He cited delivery of Indian-produced medicines to Tatarstan as one of the directions for trade cooperation between the two countries to develop. During the visit, a Center for Developing Cultural Relations between Tatarstan and India was opened in Kazan. Lamba reported at the opening ceremony that a declaration on strategic partnership between Russia and India is expected to be signed during a visit by Russian President Putin to New Delhi scheduled for October.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova