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Bashkir President wins Suit against Yabloko / Bashkortostan Reaction to Putins initiatives

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  • Maximilian Hartmuth
    RAKHIMOV WINS SUIT AGAINST YABLOKO. The Beloretsk City Court, which is located in Bashkorstan, ruled in favor of Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2000
      RAKHIMOV WINS SUIT AGAINST YABLOKO.

      The Beloretsk City Court, which is located
      in Bashkorstan, ruled in favor of Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov
      in
      the lawsuit Rakhimov filed against Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii.
      According to the court decision, Yavlinskii must publicly renounce his
      accusations against Rakhimov and pay him 800,000 rubles in damages,
      Kommersant
      Daily reported on 27 May. The basis of Rakhimov's allegations was 300,000
      leaflets distributed prior to the December 1999 State Duma elections in
      which
      Yabloko expressed support for Rakhimov's opponents. The leaflets called
      Rakhimov's regime a "feudal nomenklatura" and called for "honest and wise"
      leaders in the republic who would "not steal or lie, but serve the people,"
      language that the court deemed damaging to Rakhimov's honor and dignity.

      (from EWI RRR v5, n.21, 1.6.00)

      BASHKORTOSTAN: VIEWS DIFFER FROM MOSCOW. The Bashkortostani reaction to
      Putin's
      initiatives can be characterized as hidden irritation and insult. Putin's
      steps
      were not completely unexpected. Even before his election, he had demanded
      that
      Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov bring republican laws into
      conformity
      with federal norms. When the republic did not rush to do this, Putin issued
      his
      famous decree of 11 May ordering the same thing (see EWI Russian Regional
      Report
      , 24 May).
      Speaking on republican television on 20 May Rakhimov said that Putin
      had
      not exceeded his authority. But that was as far as he was willing to go.
      Rakhimov expressed doubt that the decrees would improve the social and
      economic
      situation in the regions. Rakhimov called on Putin to clearly divide power
      between the center and the regions. He said that the concept of joint
      federal
      and regional control should be removed from the constitution and the powers
      currently defined as being under joint control should be handed over to the
      regions that have the ability to deal with them independently.
      Rakhimov was skeptical about the appointment of Sergei Kirienko as the
      head
      of the Volga Federal District. "We will see what kind of aid he can provide
      us."
      Asserting that no one could take away the republic's sovereignty, Rakhimov
      called on the federal government to work together with the regions and not
      limit
      their self-sufficiency. He stressed his belief in the formula "strong
      regions-strong Russia," and denounced as baseless any attacks on the
      republic
      and its leadership for having "special privileges" and engaging in
      separatism.
      He pointed out that many regions violated Russian law and that it was not
      right
      to expect Bashkortostan alone to bring its laws into conformity.
      According to Otechestvo party leader and State Duma Member Rim Bakiev,
      it
      does not make sense to lump together donor regions like Bashkortostan and
      recipient regions that are dependent on subsidies from the federal budget
      to
      survive. He claimed that during the years of sovereignty, the republic
      moved
      >from around 70th place to become one of Russia's leaders in terms of
      social and
      economic development. The republic has also effectively used the tax
      revenue
      that it collected but did not send to the federal government. He said that
      the
      presidential representatives should focus on providing aid to the regions
      in
      improving living standards, building industry, and reviving agriculture.
      Bakiev
      thinks that the regions and federal government should work on these goals
      together.
      The republican authorities were particularly unhappy that Putin
      included
      Bashkortostan in the Volga district rather than the Urals region where it
      traditionally belongs. Rakhimov claimed that the designation would hurt the
      ties
      that have developed between Bashkortostan and the Ural regions in recent
      years.
      Republican Forestry Mininster Rim Kazakkulov said that the Samara and
      Nizhnii
      Novgorod forestry industries "which already dictate to the regional
      authorities
      of these regions how to use forestry reserves" would threaten
      Bashkortostan's
      resources. Many local observers predict dire economic consequences
      following the
      creation of the district, but these are largely without foundation.
      Realistically, however, the Bashkortostan authorities fear the development
      of
      economic ties with neighboring Volga regions which tend to be more liberal
      and
      market-oriented than Bashkortostan, where the state has almost total
      control
      over the economy. - Igor Rabinovich in Ufa

      (from EWI RRR v5, n.21, 1.6.00)
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