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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 30, 2000

30 October 2000
Will Power-Sharing Treaty Be Used As Basis In Law Harmonization Process?
Tatarstan's president, Mintimer Shaimiev, told a press conference in Kazan on 27 October that the work of the first deputy chief of the Russian presidential staff, Vyacheslav Surkov, the deputy chief, Dmitri Kozak, Bashkortostan's State Assembly chairman, Konstantin Tolkachev, and the deputy presidential representative in charge of laws for unification issues in the Volga federal district, Aleksandr Yestifeev, was "very intensive and they hardly managed to catch their flights back home."

The Russian officials and Bashkortostan's parliamentary chairman reportedly met with members of Tatarstan's parliament and government to discuss problems regarding regional and federal law adjustment. "I think we have reached a principal agreement," Shaimiev said. "First we summed up the current results of harmonizing Tatarstan's and Bashkortostan's laws with Russian [laws]. The discussion was not easy, but it was constructive. It appears that both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan are going in the same direction but with different approaches. During the conciliation procedures process our republic defined the list of laws to be adjusted immediately, the ones which will be analyzed, and the ones which will not be changed and can even be used in Russian legislation. First, we will consider the disaccord in the various constitutions. Bashkortostan chose another path; there they will consider the amendments to Bashkortostan's Constitution in the State Assembly already on 3 November." Shaimiev also noted that "it's very important that we reach an agreement that when bringing the laws and constitutions into conformity we will obey the power-sharing treaty between the governments of the Russian Federation and Tatarstan. Because, as you know, many opinions saying that the treaties will lose their force or will be abolished have been stated recently. The treaties will be definitely put into the basis of this [law adjustment] process. We will actively participate in bringing the laws and the constitution into conformity, and this process will be gradual." Referring to the Tatar legislation that will be brought into conformity with federal legislation immediately, Shaimiev said: "Tatarstan had no serious objections concerning the 12 laws, the rest will not be changed this year."

Daily: Kirienko Will Not Allow 'Special Terms' To Law Unification
Tatarstan's representatives on the conciliation commission for adjusting republican laws to meet federal legislation have maintained the provisions of the power-sharing treaty between Kazan and Moscow, the daily "Kommersant" reported on 27 October. According to the newspaper, "guests from Nizhny Novgorod [officials of the Russian presidential representative's office in the Volga federal district] agreed to take the treaty into consideration when unifying the laws."

Nevertheless, "Kommersant" also quoted a statement by the presidential representative in the Volga district, Sergei Kirienko, as saying "there will be no special terms for law unification for any of the regions... It is not the personal relations of Sergei Kirienko and Mintimer Shaimiev that count in this case, it is the necessity of the unification process...Conciliation commissions must not rely on any other documents than the two constitutions [federal and regional]."

Pope To Assist In Return Of Kazan Icon
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on 26 October, Tatarinform agency reported. The Pope agreed to assist in returning the ancient miracle-making icon of Kazan, "God Mother," back to Tatarstan's capital, and said that it was necessary to discuss this issue with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Aleksei II. It was also agreed that the construction of a Catholic cathedral in Kazan would begin. Later that day, Iskhakov and Tatarstan's presidential advisor on political issues, Rafael Khakimov, met with the Vatican's archbishop, the deputy prime minister, and the interior minister.

By Iskender Nurmi