''Congress of the Tatars' Executive Committee needs not vacuous people having the virus of nationalistic feelings''

‘’The main Tatar man’’ of the Chuvash Republic Farit Gibatdinov tells about misunderstanding with the federal national-cultural autonomies, grievances of the Tatars and the second state language

''Congress of the Tatars' Executive Committee needs not vacuous people having the virus of nationalistic feelings'' Photo: facebook.com

A little over a week left until the VI Congress of World Congress of the Tatars (WCT). On the eve of the kurultai, there is an increasing number of questions to the management of this public organization. One of the members of the Executive Committee of WCT, chairman of the council of the Regional national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars of the Chuvash Republic Farit Gibatdinov believes that claims to the body that consolidates the Tatars of the whole world are undue. In the interview with Realnoe Vremya, the social activist supported giving Tatar names to the sites in Kazan, he told what are the challenges WCT is facing today and shared his thoughts on how to preserve the Tatar nation and language.

''The Executive Committee should recruit not vacuous people having the virus of nationalistic feelings''

Farit efendi, the congress of World Congress of the Tatars takes place in early August. What do you expect from it?

This congress is a big meeting where we will summarize five years of work and put tasks how to develop the Tatar world. We all understand that this is a public international organization that has one interest — the Tatar people (millet). We all understand the responsibility towards the Congress that represents our interests around the globe. As a member of the Executive Committee of WCT, I feel this responsibility. As the leader of the Tatar community of the Chuvash Republic, I have a task to join the common cause of World Congress of the Tatars. Today, we, Regional national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars in the Chuvash Republic, although being a drop in the bucket, but, Allaga shocker (thank God — editor's note), we do great things. Our goal is to ensure that World Congress of the Tatars did not stop and moved forward.

Certainly, there should be new ideas, a concept of development of our society is needed. We have a lot of questions today. Globalization requires all nations to preserve their identity in everything: in culture, traditions, economy, etc. The autonomies of the Tatars, WCT and the government of Tatarstan, thanks to the article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan, had a huge points of beneficial contact for Tatar communities, which are located outside Tatarstan. So, we need a good strong center, today it is World Congress of the Tatars.

Today WCT has a lot of areas, each of which should have a certain concept, new ideas. It is needed to attract more young people, to do so that it was comfortable for everyone: young people, middle-aged people and older generation. It requires a scientific approach, there should not be anarchy here, it requires a human approach, with wisdom. The Executive Committee should recruit not vacuous people who are sick with the virus of nationalist feelings, there should be Executive Committee members with healthy thoughts, responsible, who would be able to work in the regions or other countries that would take their ideas in WCT.

A meeting of the organizing committee on preparation and holding the VI Congress of World Congress of the Tatars on 14 July. Photo: tatar-congress.org

One should understand that WCT is a good tool for the president of Tatarstan: first it was for Shaimiev, then for Minnikhanov. Thanks to him, there is being formed the superprofile attitude to the Tatar people. We all know that Minnikhanov is a kind of leader for all Tatars, a kind of father. So, we should not waste time on trifles because any little thing can be a big deal: in economics, education, culture, we should apply our strength.

''We are offended from the material point''

It is known that the Tatars are the second largest nation in Russia. The Constitution of our country guarantees the support of all ethnic groups. Should the topic of support of the Tatar communities in Russia at the expense of the federal budget be raised at the congress?

Certainly. Today the country has the law ''On national-cultural autonomy'', which theoretically exists, but we do not see practical material side. So the question should be not only about the financial situation of the national centres, it is necessary to raise the issue of languages. Why don't make the Tatar language a state language along with Russian, if we consider ourselves to be the second nation? Because this practice exists in many countries.

Wait, are you proposing to make Tatar a state language at federal or at regional level?

Of course at the level of Russia. At the regional level so it is — in Tatarstan.

The thing is that such proposals are being voiced in Bashkiria and in the Chuvash Republic...

Why the Russian Federation cannot have several state languages, for example, according to a number of people a nation has — first, second, third? The Tatars of all regions would benefit. We live in the national republic — the Chuvash Republic. It is a 100 percent subsidized region. We have wonderful ethnic relationship, we feel ourselves comfortable here, but from the material side we are offended. All we have everything done only at initiative, of course, with the support of the Chuvash Republic and the federal government. But if in Russia the Tatar language was a state one, then the attitude would be very different.

We should support language, culture, traditions, sport systematically. We should think about it, it should be studied by scientists through polls, testings.'' Photo: tatar-congress.org

''There is a shaping opinion that Russian is more necessary, better and nicer — that's a shame''

You have raised the topic of preserving the national language. We know that in the country there are millions of Tatars who do not speak their language at the proper level. How to solve the problem of this whole layer of people? Is the language is dying?

Today not only the Tatar language is facing that problem. Languages of smaller peoples are going into oblivion. The Tatars have a different situation, but there is some loss of the language anyway. I do not want to be pessimistic, I hope that the language will remain. But in the context of globalization, when Russia is trying to create some sort of a civic Russian nation, there is nothing positive for the Tatar language.

For example, I live in a 100 percent Tatar village, we are all Mishar Tatars, we speak our dialect. But I feel that through a variety of resources (the television, Internet) there is the impact on the brains of our children. We watch different TV shows, cartoons all day. My grandson is five years old, he lives in the village Urmaevo. He is growing in the Tatar environment, he goes to a Tatar kindergarten. He loves to watch Russian cartoons, TV shows. When at weekends other children come to him, he communicates with them in Russian. Nobody taught him. He has learned through Russian-speaking resources. But we, the Tatars, do not have them. Yes, we have Tatar TV, some cartoons are translated into Tatar, but the grandson do not watch them. It is needed that psychologists, scientists invested in transmitting our ethnicity. In this case, children will watch. In the Russian programmes there's something attractive. That is why he learns Russian.

I hope you don't think that it is something bad that your grandson learns the Russian language?

No. In any case, I respect and love the Russian language. But first of all, I'm a Tatar, I should learn the language of father and mother myself and to instill in my children and grandchildren. It's just a little sad that we live in Tatar environment but receive information through all of these global foreign resources. The more a child learns, the better it is. But this should not harm our nation and the language. The child forms an opinion that the Russian language is more necessary, better and nicer — that's a shame.

''Languages of smaller peoples are going into oblivion. The Tatars have a different situation, but there is some loss of the language anyway. I do not want to be pessimistic, I hope that the language will remain.'' Photo: tatar-congress.org

''There are sick people who do not understand the essence of our activities''

The critics of WCT note that the organization is obsessive with sabantuys. Is the ''plow feast'' important for the Tatar people?

It is a public organization that gathers all the work of the Tatar centers around the world. Unfortunately, people just do not see it. They see only a few results of ongoing activities. Sabantuy is the first indicator that there are Tatars, the people lives. No wonder they want to include it in the list of UNESCO heritage. But it is not always right to judge all work only by Sabantuy. The work of the members of the Executive Committee is conducted daily. It is not only about Zakirov, he was only the leader. Other 15-20 people work with him, performing tasks outside of the Executive Committee. The entire infrastructure of the public organization works for the nation. There are sick people who do not understand the essence of our activities. Our work aimed at Russia, outside the country, there are various funds, women's direction. There are no scales that could weight all this work. Sabantuy is a drop among all the activities of the Tatar centers, only a small figure.

''Sabantuy is the first indicator that there are Tatars, the people lives. No wonder they want to include it in the list of UNESCO heritage.'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

''Some day the Bauman street will be given the name of Syuyumbike''

The organization is accused of that in Kazan there are not enough Tatar names. The Executive Committee of Kazan refused to rename Bauman Street into Suyumbike Street… Do you think is there enough Tatar names in the capital of Tatarstan?

To see Suyumkike Street instead of Bauman Street would be a balm for the soul for me. Besides our wishes, there are administrative decisions. Their minds are also imperfect. Fauzia apai (Fauzia Bayramova — editor's note) raised this issue a month ago. But such questions are solved not in a month. But I still believe that someday Bauman Street will be given the name of Syuyumbike. Anyway, we consider Kazan to be a Tatar city. The more Tatar, the better it is. Of course, there is not enough Tatar names in the city. But things are changing for the better, including in the national plan. There are already streets named after Tufan Minnullin, my son lives on Baki Urmanche Street… Kazan is a huge ensemble, these issues are solved in the city hall, as well as in the government of the Republic of Tatarstan. I am sure that Kazan will remain with Tatar face and Tatar mentality.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Events