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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 11, 2000

11 July 2000
Constitutional Court Chairman Says Some Of Tatarstan's Laws To Be Revoked
Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Marat Baglay took part in the 7 July meeting of federal officials dealing with bringing the legislation of Russian republics into line with federal legislation, the ITAR-TASS agency reported. Baglay stated at the meeting that the Constitutional Court recently declared all provisions on sovereignty in the basic laws of six Russian republics (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Adygeya, Komi, North Osetia-Alania and Ingushetia) to contravene federal legislation and therefore unconstitutional. Those provisions include ones stating that the republics have the status of a subject of international law and sovereignty over natural resources.

Tatarstan's leadership has so far not commented on the Constitutional Court's.

Federal Law Enforcement Officials Demand Laws Adopted By Regions Be Amended
The consultative board of officials representing the federation's constitutional control bodies convened on 7 July, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported the next day. Russian Minister of Justice Yuri Chaika and first deputy prosecutor-general Yuri Biryukov told the meeting that their bodies aim at solving the problem of the lack of conformity between federal legislation and laws adopted by subjects of Russian Federation. According to Chaika, the right to examine laws adopted by the Russian regions given to his ministry in 1994 "is not enough." Reportedly his ministry demands the right to file complaints against some of those laws without special permission from Russia's prosecutor-general.

Chaika said that he already discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the prospects for forming a united federal register of laws. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported that this would "finally force some of the republics, including Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Kalmikiya, to send their laws to Moscow for an expertise assessment.

Biryukov claimed that the "odious norms of some of the subjects of the Russian Federation regarding their sovereignty represent an encroachment on the sovereignty of Russia."

He stated that it is also unacceptable that the Ingush Constitution stipulates Ingushetia's territorial claims on North Osetia. In Biryukov's words, the prosecutor-general's office "continues analyzing" the power-sharing treaties signed by the federal center and 68 subjects of Russian Federation. He said that the majority of laws requiring the attention of federal prosecutors concern economic issues such as "illegal restrictions on imports and exports of agricultural products in Russian regions."

Some two years ago, RFE/RL Kazan bureau reported that Tatarstan banned the export of meat to keep the relatively low domestic prices from rising to the level of Moscow and other cities.

Some media/observers suggest that the creation of constitutional courts in regions of Russian Federation could ease the work of federal law enforcement bodies. The 10 constitutional courts in Russia include the newly formed Constitutional Court of Tatarstan, headed by former republican chief prosecutor Sayfikhan Nafiyev.

Russian Duma Deputies Meet Shaimiev
Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev met with a group of Russian State Duma deputies in Kazan on 10 July, Tatarinform agency reported the same day. The group representing the Russian Regions faction in the federal lower house included Duma deputy speaker Artur Chelengarov, chairman of the parliamentary committee on budget and taxes Alexander Zhukov, and member of the parliamentary commission on regional policy and parliamentary member representing Tatarstan Oleg Morozov. Deputies reportedly told Shaimiev that they were impressed by Tatarstan's economic successes as demonstrated by the production facilities of the Kazan Helicopters Plant, the Kazan Motor Factory and the continuing construction of new homes for people dwelling in Kazan's slums.

Deputies also informed the press conference on 10 July that their visit "was by no means connected with the current conflict between the lower and upper chambers of the Russian legislative assembly."

TPC Holds Closed Meeting
The moderate nationalist Tatar Public Center [TPC] held a closed meeting on 8 July in Kazan, the TPC press service reported on 11 July. Taking part in the meeting were TPC members from major cities and agricultural regions of Tatarstan. The TPC press service reports that the center "analyzed the situation with recent decrees of Russian president V.Putin." And it issued a resolution on holding a plenary session on 29 July to prepare for the next TPC congress and discuss its agenda.

Meanwhile, nationalists will picket the building of Tatarstan's parliament on the eve of the 10th anniversary of republic's declaration of independence on 28 August. The TPC also plans to start collecting humanitarian aid for victims of the Chechen war.

By Iskender Nurmi