This week i am going to discuss further on Tuva Republic and it's post 1992 developments.This entry primarily focuses on the later years of Boris Yeltsin and the initial years of Vladimir Putin.Some of the major developments occurred in this phase.First of all it witnessed the consolidation of Russian Federation and the further integration of Tuva with Russia.This period also witnessed the major power change in both Moscow and Kyzyl (Tuva's Capital).In Moscow Vladimir Putin followed his patron Boris Yeltsin.In Kyzyl Tuvan veteran Sherigool Oorzhak replaced with Sholban Kara-ool. There were some important constitutional changes also took place in Tuva. This entry is going to discusses in detail about the incidents which led to these decisive changes.
Russian political scientist Alexei Salmin discusses in his work ; The Disintegration of Russia about the four geographical regions which are considered as potential "hotspots" in Russian Federation.These regions have significant number of Islamic or Buddhist or Animist population. Aleksander Dugin is also sharing the similar principle and he opines that the the political ambitions of the elites of these regions may led to the disintegration of Russian Federation.
Salmin's four regional hotspots are : North Caucasus "hotspot", Volga Area "hotspot", Siberian/Trans-Baikal "hotspot" and Northern Belt "hotspot". Among these Tuva and other Buddhist republics (Buryatia and Khakassia are the other two) come under Siberian/ Trans-Baikal hotspot. In opposite to Salmin's belief Vukovic doesn't see any political separation of Tuva from Russian Federation but he concerns about the population ratio of Tuvans and Russians in Tuva. Vukovic also reminds us that the number of Russian speakers are decreasing in Tuva and at the same time the number of Tuvan speakers are increasing.It is primarily due to the mass out migration of Russians from Tuva and the resurgence of Tuvan culture after the seventy year old Soviet rule.As discussed in the earlier entry, in 1990 the Tuvan leaders joined hands with Yeltsin who encouraged federal subjects to fight for political sovereignty.Due to this Tuva upgraded to a socialist republic and earlier it was an autonomous republic.In 1993 Tuva adopted new constitution and Sherig-ool Oorzhak became the first directly elected president of Tuva. A radical Tuvan group which known as Free Tuva advocated for an independent Tuva but it was not enough to provoke the support of majority.Vukovic says in the first chapter of the Tuva constitution, Tuva was stated to be a sovereign democratic country within the Russian Federation with the right to self-determination and the secession from the Russian Federation through a national referendum.Besides Tuvan constitution guaranteed the local parliament's authority over critical issues such as war and peace.
Tuva rejected the first federal constitution of the Russian Federation because it didn't recognize Tuva's sovereignty and self-determination. The population of Tuva preferred Tuva republic's constitution over Russian Federation's.So there was major disagreement between Tuva and federal agreement over the republic's constitution.According to Hsu the major disagreements were on the following points: Tuva's sovereign status under Russian Federation and it's right to separate from the federation through a plebiscite,2) Tuvan government's precedence over federal government if there is any political crisis in Moscow similar to 1990-91,3) Tuva's opposition against the sale of the republic's land, 4) Federal government's opposition against Tuvan leaders holding of public office at the federal government ,5) The republic's right over the appointment of judges and prosecutors and right of Tuvan bodies in the matter of important federal issues such as war and peace.
In opposition to the Tuva's radical stand the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin reminded it's leaders about the poor financial position of Tuva in comparison to other republics and Moscow gave substantial financial support to Tuva for building a National Museum and a Leather Plant. Kremlin was aware of Tuva's desperate situation.Kyzyl didn't have much resources and it's remote location kept it away from all major rail networks of the Russian Federation.Local economy was still primitive and it couldn't challenge federal government for quite long time.At the end of the Yeltsin's period it almost reached in an agreement with Moscow for further amendment of it's constitution which should comply with the rules of the federal one.Vladimir Putin was against the extra constitutional rights of ethnic republics.In March 2000 just after his ascension to the Russia's supreme post he stated that : we created small, isolated islands of political power, but we did not build bridges to connect these islands. Putin suggested Russia's reorganization into seven federal districts instead of the then 89 federal entities and Presidents for each of these.But in 2005 through an another constitutional amendment the federal government ensured that the future heads of the federal subjects should be nominated by the Russian President and it later approved by the regional parliaments. Putin also demanded federal subjects laws should be in harmony with the federal constitution. Tuva grudgingly accepted the new amendments and replaced it's old constitution with the new one in 2001.This new constitution changed the structure of the Tuvan parliament and it also abolished the office of Presidency in favour of Chairman.
But the Sherigool-Oorzhak - Kaadyr-ool Bicheldei competition in 1990s and United Russia Party - The Russian Party of Life competition in early 21st century made Tuva's political scene quite unstable.It also led to a political stalemate in 2007 for almost six months.This crisis ended only after the removal of Oorzhak with the former wrestler Sholban Kara-ool. Kara-ool was after all belonged to United Russia camp which supported Kremlin and he also considered as close to Sergei Shoigu the second in Russian power hierarchy just after Putin himself. Still young Kaadyr-ool was a political lightweight in comparison with his well experienced predecessor.It made Kyzyl more subservient to Moscow. Practically it was the end of Tuva's stand for the political independence from Russian Federation.But i feel that Tuva is pacified for a while and it's further stability depends on the strength of Moscow and it's ability to provide financial support to Kyzyl. But any political turmoil in Moscow will again revive Tuva's desire for independence.
1) Galeotti, Mark (1995), " From Tuva To Tyva," IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin, pp: 78-80
2) Hsu, Kuei- hsiang (2007), " The Relationship between the Republic of Tuva and the Russian Federal Government since the 1990s," Bimonthly Journal on Mongolian and Tibetan Current Situation , Vol.17, No.1 : 1-22.
3) Vukovic, Nebojsa (2011), " Comparative Geopolitical Analysis of "Hotspots" in The Russian Federation and in The Republic of Serbia," Journal of the Geographical Institute " Jovan Cvijic", 61 (1) : 61 - 83.