Staunton, November 12 – According to the URA.ru, experts “close to the Kremlin” say that the Presidential Administration is now discussing “territorial reform,” including the abolition of federal districts and together with them the presidential plenipotentiaries and the strengthening of plenipotentiary “curators” in the federation subjects (ura.ru/articles/1036269499).
The Urals news agency has a good track record as far as what the Kremlin is discussing, but it is uncertain whether Vladimir Putin will willingly scrap an institutional arrangement that he created in the first days of his presidency and has relied on ever since or whether such rumors reflect broader discussions about changes in the structure of the Russian Federation.
But however that may be, the URA.ru report makes the discussion at a meeting in Kazan on Thursday about federalism and the report about it the following day in Moscow’s “Kommersant” newspaper particularly important (nazaccent.ru/content/22361-v-kazani-nazvali-nacionalnye-respubliki-samymi.html and kommersant.ru/doc/3138279
The government announced the meeting only an hour or so before it began and did not invite many journalists, including any representatives from “Business Gazeta.” Clearly, someone in the Tatarstan political hierarchy hoped to avoid having many people pay attention to the kind of statements such a meeting would feature.
“On the one hand,” the paper said, there could be no question of showing some respect for Shaimiyev given his past status and involvement in the adoption of the republic’s constitution. But “on the other hand, many things which he says in such circumstances, given the current situation, apparently look entirely too bold.”
The Kazan paper noted “in this connection” that Shaimiyev was not allowed to speak “at a celebration of the 25th anniversary of parliamentarianism” at the open session but only at the closed banquet. Shaimiyev’s constant use of the term “sovereignty” is something Moscow doesn’t like as is his references, delivered in Tatar, of Tatarstan’s defense of it in its basic law.
All this suggests that something is going on and that officials in Moscow and the republics and regions are on the brink of some major organizational changes.