Tatarstan’s controversial bill on republic citizenship will not have an easy time when it comes to the republic’s parliament, the State Council, this week. The Monitor’s correspondent in the Volga region reports that parliament’s legal advisers have returned the draft to the parliamentary drafting commission covered in comments ranging from "unclear" to "contradicts federal citizenship law" and "could create difficulties with other states." (See Monitor, February 9)
Opposition is building in other quarters as well. Farit Manasypov, described as a human rights activist, has warned in Kazan’s leading opposition newspaper that the law could have dangerous consequences if adopted as is. He points out that the underlying thrust of the bill in its present form is to decouple Tatarstani citizenship from Russian Federation citizenship — making it possible, at least in theory, for a person to give up Russian citizenship while keeping Tatarstani citizenship. Manasypov warns that Tatarstani citizens might as a result find themselves unprotected while traveling outside Russia. Using a Tatarstani passport while inside Russia could also give rise to problems, he says. Holders of Tatarstani passports might find themselves excluded from jobs and obliged to follow the often expensive registration procedures applied to foreign citizens visiting Russia. Finally, Manasypov warns that the law might violate the Russian constitution. The initial draft of Russia’s present constitution did specifically allow republics to create their own citizenship. However, all mention of this was dropped from the version finally enacted at the end of 1993, leaving the concept in limbo. Manasypov argues that all the bill will do in its present form is make for bad relations between Tatarstan and the Russian Federation. (Vechernyaya Kazan, February 4)
Saratov Wants to Renegotiate Power-Sharing Agreement.