Meanwhile, the Kremlin is chipping away at the bilateral power-sharing treaties it signed during the Yeltsin era with forty-two of Russia’s eighty-nine republics and regions (see the Monitor, July 3). The Putin leadership has made no secret of its dissatisfaction with this legacy of the Yeltsin era, and Putin recently set up a commission to consider the future of the institution. Republics such as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan have made it equally clear that they have no intention of abandoning their treaties that, in their view, give their regions essential guarantees of the autonomy they won during the Yeltsin years. These republics have, however, been forced to take part in negotiations to “harmonize” their legislation with federal law.
Their determination to cling to their positions will not be strengthened by the news that four regions–the Republic of Marii-El and the oblasts of Perm, Ulyanovsk and Nizhny Novgorod–have denounced the bilateral treaties that they signed with the federal center during the Yeltsin leadership (Russian agencies, July 7). For the time being, the Kremlin says it has no intention of abolishing the treaties, but this latest move sends a strong signal that, in the Kremlin’s view, the days of Russia’s “asymmetrical federation” are numbered.
PRIMORYE STILL FAR FROM POLITICALLY STABLE.