Russia: Throwing Off Moscow's Yoke

Throwing Off Moscow's Yoke

When more than 60% of Tatarstan's voters spurned the last-ditch appeals of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and said a fervent yes to sovereignty last week, many Russians saw an ominous parallel. Recalling Mikhail Gorbachev's futile struggle to preserve the motley amalgam of nations forged into the Soviet Union, they feared that their own Russian Federation might be heading for disintegration. "We are not only on the brink of a crisis," said Valeri Zorkin, chairman of the Constitutional Court, "but on the edge of an abyss."

The autonomous republic of Tatarstan, 500 miles east of Moscow and larger than all three secessionist...

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