Tatar national identity conservation has its budget and KPI approved

Tatar national identity conservation has its budget and KPI approved

100 million rubles every year

A new state programme Conservation of the Tatar National Identity through 2023 has been officially approved by Tatarstan Prime Minister Aleksey Pesoshin’s decree. The document thoroughly describes its goals and budget — it turned out that 420,1 million rubles will be spent for four years.

The programme replaces an analogous one adopted as early as 2013, as Tatarstan Vice Premier Vasil Shaykhraziyev recently said at a session of the Commission for Tatar Language Conservation and Development, up to 32 million rubles were annually allocated for the previous programme’s goals of conservation of the national identity. Now 100 million rubles will be spent. As we see, it is planned to spend 100 million rubles on the programme every year, moreover, the amount in 2021 and 2022 is bigger, about 110 million rubles.

It is noted that the republic’s budget will fund the programme, but the amount can vary considering the treasury’s possibilities. Moreover, it is not excluded that money from municipal budgets and extra-budgetary money will be used. The document also sets key goals of the programme:

  • to increase the number of regions participating in the programme’s events to 60% of all Russian regions;
  • to increase the amount of examined, used and popularised sites of the material and non-material legacy of the Tatars more than threefold compared to 2020 (to compare, such sites total 616 now according to the document);
  • to develop programmes to learn the mother tongue and culture — up to 86 units;
Photo: Maksim Platonov
  • it is intended to raise the number of events aimed to “increase the intellectual potential” to 70% and media projects of the programme to 50%;
  • the programme will go beyond Tatarstan as well: it is to cover at least 49% of “examined regions with conserved settlements densely populated by Tatars”, and up to 60% of all Russian regions should participate in the programme’s events in general;
  • up to 4,000 artefacts dedicated to history and culture of the Tatars living outside the republic should go to museums.
  • the threat of linguistic assimilation amid the domination of the culture of global languages;
  • restriction of opportunities of cultural self-realisation outside regions;
  • cultural globalisation of everyday life;
  • “widespread pseudoscientific theories” about the origin of the Tatars;
  • insufficient consistency and coherence in the state’s actions taken to develop the cultural potential of the Tatars, particularly the Tatar youth.
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The Tatarstan Ministry of Culture will become responsible for the implementation of the programme.

What threatens Tatar identity: assimilation, globalisation and pseudoscience

The preamble to the programme notes that the previous programme yielded fruit: for instance, it is said about the results of archaeological research and popularity of big events like Sabantuy, which became famous in Russia and around the world, as well as the World Tatar Youth Forum, All-Russian Congress of Tatar Language Teachers, Tatar Girl beauty contest and so on. A rise in the attendance of Tatar World online school encyclopaedia (by 60% in 2019, but absolute numbers aren’t mentioned) and Mother Tongue online Tatar language learning project — with over 20,000 registered users — are also noted.

However, the authors of the programme write that the threats to the Tatar identity still persists.

Scientific research and screen adaptation of Tatar classics

The programme envisages over 70 different events in total in four areas: historical legacy, conservation and development of the mother tongue, reinforcement of the intellectual potential and creation of Tatar communicative structure.

As for the historical legacy, together with the republic’s Ministry of Culture and the republican Ministry of Education, the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan and its subdivisions — the Institute of Archaeology and Institute of Language, Literature and Art will also become flagships. The Marjani Institute is mentioned only in one event.

A series of various scientific research and expeditions (as few as four every year) is planned in this area. This also includes different cultural events designed to popularise Tatar craft, the folk legacy and, of course, help to organise Sabantuy festivals in regions.

Moreover, for instance, tourist routes to Tatarstan settlements are developed (the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism will be responsible for it) and compositions of Tatar literature classic are screened (at least two series every year) within this area.

Photo: Ilya Repin

The measures taken to conserve and develop the Tatar language, culture and traditions can be divided into two parts. Training sets will be developed, books and guidebooks will be purchased and printed (moreover, not only for Tatarstan but also other regions) and Mother Tongue project for Tatar learning will be supported in the first part.

The second part is linked with events. It includes, for example, Tatar Culture Days and similar events in Russia and abroad, Apipa Tatar folk dance TV contest, Idel House theatre contest, organisation of Tatar youth forums and Round Game International Tatar Folk Festival.

Popular festivals and grants for 10 million rubles

The reinforcement of intellectual and research potential also surprises with a variety of events. For instance, an award named after famous Tatar singer Ilgam Shakirov whose creation became known yesterday will be given within this area. Already existing popular events such as Jadidfest urban culture festival and Hay Market Tatar design festival, Tatar Girl beauty contest and others are also part of this area.

At the same time, there are non-entertaining events such as The Tatar Dictation, the World Forum of Tatar Scientists and All-Russian Congress of Tatar Language Teachers and the All-Russian Congress of Tatar Village Entrepreneurs. Moreover, in this area there will be given grants to support public organisations in regions — 10 million rubles will be annually allocated for these grants. This money also includes sociological research on the Tatar national identity in 2021-2022 and internships for PhD candidates who research problems of Tatar studies.

The development of Tatar information infrastructure is the area with the smallest number of events, eight in total that are mainly linked with publishing scientific and reference books. The Tatar encyclopaedia is planned to be digitalised and the Tatar Folk Fund is scheduled to be created within this area.

By Aleksandr Artemyev
Tatarstan