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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Power-Sharing Treaty with Tatarstan Passes in 2nd Try

The State Duma approved a power-sharing treaty with Tatarstan on Wednesday, five months after the Federation Council rejected a nearly identical deal that would have reaffirmed Tatar authorities' grip on the region's oil resources.

Regional leaders nationwide have been watching the outcome of negotiations between the federal government and Tatarstan.

The mostly Muslim region has had some of the broadest autonomy among the provinces, and fears that it could try to secede -- like largely Muslim Chechnya in the 1990s -- have haunted the Kremlin since the Soviet collapse.

The Duma voted 284-119 to approve the treaty, which some observers said was largely unchanged from the proposed pact that was rejected in February by the Federation Council.

That deal, which was proposed by Tatarstan's longtime president, gave the province far more autonomy than others, obliged its leader to speak the Tatar language in addition to Russian and allowed regional authorities to issue internal passports with an insert in Tatar.

That agreement also gave Tatarstan's authorities significant power in deciding how the region's substantial oil and gas resources are developed.

It was unclear when the Federation Council would vote on the legislation.

"This is absurd. What kind of treaty can you have within a country with one of its constituent parts?" said Alexander Babakov, a leader with Kremlin-backed party A Just Russia, Itar-Tass reported.

"Every place has its own specifics, but that doesn't mean one has to reach a special agreement," he said.