World Congress of Tatars offers to focus on culture instead of culture

The first meeting of the National Congress bureau: eulogies and plans

The first meeting of the National Congress bureau organised by the World Congress of Tatars after a summer meeting was dedicated to the results of the country’s census in 2021 that demonstrated that the official number of Tatars reduced by 600,000. While some shared event-related summaries and plans, others offered to write a clear and true textbook on history, focus on religion and draw graphic novels. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Gathering of committees

Representatives of the congress not only from Kazan but also Orenburg, Bashkortostan, Samara, Tyumen gathered in the meeting room of the World Congress of Tatars. Perhaps, the speech of Rinat Nasyrov who chaired the bureau’s committee for entrepreneurs was the most resourceful. In fact, a significant part of the meeting was devoted to the speech of the heads of these committees.

For instance, the leader of the committee Tatar Diplomacy and International Affairs, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Tatars Danis Shakirov said that a new association was planned to be created in Kyrgyzstan in June — Asian Tatars including representatives of CIS countries.

Rinat Nasyrov from Tyumen (Tatar Diplomacy and International Affairs) was specific enough too.

“We, Tatarstan, have done a lot since 2010 without understanding,” the businessman said starting with mass migration to cities. “Our Tatar villages where 100% of Tatars used to live gradually moved to cities, and high-rises, 25-storey blocks of flats appeared there, and 10% of Tatars left there. The third mistake is that we build big schools. Our village Kyrynkul has a school for 1,450 children. As a result, only 450 people are Tatar children.”

The population’s disunity leads to assimilation, Nasyrov indicated and asked to intensify pre-school training, particularly mentioning the Montessori system. Head of the committee Culture and Religious Heritage of the Tatars Rkail Zaydulla as usual was immersed into political philosophy:

“Perhaps not everybody will like my words. But half our people do not know the Tatar language, are far from the traditions. To create some interest, it is necessary to translate our cultural landmarks, the same dastans, what we aren’t ashamed to show into Russia and spread.”

Also, Zaydulla who develops a translation centre as head of the Tatarstan Union of Writers recommended resorting to the experiences of Jews who created the official language Hebrew.

“A state is needed for this,” said the State Council deputy.

“Serious changes cannot be made in education”

Damir Iskhakov who complained that just eight people enrolled in his committee but head of the Institute of History Radik Salikhov wasn’t among them was responsible for history. “He is absent today too. He is sitting at a meeting somewhere.” After personal complaints, Iskhakov switched to teaching history:

“Our 15 textbooks gather dust,” he indicated and added that Tatars are hardly covered in the history of Russia, for instance, in the Golden Horde period, there is no word ‘Tatar,” however, there are “Horde people.” Also, Ikhakov enumerated the cases of “attacks on history” that happen “outside Tatarstan.” A monument to Tamerlan in Samara and the book Siberian Yurt where Kazakhs complain about the Siberian Khanate are among them.

It is noteworthy that the previous leaders of the World Congress of Tatarstan were at the meeting too — Indus Tagirov and Rinat Zakirov. The latter offered to switch from the work on education to culture:

“Serious changes cannot be made in education, we all understand it,” Zakirov said. “Therefore I offer to make culture the main area of work in the congress, national organisations.”

In this regard, attendees had many ideas — from stagings about national heroes in theatres, graphic novels and cartoons. And a lot of books. Particularly Marat Akhmetov, head of the Tatarstan president’s commission for the conservation, development of Tatar and mother tongues of representatives of ethnicities living in Tatarstan, claimed that a small history textbook that would be clear for an ordinary reader. And here he asked Iskhakov who was sitting in front of him: there were sponsors, if they were ready to chair the job.

“If there is money, it is possible...” the historian replied.

“No, are you taking it up? Deal. And this book shouldn’t have any contradictory moments.”

While head of the National Congress Vasil Shaykhraziyev offered to hold a meeting of the bureau once a quarter and that of the national council twice a year and created another committee for youth affairs.

Radif Kashapov. Photo:

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