Monday, December 19, 2022

Kazan Playing Chicken with Moscow over President Title Right to the End -- and Maybe Beyond

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 19 – Kazan has resisted Moscow’s demands that it stop calling the head of Tatarstan president for more than a decade ( But many observers had assumed that this standoff was coming to an end because Russian law now requires Kazan to do just that.

            However, the Tatarstan State Council which has the action on this did not do so at its meeting on December 15 and has not put this subject on the agenda for its December 23 meeting, the last of this year and when such a move would have to be taken for Tatarstan to remain in conformity with Russian law requiring such a change by January 1, 2023.

            Given the repeated assertions by Tatarstan’s leadership that they want their republic to remain within the Russian legal field, many had thought that Kazan would at least address the issue later this week. But that now may not be the case, some experts are suggesting (

            Only four housekeeping measures are currently on the agenda for the State Council, although it is possible that they may add others, including the constitutional issue of the title of the head of the republic. But there doesn’t seem much urgency or even likelihood that they will do so at this late date.

            Liliya Mavrina, the secretary of the parliament, said that the committee working on language concerning the change in the title of the head of the republic was focusing on the issue, “but,” she said, “we have until January 1. That is another two full weeks.”

            A Tatarstan State Council source speaking anonymously told Kommersant that “we cannot leave the legal field but at the same time we cannot deviate from the interests of Tatarstan.

            Moscow commentator Konstantin Kalachev thinks that Tatarstan will bow before the end of the year, but Sergey Sergeyev, a Kazan political scientist, says it is quite possible that the Tatarstan authorities may delay again. This is “a difficult issue” for them because “they do not want to give away the attributes of sovereignty.”

            If Moscow makes a federal case out of this, Kazan will conform, he suggests; but if it doesn’t – and the Kremlin has other issues on its plate just now – Kazan may continue to call its head president for some time to come.

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