- Навигация по данной странице:
- Russkaya Evropa ili Evrosovok
- EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF TATARSTAN
- TATARSTANI POLITICAL REGIME: AUTHORITARIANISM “GOING GLOBAL”
- Regime Assessment: “The Winner Takes All”
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EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF TATARSTAN:
NEITHER INSIDE NOR OUTSIDE, BUT ALONGSIDE WITH RUSSIA
No region of the Russian Federation had even been in the epicenter of heated debates and controversies as Tatarstan is. The polemics around Tatarstan is focused on core issues for Russia as a whole – those of its integrity, cohesiveness and the ability to speak with the single voice internationally. This region might also provide useful insights on the limits of Putin’s recentralization project.
The case of Tatarstan clearly demonstrates how slim is the line dividing Russia’s domestic and foreign policies. Indeed, one of major challenges to Russia is to learn to live with the revitalized world of Islam both on Russia’s southern periphery and within its own boundaries1705. Tatarstan is a good illustration of the “intermestic” nature of today’s political process and close interrelatedness of its different segments.
The aim of this paper is to clarify what was peculiar in Tatarstani strategy of joining the global world, what are the main advantages and impediments of this republic’s international integration, and how the future of Tatarstan might look like. We shall start with appraising the nature of Tatarstan political regime as seen from the viewpoint of globalization paradigm. Then we shall turn to discussing the issue of sovereignty as views from different angles. This will lead us to the problem of Tatarstan’s identity policies. Finally, the paper will offer analysis of Tatarstan’s economic performance in the international arena.
TATARSTANI POLITICAL REGIME: AUTHORITARIANISM “GOING GLOBAL”?
We think the analysis of Tatarstan’s international stand has to be started with domestic political institutions, since they will tell us a lot about who are the most important political actors in the regions and what their interests are.
Regime Assessment: “The Winner Takes All”
Political assessments of Tatarstani political regime significantly vary. Some experts treat Tatarstani political system as a model for all Russia since it provides badly needed stability and governability. In fact, there are no open intra-elite conflicts in the republic1706. Those praising Tatarstani authorities for their independent stance deem that the more insistently this republic deals with the federal center, the more chances are to constrain the federal bureaucracy and to get rid of the legacy of empire. “Tatarstan has always regarded the decentralization and federalization of Russia as a way to eliminate the imperial structures and progress to a genuinely democratic society”1707, Rafael Khakim, the leading historian and political counselor to President Shaimiev, argues.
Others argue that Tatarstan is ruled by old-fashioned, Soviet-style conservative elite which is overtly non-democratic1708. Sergei Markov, Director of Moscow-based Institute for Political Studies, calls Tatarstani political regime “authoritarian” and “ethnocratic”1709, since political careers in the republic are predetermined by personal loyalties. Mary McAuley describes Tatarstan ruling elite in terms of “patronage politics” and “clan-thinking”. Tatarstani authorities, in her view, were “almost entirely concerned with gaining resources for themselves”, controlling prices, distributing the profits from regional enterprises, and deciding over the ownership of major industrial units1710. Oleg Belgorodskii, the head of the local office of the “We Are the Citizens” Coalition describes the electoral process in Tatarstan as the competition between Shaimiev’s subordinates for artificially inflating his vote results1711.
Journalists have uncovered that these are Shaimiev’s closest relatives that hold the most profitable jobs in the region, controlling up to 70% of the republic’s economic potential1712. The overwhelming majority of public offices are occupied by ethnic Tatars (though 43,3% of republic’s population are ethnic Russians). The regional media is dependent on the government in Kazan’ and reports exclusively official viewpoints1713. Much had been written that the powers of Shaimiev are unchecked because there are no political opposition, and the parliament is overwhelmingly composed of administrators dependable on chief executive’s benevolence1714. Thus, the principle of separation of powers, the cornerstone of democracy, does not work in Tatarstan. Corruption is presumably also a meaningful regional problem.
In clear conflict with the Russian legislation, municipal authorities in Tatarstan are appointed by the President. Tatarstani legislation does not forbid non-alternative elections, does not limit the number of terms in office for chief executive1715, and does not require inclusion of parties’ representatives to the local electoral committees supervising the elections and counting the votes1716. As a result, there were many testimonies of electoral fraud and other forms of falsification of the vote1717. In 2001 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has confirmed that manipulations with the boundaries of electoral districts were taking place in December 1999 election to the State Council of Tatarstan, which unleashed discussions around legitimacy of this body1718. All these facts gave reason to Professor Valentin Bazhanov, the head of Political Science Department at Ulianovsk State University, to describe Tatarstan as the factor of political instability in Russia that would generate separatist trends in the future1719.
Despite this divergence in appraisals, it is hard to disagree that President Shaimiev of Tatarstan is one of the most authoritative of all regional leaders in Russia. He was the main lobbyist of the all-Russia legislation of 2001 to allow the regional chief executives to run for reelection after two terms in office1720.