Rashid Syunyaev: ''It is not easy to be a Tatar…''

About how World Congress of the Tatars appointed chairman of Shura and worried about the future of the Tatar language, singing Tugan tel

Rashid Syunyaev: ''It is not easy to be a Tatar…'' Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru (Rashid Syunyaev)

The second and perhaps main day of the 6th World Congress of the Tatars has recently finished in Kazan. The speeches of Minnikhanov and Mintimer Shaimiev found support in the second half of the plenary session. The Duma Deputy, famous scientists and the writer known for extraordinary statements, made interesting statements. The forum was attended by the correspondent Realnoe Vremya.

A compromise with the Federal national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars

The second part of the plenary session started with the speech of Chairman of the Duma Committee on Ethnic Affairs Ildar Gilmutdinov. We will note, along with a deputy position, he occupies a high social position as the head of the Federal national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars. His appearance at this Congress was a little intriguing. As Realnoe Vremya wrote previously, some members of the Executive Committee of World Congress of the Tatars fear that the two public organizations representing the interests of the same people go different ways.

The head of the Federal national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars, noting that his organization consists of 36 offices, offered a consensus: the Congress should not open its branches in the regions where local the national-cultural autonomy already settled. And his union will not interfere in the ''diocese'' of the congress.

''Our objectives are similar, we worry about one and the same people, let's not split up,'' said the deputy. ''Thanks to Rustam Minnikhanov that he supports us with grants. We should spend the money wisely. Folk wisdom says, ''A wealthy Russian builds a church, a wealthy Tatar changes wife.''

''A language is not taught by persuasion''

One of the painful issues discussed at the forum was the problem of teaching the Tatar language. Gilmutdinov suggested organizing in Tatarstan a year-round children's camp like Artek or Orlenok, where much attention would be given to the Tatar language and national culture. In his opinion, such establishment would gather a queue of applicants.

Gilmutdinov suggested organizing in Tatarstan a year-round children's camp like Artek or Orlenok. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru

''A language is not taught by persuasion,'' he added. ''We should stimulate learning of the native language. For example, to increase the salary to those who knows several languages.''

He also made another suggestion: to give the right to children to take the state exam in their native language.

The idea of the deputy was developed by the director of the Kazan gymnasium No. 2 at the Kazan Federal University Kamariya Khamidullina. She was more categorical, expressing a complaint against the republican and federal ministries of education.

''The society has some fear of the Tatar language. Studying the Tatar language — it's not two school hours a week. We need to instil it since kindergarten. We live on our native land, learn our native language, but the exams are in Russian,'' she was indignant.

The teacher demanded to amend the federal law ''On education'' to ''give the air for national education''. According to her, more attention to national languages will not undermine the unity of Russia and will never become a threat to the language of Pushkin.

In response to criticism, Minister of Education of Tatarstan Engel Fattakhov noted that the republic implements many programmes aimed at studying and preserving the native language. Kazan holds the Olympiad in the Tatar language, which involves pupils and students from different regions. For teachers of the Tatar language working outside of the republic and the country they regularly hold seminars. In addition, the Ministry of Education send the tutorials of the Tatar language in the regions of Russia. Annually in Tatarstan Tatar camps are organized.

Kamariya Khamidullina expressed complaints against the republican and federal ministries of education. Photo: gossov.tatarstan.ru

''It is not easy to be a Tatar''

''I'm sorry that I did not dare to speak to you in our Mishar dialect,'' addressed in Russian to the delegates the worldwide famous astrophysicist Rashid Syunyaev, now working in Germany. ''I have never studied in a Tatar school. But my mom, grandma and grandpa spoke to me only in Tatar.''

The scientist turned the attention to those Tatars who do not know the Tatar language. He urged not to hurt them and not to hang offensive labels but treat with respect.

''It hurts to hear when people trapped by fate who turned out to be far from their villages, from their families, from daily communication in the native language are called mankurts,'' became indignant Syunyaev. ''I know hundreds of Tatars working in different countries, in different cities of our great country that are worthy representatives of our people and respected representatives of their profession. What can they do if a child was torn from Tatar-speaking environment?''

According to him, the Tatars is a mobile people, often living in the neighbourhood with many other ethnic groups. Many Tatars work in the best universities in the world.

''It is not easy to be a Tatar,'' continued Rashid Syunyaev. ''We had representatives of 10 nationalities in our school class. Tatars were not the worst: next to us there were Crimean Tatars, Chechens and others. But I remember how after a bright story of the teacher about the Tatar-Mongol Yoke children started to treat me differently.''

Now the situation has changed: the children and grandchildren of Sunyaev have Muslim Tatar names and are proud that they are Tatars. He expressed joy that in Tatarstan there is the TV channel that shows cartoons in the Tatar language.

''Please, preserve and develop the language,'' asked the astrophysicist, concluding the speech.

The Tatar-Mongol Yoke is to blame in the troubles of Russia

The next speaker was another renowned scientist Robert Nigmatulin, academic director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He stressed that the status of the Tatars in comparison with other nationalities has increased markedly. He remembered prominent scientists, cultural figures with Tatar roots, and even becoming famous all over the country the book Zuleikha opens the eyes by Guzel Yakhina.

''Russia cannot do without the Tatars! As well as the Tatars cannot do without Russia!'' said Nigmatullin. Photo: gossov.tatarstan.ru

As for the negative connotation of the Tatars in the description of the Tatar-Mongol Yoke or the Battle of Kulikovo, the oceanographer said quite unexpectedly, ''So, it means that my ancestors beat the ancestors of my Russian friends.''

''I have watched the TV programme with Pozner with a young political scientist Arbatov. And he said that in Russia everything is bad due to the fact that there was the Tatar-Mongol Yoke,'' the audience burst into laughter. ''We all have common ancestors. My ancestors fought each other and cooperated.''

In conclusion, he gave it a new meaning to the slogan ''Bez buldyrabyz!'' (''We can!'' in Tatar).

''We can! But Russia cannot do without the Tatars! As well as the Tatars cannot do without Russia!'' said Nigmatullin.

The speakers spoke after each other, in total 20 delegates gave speeches.

However, there remained the intrigue around chairman of World Congress of the Tatars and previously designated by RT President Rustam Minnikhanov the national council Milli Shura.

In the end, ''the respected leader with large powers'' was appointed: the head of Milli Shura was chosen Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Vasil Shaykhraziev. He can take the post for two consecutive five-year terms. The official thanked everyone for given credence.

''We put hopes on Vasil Gayazovich,'' admonished Minnikhanov.

First Deputy of Shayhraziev became Rinat Zakirov. Thus was solved another question: Zakirov remains Chairman of Executive Committee of World Congress of the Tatars. Another deputy of the head of Shura was appointed Gilmutdinov.

In total, in the Council Milli Shura there were appointed 75 people, among whom there are famous scientists, politicians, cultural figures.

Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Vasil Shaykhraziev was chosen as the head of Milli Shura. Photo: gossov.tatarstan.ru

As for the resolution of the Congress, two important points were specified in the document: the Treaty on delimitation of powers between Tatarstan and the federal center, as well as support for saving the position of Tatarstan President. The meeting ended with a collective singing of the anthem of the Tatar language Tugan tel in the words of G. Tukay.

By Timur Rakhmatullin