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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 3, 2000

3 August 2000
Tatarstan's Parliamentary Speaker On Federation Council Affair

27 July

In his interview with Russian Izvestia newspaper Tatarstan's parliamentary speaker Farit Mukhametshin commented on the attitude of Russian senators to the draft law on reforming the Federation Council. Mukhametshin stated that senators tried to protect their interested by at least obtaining the right to call back the representatives of their regions who will enter the reformed Federation Council. He said that this initiative was actively opposed by the lower chamber of Russian legislative assembly - State Duma. Tatarstan's State Council chairman stated in his interview that he "proposed to establish a new parliamentary chamber - chamber of nationalities, or it will turn out that ethnic republics�are not represented in parliament" and there will be no one to protect "interests of peoples before the federal authorities. Even in the times of Communist regime in the Supreme Council of USSR there was a chamber of nationalities, where republics could solve their problems with central government..."

Mukhametshin admitted that the current reforms in Russian legislative assembly "had contradictions with Russian Constitution." He said that "before adopting the law on�new Federation Coucil, it's necessary to amend the Constitution... It turns out that we amend the Constitution by some ordinary law. I think there will be State Duma deputies who will appeal against this to the Constitution Court."

He said that there were "offers to include the leaders of some of the subjects of Russian Federation" to the State Council which was offered to be established by Russian president. "But" - speaker said, "why is it necessary to discriminate other republics and oblasts? If we include the governors of all regions to the Council where will be the heads of regional parliaments? There are no answers to this questions so far."

Kiriyenko Comments On Tatarstan's Status

2 August

Russian Izvestia newspaper published an article "About sovereignty tete-a-tete" devoted to the issue of Tatarstan's sovereignty declared on 30th August 1990. Article noted that the coming 10 anniversary of Tatarstan's independence could be blacked by the recent ruling of Russian Constitution Court, which formally abolished the sovereignty of republics in Russian Federation as "violating the sovereignty of Russian Federation." Izvestia correspondent asked the Russian presidential representative in Privolzhsky administrative district Sergey Kiriyenko whether he would join the celebrations in Kazan. Kiriyenko answered that he did not get any invitation yet but he didn't see any reasons to refuse it.

"I think" - he said, "sovereignty of republics is beautiful and good as long as it doesn't become a threat to the sovereignty of Russian Federation. Here it is essential to follow the requirements of the Constitution which allow to preserve the integrity of federation. There are many spheres where the independence of republics is really positive. The question is only about how much of sovereignty is given."

Presidential Advisor On Verdict Of Russian Constitution Court

3 August

In his interview with Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets v Tatarstane newspaper advisor to Tatarstan's president Rafael Khakimov gave his personal opinion on the ruling of Russian Constitution Court, which announced the souveregnty declarations of republics in Russian Federation to be illegal. Khakimov stated that "Constitution Court made a contradicting decision. It didn't use the Constitution as a wholesome document and analyze all the articles referring to the problem."

According to the presidential advisor, Article 5 in Russian Constitution stipulated that subjects of Russian Federation were not equal to each other but the were equal before the federal government. He also emphasized that the same article announced the state-like status of republics and the Article 11 said that relations between the federal center and the republics could be built on the basis of treaties.

Khakimov told the newspaper that he personally knew the chairman of Constitution Court Marat Baglay. In Khakimov's words Baglay "is a much more educated lawyer" than himself and he used to hear "numerous very sensible judgements about federalism" from Baglay. He said that "it's impossible to believe that lawyers made this decision [verdict regarding sovereignty]. This decision was purely political. If we take a geopolitical view, Russia returned to its borders of the times of Peter the Great. Looks like Russia's political thinking returned to the epoch when there was a monarch and all decision were made in Moscow Kremlin."

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi