is debating a bill to offer citizenship in the republic to Tatars everywhere, whether or not they reside in Tatarstan or even in the Russian Federation. If the bill passes, it would decouple Tatarstan citizenship from citizenship in the Russian Federation, with uncertain legal consequences. Tatars constitute the second largest ethnic group in the Federation (after Russians), but less than half live in Tatarstan.
Tatarstan was the first constituent republic of the Russian Federation to sign a power-sharing treaty with the central government. That agreement, which gave Tatarstan a number of privileges denied to other regions, became a template for other ethnic republics. There are now forty such pacts, including some with ethnic Russian regions.
Not surprisingly, the favoritism shown to the ethnic republics does not sit well in the Russian regions. Last week, for example, the governor of