Shaimiyev Wants Votes

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev has called to reinstate popular gubernatorial elections and criticized the government for trampling on federalism.

Shaimiyev told a Russian media congress in Kazan over the weekend that Russia should return to popular elections of regional heads, reversing the Kremlin's scrapping of gubernatorial elections in 2005.

Furthermore, the Russian president should be stripped of his power to disband regional parliaments if they reject the gubernatorial candidate he submits for their approval, Shaimiyev told the congress Saturday.

Shaimiyev's statements marked the first time a regional leader has spoken out against the current system for installing regional leaders, which was devised by the Kremlin in the wake of the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis.