Putin’s Regional Amalgamation Plan Faces Court Challenge

March 11, 2015
Perm | spbprazdnik.com

Staunton, March 9 – Vladimir Putin’s plans to amalgamate smaller non-Russian federal subjects with larger and predominantly ethnic Russian regions, plans that have been on hold since 2008, is being challenged by a Perm activist who wants the Russian Supreme Court to overturn the inclusion of Komi-Permyak Autonomous Province into the new Perm region.

The suit, which Aleksandr Chetin, the head of that region’s Union of Patriotic Forces of Perm, names Putin as respondent and is unlikely to have any legal consequences: the court likely will not even agree to hear it. But it reflects the continuing anger of many in Russia’s regions about Moscow’s lies and top-down style of rule.

In court papers, Chetin says that “not one of the points of the agreement which the governor of Perm Province … and the head of the Komi-Permyak autonomous Province … signed before the referendum was fulfilled” and thus the referendum itself and the federal law adopted about it are null and void.

According to the Perm activist, “as a result of the unification in fact took place a change in the constitutional and legal status of the Komi-Permyak autonomous district” and consequently, a new statue should have been adopted at a joint session of the parliaments of both regions. But that did not happen.

As a result, he argues, “at the present time, legally, Perm region does not exist.”

Perm region was created on December 1, 2005, as a result of the unification of Perm Province and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous District. That followed a December 2003 referendum and the adoption of a law by the Duma and Federation Council on its formation, rather than by the two federal subject legislatures as Russian constitutional law requires.

This is not the first time he has brought suit on this issue, but his legal argument now is more narrowly drawn. Earlier, the courts rejected his position and his appeals to Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have “remained without an answer,” the Perm region news service reports. It is unclear if anything has changed, but this suit is attracting more attention in Moscow.

But as she points out, “by 2008, this process was stopped;” and now, as Chetin’s suit shows, there are some who want not only to block it from being renewed but also to reverse what was one of Putin’s signature efforts during his first two terms.