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Tatar President Criticizes Putin Reform Plans

26 October 2004 -- Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's plans to consolidate the Kremlin's power over the country's regions.

A spokesperson for Shaimiev said the Tatar president is particularly against Putin's proposal to allow a Russian president to dissolve a regional parliament if that parliament should twice refuse to support the Kremlin's choice for regional president or governor.

The spokesperson today quoted Shaimiev as saying that the region "must not accept in any form the possibility for dissolving the parliament."

Tatarstan has enjoyed a great degree of autonomy from Russia's central government since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin announced the planned changes after the Beslan school siege in which more than 300 people were killed. Putin said the changes are needed to help combat terrorism.