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Tatarstan: the search for political identity/Tataristan: bir siyasi kimlik arayisi.

ABSTRACT

This paper unfolds the historical development of the relationship between Tatars and Russians. In doing so, first it explores the roots of the relationship by discussing cultural, religious, and socio-economsic factors. In the second part, it examines the recent developments that have occurred under Putin's administration as well as the ongoing debates related to the status of the republic and the unity of the Russian Federation. Finally, the research ends up predicting the future of relations between ethnic groups and presents a view on upcoming shift in ruling positions from both sides in 2008.

OZET

Bu makale Tatarlar ve Ruslar arasindaki iliskilerin tarihsel surecini aciklamaktadir. Bunu yaparken; ilk once kulturel, dini ve sosyo-ekonomik faktorleri ele alarak bu iliskinin koklerine inmektedir. Ikinci bolumde ise, Putin doneminde meydana gelen son gelismelerle birlikte cumhuriyetin vaziyeti ve Rusya Federasyonu'nun birligi konularinda suregiden tartismalar ele alinmistir. Son olarak, calisma etnik gruplar arasindaki iliskilerin gelecegini ongorup, iki tarafta da 2008'de olusacak yonetim degisiklikler hakkinda mutalaalar sunarak sona ermektedir.

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Characterized by an unusually high level of autonomy from Moscow, Tatarstan is currently one of 21 ethnicity based republics in the Russian Federation. Tatars' historical search for their identity has taken centuries since invasion by Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible in the 1550s. Despite everlasting controversies among politicians as well as scholars advocating either federalist or unitarist views, the current friendly relationship that has been reached between the nations today serves as a model not only for all other ethnic regions of Russia but also to the world community facing intercultural and religious disputes. Current President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev, known as one of the most powerful political figures in modern Russia, in one of his recent speeches has described the situation as follows: "Russians and Tatars have different cultures--Slavic and Turkic. The history of mutual relations was rather complex, that was kept in the mentality of the people as they adhere to different religious beliefs. The way things developed in Bosnia or the Chechen Republic was quite possible also in Tatarstan. However, Tatarstan managed to develop the model of democracy which assumes carrying out the policy of "balance of interests" among ethno-confessional groups and parties. Tatarstan cannot be the subject of international law in full sense of this word, but within the limits of its own powers Tatarstan pursues a policy which promotes not only economic development, but also mutual understanding between the East and the West, the Islamic world and Europe".

The current stability achieved in the Republic of Tatarstan with all its benefits and tensions has deep roots. Thus I divide my analysis into two parts. Firstly I will go through a historical development of the relationship between two nations. In parallel I will also try to explore the roots and nature of the relationship discussing cultural, religious, and other socio-economic factors. In the second part I will refer to the recent developments under Putin's administration and ongoing debates related to the status of the republic and the unity of the Russian Federation. Finally I will turn back to the research question: Has Tatarstan found its identity or not? What can be expected to change after the upcoming shift in ruling positions from both sides in 2008?

The modern Republic of Tatarstan originates in the 8th century. Historians confirm that Bulghars, ancestors of Tatars, had wide trade links with Middle East, Baltic, and Eurasia. The Volga and Kama rivers played an important role as the state's major transportation veins. The proud nation of Bulghars was one of the dominating ethnicities of the region and played a greater role in a life of the neighboring nations. For instance, Volga Bulgaria was one of the first states in Europe to begin to melt the pig-iron. Together with metallurgy, jeweler art, the tanning industry, science and education has been developed. In his article Gorenburg states that "The Bulghars, established a powerful state that controlled the middle Volga region for over 400 years" (D. Gorenburg, 247). Islam, which had been introduced to the region in 922, had a great impact on further development of relations with neighbors such as Khazarz and Kievan Rus. This key part of Tatar identity historically turned the region into the "northernmost outpost of Islam in the world" (D. Gorenburg, 247). The unity of the country, the presence of regular armed forces, and well trained security forces allowed it to resist the Mongolian aggressors. Only on the fourth attempt, in 1236, with superior forces was it possible for Mongols to break the resistance of Bulghars. After that the Mongols needed to contain huge garrisons to pacify the rebellious region.

Bulgaria became a part of the Golden Horde. However it was clear that Bulghars or so far Tatars were freedom-loving people. As a result of the disintegration of Golden Horde a new feudal state, the Khanate of Kazan (1438), had been established in the territory of the Volga region. The majority of the urban population was literate. Large libraries were present in mosques and madrassahs. Kazan became a center of science and theology. It was the main political rival of Muskovite Russian state.

The 16th century was a period of peak conflicts between Kazan and Moscow. If in the first half of the century Tatars were dominating, controlling regions of Nizhniy Novgorod, Murom, Klinskoe, and Vladimir; 1552 is recognized as the downfall of Kazan. The Khanate of Kazan had ceased to exist and had been attached to the Russian state. The Khanate's administration was eliminated; pro-Moscow and neutral nobles kept their lands, while others were executed. Tatars were then resettled far away from rivers, roads and the city itself. Free lands were settled by Russians and sometimes by pro-Russian Tatars. Orthodox bishops forcibly baptized many Tatars. For some it was the end, for others the beginning of a new struggle.

Kazan later became one of the important industrial and cultural centers of Russia. In 1708 the territory of today's Tatarstan was a part of a huge Kazan province, the initial borders of which reached in the north up to Kostroma, in the east up to Urals Mountains, in the south up to the river Terek, and in the West up to Murom and Penza. Kazan kept the status of the capital of the province for more than 200 years. Despite the destruction of all mosques, Tatars managed to keep their religion. Finally, in the term of Catherine they succeeded in getting the first mosque long sought for.

A significant step in the reconstruction of the statehood of Tatar people was the declaration of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1920. However, that was not exactly what Tatar nationalists fought for. During the Civil War of 1918-1920 they attempted to establish an independent republic: Idel-Ural. The Idel-Ural State did include much wider territory, as many Tatars were living in neighboring provinces like Bashkortostan and Chuvashistan. The attempt was put down by the Bolsheviks. Tatar leaders repeatedly raised claims to union republic status, but were refused by authorities in Moscow. As Stern has described it, "The Soviet state opposed the idea of an Idel-Ural republic. Stalin employed his divide-and-rule tactics to sabotage pan-Turkic enthusiasm and to undermine the Idel-Ural idea" (J.E. Stern, 60).

The end of the 20th century has opened new opportunities for the development of statehood of Tatarstan. On August, 30th, 1990 the Declaration on the state sovereignty of the republic was signed. In March of 1992 the referendum was held. On November the 6th of the same year the new Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan was accepted. According to the national will, it claimed the new state status of the republic. The above process was not easy. In the beginning of the 90s conditions in the Republic were very strained. On the one hand, there were radical political movements which demanded full independence of Tatarstan, on the other hand, Russians were afraid of the Tatar nationalism and disintegration of Russia. This opposition of Tatars and Russians, as well as Tatarstan with the center defined a political configuration. These two questions are closely connected; the character of attitudes and dialog with the center had to answer on a question on prospects of development of Tatarstan.

"With the beginning of perestroika Tatarstan adhered to a principle of centrism, i.e. leaving from extreme measures that was accompanied by public condemnation of radicalism, whether it be in the form of nationalism or chauvinism, fascism or a vahhabism", comments Shaimiev later. The position of the most known political leaders and the mass-media was very important for the formation of the political culture that rejects extreme measures.

Russia, however, has been frightened by a so-called "parade of sovereignties" of republics and prepared in 1992 the Federal Contract which in essence was the agreement on differentiation of powers between the Government and the subjects of federation. The Chechen Republic and Tatarstan have refused to sign the Federal Contract. Tatarstan's motivation was the recognition that by then the republic had much more real rights, than it was supposed in the Federal Contract. For example, it was not clear, who owns bowels, Federation or republic, and in fact for Tatarstan the question of the possession of oil stocks was the major economic and even a political question.

During negotiations between Tatarstan and Russia the requirement about carrying out in the republic a referendum for reception of the mandate from the population on the increase of the political status has been put forward. In 1992 the referendum took place. Despite the pressure of the central mass media, the open propagation against the Republic, the performances of the President of the Russian Federation, the negative decision of the Supreme body (parliament) of the Russian Federation, and direct threats (including power) to address of Tatarstan, the majority of the population (61.4 %) supported a rate on fastening of the status in the bilateral contract with the federal center. The results of the referendum have solved two questions: the center did not attempt to apply force against the Republic and the stabilization of interethnic attitudes inside of the Republic had begun. The referendum and the subsequent acceptance of the Constitution of Tatarstan in many respects foreshadowed the signing of the Treaty on February, 15th, 1994.

On February, 15th, 1994, the Treaty On Delimitation of Jurisdictional Subjects and Mutual Delegation of Authority between the State Bodies of the Russian Federation and the State Bodies of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan were signed. Those agreements implied Delimitation of Authority in the Sphere of Foreign Economic Relations and temporary recognition of Tatarstan's independence by the Russian Federation. Thus, these agreements have formed a legal basis for the formation of the famous Russian-Tatar model of mutual relations. Also on the basis of the above Treaty, the independent social and economic policy has been developed. Financial opportunities have allowed Tatarstan to develop an infrastructure. As a result Tatarstan ranked in the top five as one of the most developed regions of the country on social and economic indices. Subsequently, by subjects of the Russian Federation more than 40 bilateral contracts with the federal center have been signed.

Tatar leaders, according to Gorenburg, were "most vocal about their desire to be independent of Russia" (D.Gorenburg, 251). Being one of the most developed regions in Russia, economic self-sufficiency, significant oil deposits, and strong industrial base encouraged local Tatar authorities to claim control of the Republic's resources and industries. They also demanded their right to be a member of the international community, and foster equal, treaty-based relations with Russia.

Subjects of the Russian Federation practically had no rights to participate in the international scene before perestroika. In the 90s the situation has changed cardinally. Tatarstan was the most active in the development of direct communications with the foreign states and the international organizations and became model which then has been fixed in the legislation of the Russian Federation. The republic has established several representative offices abroad, has signed dozens of agreements, has conducted active foreign trade, and accepted foreign delegations at the top level. Mirihanov reports that "1990s were the beginning of intensive development of inter-parliamentary cooperation. Parliamentary delegations from USA, Canada, Cuba, Australia, Turkey, some Eropean states like Denmark, France, Switzerland, diplomats, businessmen, and ambassadors of many foreign states as well as ambassadors of Russia abroad visited the State Council of Tatarstan. In turn, deputies of the Republic of Tatarstan have made working visits to Turkey, Hungary, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Latvia and other countries" (N. Mirihanov, 40)

Dmitry Gorenburg describes recent development in relations between Tatarstan and Russia in three stages: just before the break-up of Soviet Union, after the break-up of Soviet Union, and post-perestroika period. According to those stages as early as 1989, in his speeches on the subject, Mintimer Shaimiev called for Tatarstan's independence in deciding internal questions. It implied Tatarstan laws to be supreme in the republic. For him it was also more efficient economically to switch partly to the production of consumer goods instead of center's plans toward heavy industry. In the second stage, according to the view of Gorenburg, Tatarstan modified its claim of independence from Russia (Gorenburg, 252). As it has been discussed before, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tatarstan began to call for the associated membership in the Russian Federation on the basis of a bilateral treaty, rather than full separation. Also at this stage, the concept of a Tatarstan nation (citizenship) was introduced. The major reason was to make sovereignty acceptable to non-Tatars living in Tatarstan. It was the second stage which definitely demonstrates the open difference between the strategies followed by Chechnya and Tatarstan. In his book Herspring states that "Unlike republics such as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, Chechnya refused to enter into a dialogue with the Kremlin and instead pressed for full independence" (D. R. Herspring, 79). The third stage is associated with the signing of the bilateral treaty in February 1994 and the proclamation of Tatarstan as a leading force opposing the recentralization of Russia. Later on again Shaimiev, speaking in London claimed that "The Treaty between Kazan and Moscow has fixed not only the status of the republic, but also stimulated federalization in the country. Russia has never been federation before. More likely it was a rigid centralization, especially during Stalin period. The Treaty became one of the mechanisms of transition to the federation. The federalism is a territorial skeleton of democracy".

Gorenburg ended his analysis in 1999; consequently, Putin's reforms were not contained in his analysis. With Putin's administrative reform of May 2000, I switch to the second part of my analysis. The beginning of "Putin's term" is associated with the centralization of the federal power; as Nicholson stated, "His major political initiative--a week after his inauguration--was a sweeping attempt to restore the Kremlin's control over the regions" (M. Nicholson, 876). New administration reform implied the combination of 89 subjects of the federation into seven federal districts, originally called okruga. Those districts were to be headed by presidential representatives. These representatives "would be the 'eyes and ears' of the president in Russia's regions and would regain control over federal agencies operating in the regions that had been lost, in many cases, to governors and republican presidents" (L.D. Nelson, I.Y. Kuzes, 507). Sergei Kirienko was the representative to the Volga Federal District which Tatarstan was supposed to belong to.

In a survey early in 2000, the public was asked if Kirienko would do his job related to Tatarstan. Thirty-seven percent of population believed he would, while twenty-eight percent thought he would not.

(Nation-wide home interviews conducted in 100 residencies in 44 regions. A sample size of 1500 respondents. Additional polls were made for the Moscow population, with a sample of 600 respondents. The margin of error does not exceed 3.6%.)

In 2001, Kirienko complained to Russia's Constitutional Court that Tatarstan's constitution had not been revised to conform to federal laws. The Court responded attempting to bring the constitution of the republic into compliance with Russian laws. The Republic did change some of the laws, but still continued to resist the degree of compliance that was being pushed by Moscow. According to Sharafutdinova, "While making the concessions, the government remained true to the model of relationships with Russia that emerged in 1990s: the government demanded bilateral negotiations over each and every of the necessary changes" (G. Sharafutdinova, 625). Referring to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Mintimer Shaimiev, the President of Tatarstan, claimed that "Republics are recognized as states in the Russian constitution, which means that both in theory and practice it is impossible to reject the concept of sovereignty" (Nelson and Kuzes, 511). Eventually, concessions followed from the both sides. The republican State Council has revised the republican laws and the constitution making certain corrections. A branch of the federal treasury had to be opened in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan. The division of taxes between the republic and the centre also had to be reconsidered. However, the new constitution still contained articles contradicting federal legislation. In particular, it included the Treaty of 1994 as a basic part of the Republic's law, which implies that Tatarstan has "maintained the rhetoric of sovereignty" (G. Sharafutdinova, 625). The Republic achieved an advantage during negotiations in the economic sphere. The government managed to negotiate a federal program of socioeconomic development of the republic for 2001-06, which provided for a large financial inflow into Tatarstan's economy from the centre.

Although the republic was claimed to be a part of the Volga district, Kirienko failed to have a very significant impact on political and economic life in Tatarstan. R. Khakimov, political adviser of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, once described the situation as, "We don't deal with Nizhny Novgorod (the 'capital' of Volga federal okrug)." In their article, Nelson and Kuzes state that, "Tatarstan's president continues to maintain the stance that he should negotiate directly with Russia's president on issues that are important to the republic, as he did in the El'tsin period" (L.D Nelson and I.Y. Kuzes, 517). In another speech, Shaimiev again stated that he had no doubt that the tendency toward unitarism was temporary. He stated, "This period should be gone through. Russia does not have future but federalism.... Tatarstan was, is and will be a republic, nobody should have any doubts. I am assured of it."

Survey results reflect to what extent the issue was unclear. Twenty percent of the whole population of Russia thought that the Russian President would be unable to pass the reform in Tatarstan.

The international activity carried out by Tatarstan, due mainly to economic interests. The republic had already signed dozens of international agreements and made contacts with international organizations. A strong relationship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation had been generated. The federal center has recognized the right of Tatarstan to engage in international activity, as it did not contradict the foreign policy strategy of the state and was carried out within the limits of the competence. Today Tatarstan cooperates with many regions of the world, actively participating in international trade; about 100 states are trading partners with the republic. In realization of the international and external economic cooperation policy, Tatarstan did and does emphasize the search for a reasonable balance between western and eastern partners. Alongside the development of communications with Germany, France, the USA, and Great Britain, the republic makes active contacts with Turkey, Egypt, India, and other states. Located on the crossroad of the trading ways, Tatarstan historically has been called to carry out a role of the political and economic center. Being a place for a meeting of civilizations and a symbolic "crossroad" of religious and cultural traditions of the East and the West, Asia and Europe, the Republic has carried out the richest experience of interethnic and multicultural harmony. Relying on this experience, the Republic develops contacts to the world, builds up the trade, and makes scientific and cultural links with near and far neighbors.

The Public Opinion Foundation of Russia has conducted another nationwide survey, which gave the following results about the image of Tatarstan's well being. Twenty-six percent of survey participants thought that people in Tatarstan were better off economically than citizens of the other regions. Thirty-eight percent thought economic well being was the same. Just seven percents of people thought that Tatarstan citizens were poorer. The Table below, from the study of Bert Van Selm on Economic Performance of Russian Regions (1998), reflects some of these facts. Based on the data from Goskomstat, the table presents a ranking of the Federation subjects on the basis of four indicators: official unemployment, nominal income, electricity production as a percentage of 1990, and industrial output as a percentage of 1990. A 'total score' for overall economic performance was obtained by adding up the rankings of the regions on these four indicators. In column six a ranking of Russian regions according to their 'structure' is presented. According to Bert Van Selm, "This ranking is based on the 'expected industrial declines" per region" (Bert Van Selm, 612).

Tatarstan is ranged somewhere in the middle, which actually supports the public opinion. However, it is important to note that the data was available only for the year of 1995. For the reasons discussed above, since then, the republic has improved its international trade contacts significantly.

Tatarstan continued to maintain international activities. However, not all activities were welcomed by some Russian authorities. Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and the direct contact with the Pope in the Vatican were significant steps in the proclamation of the Republic's state-like structure. Gulnaz Sharafutdinova widely discusses the impact of paradiplomacy in international contacts on constructing the identity of a region as a sovereign state. One another activity that Russian authorities disliked was the attempt to change the existing Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin. The republican government has tried to use contacts abroad, as well as domestic judicial institutions, in order to enforce the law of 1999 "The renewal of the Tatar alphabet based on the Latin script." Eventually, this last issue has opened new and still ongoing dispute with Moscow.

Despite all the above controversies in relations, it is important to remember that Tatarstan's government did not claim complete independence. Initially identified as a state by Russian Constitution, it only practiced its statehood through the conduct of foreign policy, "projecting its state identity externally" (Sharafutdinova, 626). Those operations have been done within the framework of the Russian Federation.

In his speeches, president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin often noted that he valued the position of the republic and expressed his personal respect to Shaimiev. He said, "Few states of the world can brag that they have such cities like Kazan. The republic successfully develops and nowadays is one of the main actors of the Russian economy. Moreover, it is an example of the careful, sympathizing attitude to the people. On the basis of social and economic indices Tatarstan is in one of the most advanced positions in the country. You (referring to Shaimiev) always defended principles of unity of the Russian state and finally have brought the huge personal contribution to the construction of the Federative Russia."

It is rather interesting that the nationwide survey, conducted in 2005, determined that thirty-three percent of population of the Russian Federation had positive attitudes toward Shaimiev, President of Tatarstan, while only five percent claimed negative feelings.

Forty-six percent, however, confessed that they knew little or nothing about the president. Most of the public outside the republic, particularly in Moscow, did not know Shaimiev well. People were asked to name a few of Shaimiev's qualities that they regarded as the most important. Responses were as follows:

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]
 Moscow Russia

Business
qualities 15 13

Ideological
(political)
characteristics 20 10

Moral qualities 15 8

Personal
characteristics 2 4

Diffuse appraisals 5 3

No responses,
wrong responses 58 69

Note: Table made from bar graph


The Russian public has been also asked how they valued the relationship between Shaimiev and Putin. The results seem to be optimistic.

The impact of the media played an important role during the process of the political negotiations. While Moscow press was reasonably but sometimes overwhelmingly focusing on the separatist and nationalist formations, the government of Tatarstan tried to explain the reasons for nationalist formations and repeatedly stated that those formations were under control. The nationalist group Ittifak, led by Bairamova, received no more than two percent of votes in republican elections. Vahhabist extremists were effectively and timely neutralized by security services.

Additional aspects that the Russian press criticized were the issues of discrimination of ethnic non-Tatars and a relatively big proportion of funding going toward Tatar cultural projects. Responses to these kinds of questions were always made by the first degree officials of the republic. Light dominance of Tatars in the parliament was the will of whole diverse population. Tatar nominees were more popular in the rural areas because there most of its citizens were Tatars. Urban areas, however, were equally represented by both Tatars and Russians. When one looks at the fact that important positions were held by representatives of other nationalities, the idea of discrimination becomes obsolete. The chairman of the National Bank, as well as executives of major industries, is ethnic Russian. Special organizations are run in support for diversity of nationalities. When it comes to the greater portion of funds given to ethnic Tatars, officials promise to keep the balance. Most of the Tatar cultural heritage was ruined during Soviet and pre-Soviet periods, while investment in development of Russian schools did not stop. With the proclamation of sovereignty, the demand for nationally inherited values sharply increased. Investment into Tatar culture was essential in order to escape the conflict. Having a rich political background, the President of the Tatarstan frequently used the term "Citizen of the Republic of Tatarstan," underlying the multicultural base of the republic. It is interesting to remember that it was ethnic Russians, as well as other nationalities, who together with Tatars voted in favor of sovereignty in the referendum of early 1990s.

How does public feel about the issue after all? An opinion was voiced in the media, according to which Tatarstan was going to maintain its privileged status after Putin's reforms. People were asked if they agreed with the statement. While sixteen percent of participants could not give a certain answer, forty-eight percent disagreed. Thirty-six percent were sure that Tatarstan will maintain its privileges.

Another moment, frequently lost behind political negotiations but which plays a great role in formation of public attitudes is social interaction, particularly sports. Purely social issue at first glance but it perfectly lets you feel the atmosphere between Moscow and Kazan. Tatarstan sports teams of various disciplines from soccer to hockey, volleyball to basketball all play in Russian leagues and they are extremely successful. It is interesting to see the title in sports newspapers related to the historical events with such actors like Ivan IV The Terrible or Tatar Khans, particularly when Moscow teams play with Kazan. Situation becomes even more delicate when Tatar teams achieve the right to play in European and World Tournaments in status of champions of the state. So, last season Kazan hockey team "Ak Bars" (White Bars is a national symbol of Tatarstan) won the European Cup, Basketball team "Unics" played semifinals in European ULEB Cup, Soccer team "Rubin" managed to go up to play-offs in the UEFA Cup, water-polo team "Sintez" plays semifinals of the European Cup, Volleyball team "Dinamo" became a champion of Russia and will Represent the country in Europe next year. All these and more happened last season. Not surprisingly if some people in Moscow do not like that. For Tatarstan such s success is the sign of economic well being and national social involvement.

Attitudes of Russia's multinational public toward Tatarstan were measured during the celebrations of Kazan's Millennium anniversary. "Many respondents (19%) characterized Kazan with respect and liking ("an ancient city", "a great city", "a beautiful citadel", "a clean city"), while neutral answers were often given, too ("just like every other city", "like other Russian cities")" (Anna Petrova, FOM). To about seven percent of population Kazan awakens historical associations. People remember "the Tatar-Mongol yoke", Ivan Grozny, who conquered Kazan, and Vladimir Lenin, who studied at Kazan University. 3% associate Kazan with its thousand-year history and the Anniversary.

Was Anniversary a local event or a holiday for the whole country? There is no general opinion on this matter: opinions are divided in almost equal parts: 46% think Kazan's anniversary is significant for all of Russia, and 44% called it a local event. "Those who consider Kazan's anniversary an all-Russian holiday noted that Kazan and Tatarstan are part of Russia ("we are all united", "Kazan is a Russian city, a family member") or said the city's history is Russia's history ("it's our history, too"). Some were impressed by the fact that "a one thousand year anniversary does not happen every day"" (Anna Petrova, FOM). Results of recently conducted survey display the opinion of general public.

Throughout its history the case of Tatarstan has been very contradictory. In its short republican history it served as a platform for disputes between Russian and Tatar nationalists, Christians and Moslems, later on advocates of decentralized federal structure and supporters of unitary system. Identity of modern Tatars is hidden deep inside of these dilemmas. In his work named "Islam in Tatar National Ideology and Policy" R.M. Amirkhanov points out that after years of subjugation to Soviet communism, the Tatars are reclaiming and rebuilding a Tatar national ideology based upon Islam, Turkism, and nationalism. Experience of Tatarstan has shown that historical borders can not be easily erased. However, the history and the destiny itself has made Tatarstan the multinational state where cultural traditions of ethnic Tatars and ethnic Russian are mutually enriched and have to supplement each other. Cooperation between faiths should be based on respect to the values of each other, rather than on attempts to assimilate someone. Religions have same roots that promote tolerance. Attempt violently to unify cultural, religious, political and other values are dangerous to the stability in a society. A variety increases safety while unification conducts to conflicts.

Thanks to some of the wise authorities who timely made it possible to avoid conflicts. If it is true that people live with symbols then Kazan is the place to negotiate today. In the Kazan Kremlin the mosque and the orthodox cathedral stand next to each other. It is visible from the different ends of city and gives sensation of comfort for all layers of the population. The important actions necessarily host both a mufti and an archbishop, also rabbi, Catholic and Lutheran priests frequently join to them. For political stability the education system should exclude unilateral preferences with exclusive values (Statement of historical events, for instance). Recently in Russian Federation, the discussion about introduction of teaching of Orthodoxy at the Russian schools was developed. Tatarstan was categorically against such a step, proceeding from diversity of religious beliefs of the population of the republic. At any school children of other nationalities study as well as Tatar, Russian or Jews. Many families are mixed (about 30 %). Those children may have not decided with religious preference yet. The newest history of Tatarstan, as well as thousand-year Kazan, represents harmonious set of an antiquity, ethno-national and religious diversity, varieties of Turkic, Bulghar, Ghingiz, and Russian cultures, ancient traditions of Islam, Christianity, the East and the West. Eventually, also many other regions of Russia also possess unique experience of multireligious consent. "The tolerant 'Russian Islam' represents ample opportunities for development of cooperation of Russia with the countries of the East. In this plan Tatarstan where during many centuries Islam was in close interaction with orthodox culture, continues to serve as a successful platform for meaningful dialogue", said in his interview to famous Russian journal "Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn'" Timur Akulov (President's adviser)

Perestroika has brought about serious, to some degree, revolutionary changes in the mentality of the people. The New Generation was raised differently. They did not see the Soviet model because they grew up during an epoch of publicity and pluralism; they do not know any other economy, except for market system. They grow up with absolutely new values in life and career. People of Russia have felt the taste of freedom and today returning to the ways of the old is impossible.

In a few years, the republic managed to do a lot. Today Tatarstan is much more recognized in the world. People show more interest in its rich history and culture, and make attempts to develop mutually advantageous contracts, which finally are good base for the further expansion of communications of Tatarstan with an external world and strengthen the authority of Russia as modern democratic federation. This is politics of the Republic today.

As it can be seen from its unique history, Tatarstan has never lost the strong sense of ethnic identity. Wise diplomacy of both sides helped a lot to keep safe from conflicts during critical periods. It seems like current leaders could find a common language. Putin and Shaimiev frequently refer to each other speaking about intercultural balance. It is up to new leaders to maintain the achieved balance and develop relations further as both leaders are serving their last presidential terms.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Sharafutdinova, Gulnaz (2003). "Paradiplomacy in the Russian Regions: Tatarstan's Search for Statehood." Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Jun., 2003), pp. 613-629

Nelson, L.D., and I. Y. Kuzes, (2003). "Political and Economic Coordination in Russia's Federal District Reform: A Study of Four Regions." Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Jun., 2003), pp. 507-520

D. Gorenburg, "Regional Separatism in Russia: Ethnic Mobilization or Power Grab?", EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES, Vol. 51, No. 2, 1999, 245-274.

Bert Van Selm, "Economic Performance in Russia's Regions", Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Jun., 1998), pp. 603-618

Nielsen, Jorgen S. (ed.). The Christian-Muslim Frontier: Chaos, Clash or Dialogue? London: LB. Tauris Publishers, 1998. 151 pp.

The Public Opinion Foundation Database, http://bd.english.fom.ru/

Official web-site of the Republic of Tatarstan: http://www.tatar.ru/

Nafiz Mirihanov, "Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn'", 2005, N10, pp. 36-49

M. Shaimiev, interview to information agency "Rosbalt", March 28, 2006.

T. Akulov, "Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn'", 2005, N10, pp. 25-35

V. Putin, speech at the ceremony of rewarding of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, on January 20, 2007, Kazan.

Petrov and Slider, "Putin and the Regions" in D.R. Herspring "Putin's Russia", 2007

Bulat AKHMETKARIMOV **

** Research Intern, Center for Future Security Strategies, The Hudson Institute, Washington, DC
 Bulat AKHMETKARIMOV

 Unemployment Income Industry
 (1) (2) (3)

Northern Region
 Karelia 62 11 32
 Komi 69 10 30
 Arkhangel'ask 81 19 28
 Nenetsk okrug 77 - 2
 Vologda 39 18 7
 Murmansk 71 7 18

Northwestern Region
 St Petersburg 25 12 59
 Leningrad oblast' 66 44 17
 Novgorod 53 25 31
 Pskov 86 49 78

Central Region
 Bryansk 61 52 76
 Vladimir 85 62 54
 Ivanovo 86 63 81
 Kaluga 35 28 49
 Kostroma 80 32 71
 Moscow 1 1 56
 Moscow oblast' 33 45 67
 Orel 27 34 72
 Ryazan 19 61 53
 Smolensk 4 38 36
 Tver 20 53 70
 Tula 16 29 38
 Yaroslavl 83 24 60

Volga-Vyatka Region
 Mari El 60 75 57
 Mordovia 74 70 77
 Chuvash republic 79 72 68
 Kirov 78 37 48
 Nizhny Novgorod 38 36 35

Central Chernozem Region
 Belgorod 5 41 5
 Voronezh 21 60 64
 Kursk 11 54 28
 Lipetsk 6 46 9
 Tambov 75 65 34

Volga Region
 Kalmykia 82 77 56
 Tatarstan 10 42 12
 Astrakhan 57 50 10
 Volgograd 9 55 62
 Penza 68 68 61
 Samara 24 22 21
 Saratov 49 57 52
 Ulyanovsk 47 66 8

North Caucasus Region
 Adygeya 30 71 75
 Dagestan 72 75 86
 Ingushetia - 79 -
 Kabardino-B. republic 46 74 80
 Karachai-C. republic 56 76 82
 North Ossetia 52 69 78
 Chechnya - - -
 Krasnodar 15 47 37
 Stavropol 7 64 43
 Rostov 8 56 66

Ural Region
 Bashkortostan 28 58 16
 Udmurtia 84 35 51
 Kurgan 73 73 65
 Orenburg 3 59 15
 Perm 59 21 25
 Komi-Permyatsky 76 - 22
 Sverdlovsk 51 20 50
 Chelyabinsk 36 27 47

West Siberian Region
 Altai republic 22 43 63
 Altai krai 40 48 59
 Kemerovo 14 8 20
 Novosibirsk 23 51 44
 Omsk 31 39 40
 Tomsk 54 23 6
 Tyumen' 32 4 14
 Khanti-Mansiisky 18 - 26
 Yamalo-Nenetsky 29 - 4

East Siberian Region
 Buryatia 17 40 39
 Tuva 34 67 42
 Khakasia 48 26 1
 Krasnoyarsk 44 13 23
 Taimir okrug 50 - 11
 Evenki okrug 26 - 24
 Irkutsk 45 14 13
 Ust-Ordinsky okrug 13 7 69
 Chita 43 31 74
 Aginsky okrug 12 - 84

Far Eastern Region
 Sakha 2 6 3
 Jewish okrug 42 30 85
 Chukotsk okrug 63 2 42
 Primor'e 41 17 33
 Khabarovsk 64 15 80
 Amur 67 16 46
 Kamchatka 58 5 45
 Koryaksky okrug 55 - -
 Magadan 37 3 18
 Sakhalin 65 9 29

 Kaliningrad 70 33 73

 Electricity Total (rank) Structure
 (4) (5) (6)

Northern Region
 Karelia 9 114 (13) 35
 Komi 48 157 (35) 12
 Arkhangel'ask 53 181 (44) 56
 Nenetsk okrug 79 - (-)
 Vologda 40 104 (11) 8
 Murmansk 42 138 (25) 7

Northwestern Region
 St Petersburg 63 159 (36) 65
 Leningrad oblast' 66 193 (53) 14
 Novgorod 29 138 (23) 49
 Pskov 1 214 (61) 73

Central Region
 Bryansk 15 204 (58) 71
 Vladimir 23 224 (66) 72
 Ivanovo 69 299 (77) 78
 Kaluga 14 126 (18) 76
 Kostroma 80 263 (71) 55
 Moscow 20 78 (3) 63
 Moscow oblast' 45 190 (50) 70
 Orel 5 138 (24) 43
 Ryazan 67 200 (56) 23
 Smolensk 43 121 (15) 51
 Tver 71 214 (59) 68
 Tula 77 160 (38) 30
 Yaroslavl 60 227 (67) 46

Volga-Vyatka Region
 Mari El 2 194 (55) 58
 Mordovia 56 277 (73) 67
 Chuvash republic 50 269 (72) 69
 Kirov 57 220 (64) 61
 Nizhny Novgorod 24 133 (20) 53

Central Chernozem Region
 Belgorod 46 97 (9) 25
 Voronezh 31 176 (42) 54
 Kursk 58 151 (29) 36
 Lipetsk 22 83 (5) 9
 Tambov 10 185 (48) 62

Volga Region
 Kalmykia 83 298 (76) 29
 Tatarstan 72 136 (21) 33
 Astrakhan 6 123 (17) 52
 Volgograd 28 154 (30) 27
 Penza 61 258 (70) 64
 Samara 55 122 (16) 47
 Saratov 33 191 (52) 37
 Ulyanovsk 39 160 (37) 77

North Caucasus Region
 Adygeya 12 188 (49) 60
 Dagestan 73 309 (78) 48
 Ingushetia - - (-) -
 Kabardino-B. republic 78 278 (74) 57
 Karachai-C. republic 84 298 (75) 44
 North Ossetia 19 218 (63) 32
 Chechnya 85 - (-) -
 Krasnodar 21 120 (14) 42
 Stavropol 52 166 (40) 31
 Rostov 27 157 (34) 40

Ural Region
 Bashkortostan 35 137 (22) 22
 Udmurtia 11 181 (45) 59
 Kurgan 26 237 (68) 66
 Orenburg 49 126 (19) 15
 Perm 51 156 (32) 24
 Komi-Permyatsky 82 - (1) -
 Sverdlovsk 70 191 (51) 16
 Chelyabinsk 74 184 (47) 13

West Siberian Region
 Altai republic 86 214 (60) 74
 Altai krai 68 215 (62) 50
 Kemerovo 32 74 (2) 6
 Novosibirsk 62 180 (43) 38
 Omsk 65 175 (41) 18
 Tomsk 4 87 (7) 28
 Tyumen' 36 86 (6) 4
 Khanti-Mansiisky 38 - (1) -
 Yamalo-Nenetsky 13 - (1) -

East Siberian Region
 Buryatia 59 155 (31) 41
 Tuva 81 224 (65) 19
 Khakasia 7 82 (4) 11
 Krasnoyarsk 25 105 (12) 5
 Taimir okrug 16 - (1) -
 Evenki okrug 18 - (1) -
 Irkutsk 30 102 (10) 10
 Ust-Ordinsky okrug - - (1) -
 Chita 8 156 (33) 20
 Aginsky okrug 17 - (1) -

Far Eastern Region
 Sakha 37 48 (1) 2
 Jewish okrug 3 160 (39) 75
 Chukotsk okrug 75 182 (46) 1
 Primor'e 54 145 (26) 39
 Khabarovsk 4 203 (57) 21
 Amur 64 193 (54) 17
 Kamchatka 41 149 (27) 34
 Koryaksky okrug - - (1) -
 Magadan 34 92 (8) 3
 Sakhalin 47 150 (28) 26

 Kaliningrad 76 252 (69) 45

Source: computed form Goskomstat, 1996, pp. 758-770, 789-791, 966-969,
976-978.

WHAT KIND OF IMPRESSION DID YOU GET FROM KAZAN'S MILLENNIUM
CELEBRATIONS: POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE? (This question was asked
of those saying they were aware of Kazan's millennium celebrations.)

 Confidence in
 President Putin

 sometimes
 trust,
 Total sometimes
 Russia trust distrust distrust

Groups of 100 49 29 19
respondents
 %

Positive 46 56 42 34

Negative 3 2 4 6

hard to 29 23 33 38
answer

 Adaptation

 adapted unadapted
 Optimists pessimists pessimists

Groups of 32 29 36
respondents
 %

Positive 49 51 42

Negative 2 2 4

hard to 24 28 34
answer

 Gender

 male female

Groups of 48 52
respondents
 %

Positive 46 47

Negative 4 2

hard to 30 29
answer

 Age

 18-35
 y.o 36-54 above 55

Groups of 36 36 28
respondents
 %

Positive 36 51 54

Negative 2 3 5

hard to 30 32 24
answer

 Education

 general special
 primary secondary secondary higher

Groups of 15 36 32 16
respondents
 %

Positive 43 41 49 55

Negative 0 2 4 5

hard to 23 29 31 31
answer

 Per capita
 income

 under 1500 1501-2999 more than
 rubles rubles 3000 rubles

Groups of 26 31 31
respondents
 %

Positive 43 52 50

Negative 3 3 3

hard to 27 28 31
answer

 Residency

 large
 Moscow megapolises cities

Groups of 6 12 16
respondents
 %

Positive 47 42 44

Negative 5 6 4

hard to 38 40 33
answer

 Residency

 small
 cities villages

Groups of 39 26
respondents
 %

Positive 46 51

Negative 2 3

hard to 30 18
answer

KAZAN IS THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF TATARSTAN.
DO YOU THINK THE MILLENNIUM OF KAZAN IS A LOCAL OR
A NATIONAL HOLIDAY?

 Confidence in
 President Putin

 sometimes
 trust
 total sometimes
 Russia trust distrust distrust

Groups of 100 49 29 19
respondents
(%)

Local 14 11 14 25

rather local 25 24 29 20
than national

National 53 59 48 46

hard to 8 6 8 9
answer

 Adaptation

 adapted unadapted
 Optimists pessimists pessimists

Groups of 32 29 36
respondents
(%)

Local 15 12 15

rather local 28 23 24
than national

National 49 58 52

hard to 7 7 9
answer

 Gender

 male female

Groups of 48 52
respondents
(%)

Local 16 13

rather local 25 25
than national

National 53 53

hard to 6 9
answer

 Age

 18-35 y.o 36-54 above 55

Groups of 36 36 28
respondents
(%)

Local 16 16 9

rather local 30 21 25
than national

National 45 57 57

hard to 9 6 9
answer

 Education

 general special
 primary secondary secondary higher

Groups of 15 36 32 16
respondents
(%)

Local 6 16 16 14

rather local 29 26 26 19
than national

National 51 50 53 60

hard to 13 8 5 7
answer

 Per capita
 income

 under 1500 1501-2999 more than
 rubles rubles 3000 rubles

Groups of 26 31 31
respondents
(%)

Local 15 10 16

rather local 24 30 23
than national

National 52 53 55

hard to 9 7 6
answer

 Residency

 large
 Moscow megapolises cities

Groups of 6 12 16
respondents
(%)

Local 25 23 15

rather local 17 31 22
than national

National 51 42 53

hard to 7 4 9
answer

 Residency

 small
 cities villages

Groups of 39 26
respondents
(%)

Local 10 12

rather local 23 30
than national

National 58 50

hard to 9 7
answer

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN TOOK PART IN KAZAN'S MILLENNIUM
CELEBRATIONS. WHAT IMPRESSION DID PUTIN MAKE UPON YOU DURING
THE CELEBRATIONS: POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?

 Confidence in
 President Putin

 sometimes
 trust
 total sometimes
 Russia trust distrust distrust

Groups of 100 49 29 19
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 26 22 27 27
about the
celebrations

Positive 41 52 36 25

Negative 3 1 2 11

hard to 30 25 35 37
answer

 Adaptation

 adapted unadapted
 Optimists pessimists pessimists

Groups of 32 29 36
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 28 21 26
about the
celebrations

Positive 42 44 40

Negative 2 2 4

hard to 28 33 30
answer

 Gender

 male female

Groups of 48 52
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 25 26
about the
celebrations

Positive 40 42

Negative 3 3

hard to 31 30
answer

 Age

 18-35 y.o 36-54 above 55

Groups of 36 36 28
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 36 22 17
about the
celebrations

Positive 32 43 51

Negative 1 4 4

hard to 31 31 29
answer

 Education

 general special
 primary secondary secondary higher

Groups of 15 36 32 16
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 25 34 22 16
about the
celebrations

Positive 43 36 43 46

Negative 2 2 3 5

hard to 31 28 32 33
answer

 Per capita
 income

 under 1500 1501-2999 more than
 rubles rubles 3000 rubles

Groups of 26 31 31
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 29 20 24
about the
celebrations

Positive 40 49 41

Negative 3 3 2

hard to 29 28 33
answer

 Residency

 large
 Moscow megapolises cities

Groups of 6 12 16
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 15 19 28
about the
celebrations

Positive 35 32 38

Negative 1 6 5

hard to 49 43 29
answer

 Residency

 small
 cities villages

Groups of 39 26
respondents
(%)

I know nothing 28 27
about the
celebrations

Positive 43 46

Negative 2 2

hard to 27 25
answer

DO YOU THINK KIRIENKO WILL HANDLE THIS WORK OR NOT?

hard to
answer 35%
he won't 28%
he will 37%

Source: The Public Opinion Foundation *

* The Public Opinion Foundation is the source for each of the graphs
and tables in this essay.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

VLADIMIR PUTIN INSISTS THAT ALL REGIONAL LAWS SHOULD BE CHANGED
IN CONFORMITY WITH THE FEDERAL LEGISLATION. WILL TATARSTAN MEET
PUTIN'S DEMAND OR NOT?

hard to answer 40%
it won't 20%
it will 40%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS TATARSTAN'S PRESIDENT MINTIMER
SHAIMIEV: POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?

I know nothing about him 46
positive 33
negative 5
hard to answer 17

Note: Table made from bar graph.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE PUTIN-SHAIMIYEV RELATIONS:
COOPERATION OR CONFRONTATION?

hard to answer 48
confrontation 10
cooperation 41

Note: Table made from pie chart.

AN OPINION IS VOICED IN THE MEDIA, ACCORDING TO
WHICH TATARSTAN WILL MAINTAIN ITS PRIVILEGED
STATUS. DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS VIEW OR NOT?

Hard to answer 16%
Disagree 48%
Agree 36%

Note: Table made from pie chart

KAZAN IS THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF TATARSTAN. DO
YOU THINK THE MILLENNIUM OF KAZAN IS A LOCAL OR A NATIONAL
HOLIDAY?

 6-7 August 2005 3-4 September 2005
local 44 39
national 46 53
hard to answer 11 8

Note: Table made from bar graph.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT KAZAN'S ANNIVERSARY IS A GRAND OCCASION
FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY? (Open-ended question. Asked of those
thinking it is a grand occasion for the entire country, 45% of all
respondents.)

Tatarstan is part of Russia,
Russia and Tatarastan are inseparable 19

common history, culture 10

1000 years is a very important date 3

Kazan is a beautiful city with a rich
culture 2

anniversary is a holiday for Muslims,
for Russian Tatars 2

Russians and Tatars were on people, they
lived in the same country 2

Kazan is large, well-known city, Tatarstan's
capital 1

regional festivities are important for the
whole country 1

inhabitants of Tatarstan are our neighbors 1

we always have ad will be friends 1

other 2

hard to answer, no answer 5

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Akhmetkarimov, Bulat
Publication:Civilacademy Journal of Social Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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