31 March 2009, Tuesday, 11:45

Federative Treaty was signed 17 years ago

author: Marina Shumilova

Today is the 17th anniversary of the Federative Treaty, signed between Bashkortostan and Russian Government – the most important political document, which once had played the great role in preservation of Russian state integrity.

The work over this document started in 1990, when the real threat to collapse of Russian state had arisen. That time there were about 30 variants of the future treaty. The idea of returning to the provincial structure of Russian state was rejected but the federation of national states with privileges of titular ethnic groups on regional territories and minimal competences of the center didn’t correspond to the existing traditions of international intercourse and to the moods of the federal center. Therefore the Federative Treaty, signed on March 31, 1992, between the republics in the staff of Russian federation (that time only Tatarstan and Chechen Republic had rejected it) was rather compromising, coordinating the interests of the center and its regions in rather correct manner. Several days after on April 10, 1992, the VI Congress of elected deputies has approved the Federative Treaty and included it into the text of Russian Constitution as its inseparable part. Bashkortostan has signed the Federative Treaty adding the special Appendix to it. This Appendix has become the lawful base for further progress of bilateral relations between Russia and Bashkortostan. The first item of this document fixes that land, treasures of nature and other resources on the territory RB are considered the property of its multinational population and all questions concerning usage and possession of this property are regulated by the Republican legislation and by the agreements with the federal center. It is proved that Bashkortostan participates in international and external economic activity, determining the basic principles of taxation and budget receipts self-dependently. The Appendix also presumes foundation of the independent legislation and judicial machinery, Public Prosecution, the Bar and notarial system for lawful regulation of all issues, except those, voluntarily deputed by the Republic under the competence of federal authority. The Appendix to the Federal Treaty, based on the ideas of the Declaration about state sovereignty RB, was of principal importance for strengthening of economic and political self-dependency RB.

The Federative Treaty has undoubtedly opened a new stage in development of internal relations inside the state and the two-sided agreements between the federal center and the region, determining the mutually agreed volumes of rights and obligations have become its inseparable constituent. Tatarstan and Bashkortostan have been the first regions, signing such agreements with the center. After that more than a half of Russian regions have also signed such agreements. On the base of these agreements more than 500 contracts, building the renewed Federation up, have been signed later. This contractual practice was logically predetermined by the Constitution and the Federal Treaty.

But one has to admit that the federative state, announced by our main law, is in reality just being formed now. The reality proves how slowly this process runs and to what extent the traditions and frames of mind, determined by our per se unitary history, appear tough. As President RB Murtaza Rakhimov said in one of his reports, the essence of federalism represents the culture of compromises between the central authority and the regions, between large and small ethnic groups and between the republics. This is the horizontal state structure, which takes social-economic and cultural-spiritual interests of the republics, regions and nations in its staff into account.