Russia’s new prime minister Sergei Kirienko says the federal government will continue the policy of negotiating power-sharing treaties with the regions that has become the hallmark of Russia’s federal system. In an interview with one of Tatarstan’s leading newspapers, Kirienko said the treaties have proved their value. At the same time, he said, some of the treaties signed so far give some republics too much latitude. Referring to the dozen or so agreements that accompanied the pioneering treaty signed by Tatarstan in 1994, Kirienko said the federal government intends to renegotiate some of these agreements. Its aim, he said, will be to both standardize the powers of Russia’s republics and regions and ensure that Tatarstan does not enjoy special privileges. (Vechernyaya Kazan, April 28)
Kirienko made it clear, however, that his main aim is not to cut Tatarstan down to size. His chief preoccupation at present, he said, is to reduce the large number of republics and regions that are unable to stand on their own feet economically and that are, in his words, “quite happy” to depend on the federal government for subsidies. Tatarstan is one of the so-called “donor regions” that pay more into the federal budget than they receive back in transfers. As of 1996, these regions (listed in descending order of the size of their transfers to the center per head of their population) were: Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Moscow City, Samara Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Moscow Oblast, Perm Oblast, Irkutsk Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Lipetsk Oblast, and the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. (Aleksei Lavrov, “Mify i rify rossiiskogo byudzhetnogo federalizma,” Moscow: Magistr, 1997)
NEW GOVERNMENT WANTS TO REIN IN RUSSIA’S REBELLIOUS REGIONS.