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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 6, 2000

6 June 2000
Shaimiev To Remain President Of Tatarstan
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, denied reports that he would accept a federal post and relinquish the presidency of the republic, Tatar-inform reported on 5 June. He made his comment after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had suggested to Shaimiev that he become the presidential representative in the Privolzhsky district (see "Tatar-Bashkir Report," 5 June 2000). Shaimiev said he feels the trust that the people of Tatarstan have for him. Shaimiev said "the fact that such a proposal was received by the head of Tatarstan is a good sign. The conversation we had with [Putin] seemed to bring an even closer understanding." Shaimiev added: "we have kind, friendly relations."

Answering a question on the order by the Russian general-prosecutor for all regions to harmonize republican laws and constitutions with federal legislation and the Russian Constitution within one month, Shaimiev said that for Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and several other republics, this process cannot be restricted to one or two months, and we discussed this with [Sergei Kirienko]. Shaimiev said the harmonization should be a bilateral process, and proposals on changing federal legislation should also be readied.

Shaimiev was also asked about the appointment of the deputy presidential representative in Tatarstan. He said there has never been a presidential representative in Tatarstan before. "We haven't discussed this issue regarding Tatarstan yet, but I have some ideas [that] we are going to discuss with Kirienko."

Tatar Television reported on 5 June, citing the Russian newspaper "Kommersant," that Shaimiev will head a working group that will be created to deal with the contradictions between regional laws and federal legislation. As "Kommersant" commented, this is a signal for governors that it is Shaimiev, not Kirienko, who will be responsible for order in the [Privolzhsky] district, and they will have to settle their problems with him." Irek Murtasin, Shaimiev's press secretary, said that the group should be formed in two or three days.

Tatar Politicians On Kirienko As Presidential Representative
Rafail Khakimov, the state adviser to Tatarstan's president, said on 5 June that the presidential representative in the Privolzhsky district, Sergei Kirienko, is a familiar and acceptable person for Tatarstan. Khakimov made his comments in an interview with Tatar-inform at the official ceremony introducing Kirienko as the representative. He said Kirienko's views mirror those often expressed in Tatarstan. He said in particular that is true as concerns the bilateral modification of federal and regional laws, adding: "Kirienko doesn't tend consider all territorial entities to be 'separatists,' and he isn't inclined to take unexpected actions."

One of the leaders of the opposition party Ravnopraviye i zakonnost?, Ildus Sultanov, told Tatar-inform that Kirienko is a punctual executor of the president's orders. He said his actions will not depend on his own position but on Putin's position. Sultanov expressed doubt that Kirienko will be able to "play his own game."

By Gulnara Khasanova