Kremlin alarm as Buddhist region tries to go alone
Thursday 19 November 1998
The government reacted with predictable speed after Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the flamboyant president of Kalmykia, a semi-autonomous republic on the north shores of the Caspian, declared on television that he might seek "associate" membership of the 89-region federation. Associate membership appears to mean having significantly greater independence, whileremaining formally within Russian borders.
The spectre of the federation's break-up is a sensitive issue for the Kremlin, which ordered troops into Chechnya in 1994 in a vain effort to keep it under Moscow's control.
Yesterday Moscow showed every sign of taking Mr Ilyumzhinov's rumblings seriously. Kalmykia has part of the shoreline of the strategically important Caspian Sea, which it would be loath to lose.
Critically, Mr Ilyumzhinov's threats came with an announcement that Kalmykia will not be contributing any more tax to Moscow's coffers - a sum estimated at $200m - as it was no longer getting funds from the federal budget.
Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the lower house, described Kalmykia's threats as "no joke", amid calls from parliament for federal prosecutors to investigate the republic's finances.
The National Security Council, which will convene to discuss the issue in the next few days, said in a statement yesterday it would make recommendations to Mr Yeltsin on concrete measures "to ensure the unconditional observation of the Russian constitution".
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...