Tuesday, January 28, 2020

‘Hot Heads’ in Constitutional Working Group had to Be Restrained on Issues of Federalism, Mukhametshin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 23 – Farid Mukhametshin, who represents Tatarstan in the Federation Council, served on Putin’s constitutional working group and shared his experience upon returning to Kazan. He said that some “hot heads” wanted to scrap key language in the current document and had to be restrained.

            That was especially the case on issues involving what for Tatarstan is a central one, the meaning of federalism, where some participants in the meeting wanted too do away with “the compromise achieved between the center and the regions” at the time of the adoption of the 1993 basic law (business-gazeta.ru/article/455033).

            Some “hot heads,” Mukhametshin says, “wanted to “change the name of the country” so that it would no longer be “the Russian Federation” but simply “Russia” and one populated “only by ‘the ethnic Russian people,” adding that such changes would have the most harmful consequences.

            The Tatar senator said he had told them that 26 years ago, he had participated along with then-Tatarstan president Mintimir Shaymiyev in the drafting of the current constitution. There were many arguments then. But “to write today, ‘Russia for the Russians’ or something like that is to belittle federalism … We maintained our position that this must not be done.”

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