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Tatar-Bashkir Report: May 23, 2000

23 May 2000
Shaimiev Speaks Again About Putin's Decree On Administrative Districts
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, said in an interview that the recent decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin dividing Russia into seven administrative districts was positive because "it would help to restore vertical power in the Russian Federation." The interview was given to Russian Public Television's [ORT] Aleksandr Dorenko on 20 May. Shaimiev said the "new Russian president had two main levers at his disposal, a lever of political power and [one of] economic power. He preferred to start with the first lever, which is not the main one."

Answering a question about his own political influence in the Volga region outside of Tatarstan, Shaimiev said that over 4 million ethnic Tatars live in that area. "But," he said, "no one aims to form some new political or economic unit here."

Radio Russia Correspondent Leaves Unity Political Council
The Radio Russia correspondent in Kazan, Djaudat Aminov, announced on 22 May that he has left the political council of the Russian Edinstvo (Unity) party branch in Tatarstan. He explained his decision by saying that the "activities of the Unity branch involved numerous violations." He claimed that "many people told him that they were forced to join the party." Aminov cited the Moscow district of Kazan as an example, saying that employees of the district administration "were threatened with dismissals in case they didn't agree to join Unity." He also blamed the administration of Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, "for practicing similar measures."

The same day, presidential administration official Irina Terentiyeva told local television that "such accusations were improper." The deputy chairman of the local Unity department, Shamil Karatay, also refuted the notion that members were forced to join the party.

Presidential Adviser Speaks For Preserving Current Federal Assembly
Rafael Khakimov, adviser to Tatarstan's president, questioned President Vladimir Putin's proposal to reform the Russian Federation Council. In an interview with republican television on 21 May, Khakimov said that the Federation Council is a body "that sometimes reveals that the interests of Russian regions counterbalance the interests of the federal center." The draft law proposed by Putin on 17 May would remove regional heads from the Federation Council in order to let them "concentrate on the specific problems facing their territories." Khakimov said that "if the members of the Federation Council would be elected, how would the council differ from the State Duma?" It is his opinion that the Federation Council should not be "neglected as a stabilizing force" in Russia's legislative assembly.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi