Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

By Timothy J. Colton; Jerry F. Hough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY
Tatarstan Elite Bargaining and Ethnic Separatism

Pauline Jones Luong

THE DECEMBER 1993 electoral experience in Tatarstan both sets this ethnic republic apart from the other regions discussed in this volume and places it center stage. Tatarstan presents the only case in this volume in which the election to the Federal Assembly effectively failed to take place--that is, the national parliamentary election in the Tatar Republic was invalidated by insufficient voter turnout, just over 13 percent and well below the required 25 percent. 1 At the same time, Tatarstan is perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the gap between the intentions of the Moscow elite in engineering a founding election in December 1993 and the actual outcomes that this election produced. In other words, the December 1993 election was not only about consolidating democracy in Russia but also fundamentally concerned the future integrity of the Russian Federation itself President Boris Yeltsin's own emphasis on garnering support for the constitution rather than on the new parliament preceding the election is a clear indicator that, as much as Yeltsin and the Moscow elite wanted to solidify their own roles in a democratic Russia, they wanted at least as much, if not more, to solidify the Russian Federation. Instead, the December 1993 election in Tatarstan invoked existing separatist tendencies among the re-

____________________
I wish to thank all of those individuals in Tatarstan who were interviewed or provided information for their assistance with this chapter. None of these individuals, however, are accountable for the analysis presented.

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