Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 121

The Monitor’s correspondent in the Volga region reports that Tatarstan’s President Mintimer Shaimiev is taking revenge on those responsible for last month’s tussle in which a competitor ran against the president’s nominee for speaker of the republic’s parliament. Shaimiev’s candidate, Farid Mukhametshin, was eventually elected on May 27. The president, however, is not accustomed to being crossed in his own republic and has made no attempt to hide his displeasure. (See the Monitor, June 2 and 9)

On May 28, the president abruptly dismissed his chief of staff, Khalyaf Nizamov, “at his own [Nizamov’s] request.” This week, Shaimiev has dismissed Zevdet Minnakhmetov, head of administration in Biektau District. Shaimiev appoints local heads of administration in the republic so that he may sack them as he pleases. Minnakhmetov’s dismissal was carried out in what our correspondent says was an exceptionally harsh manner for Tatarstan, where things are generally done with more delicacy. Minnakhmetov was accused of misusing public funds, concealing information about his income and showing “personal immodesty” in his housing arrangements. The republic media say, moreover, that the dismissals of Nizamov and Minnakhmetov are connected. They claim the two men were behind the decision to put up a competitor to Shaimiev’s candidate for parliamentary speaker. Some observers have said the affair was just a well-meaning attempt to ensure that the election was contested in a democratic manner. Shaimiev does not share that opinion. He told Tatarstan Television on June 2 it was a “dirty” bid to abandon the centrist line the republic has followed under his leadership. The local media are following developments with relish and predict that more heads will roll.