Rustam Minnikhanov: ‘We need migrants. Tatarstan is a large industrial centre. We can’t do it without them’
Chatbots for migrants, standardisation of folk costumes, and a census of craftsmen
The Tatarstan establishment understands what a weak policy regarding the integration of migrant workers into the public life of the republic can lead to. Thousands of newcomers work in the Zakamsky zone, but their lives should not be limited only to work. Recently, the National Library of Tatarstan has hosted a meeting of the Council on Interethnic and Interfaith Relations and the Organising Committee for the Year of National Cultures and Traditions in the republic. It summed up the work on the preservation and popularisation of the national cultures of the region, as well as talked about the adaptation of migrants and the introduction of children to folk traditions. A journalist of Realnoe Vremya attended the meeting.
Days of Tatarstan Culture in Egypt and Iran
In 2023, 136 events have been implemented in 11 sections within the framework of the implementation plan of the national policy of Russia in Tatarstan, Minister of Culture of the Republic Irada Ayupova stated. According to her, more than 185 thousand people participated in the events aimed at the unity of the country's peoples in the region — by 35% more than last year.
National holidays are an integral part of any national culture. They are held annually in Tatarstan. Every third resident of the region attends such events, Ayupova said. The number of families with children and visitors has increased 1.5 times this year. Festivals are also popular, which the Minister of Culture called a catalyst for interest in folk traditions. At the meeting, the heads of municipalities were obliged to submit to the department a plan for holding national holidays and ethnocultural festivals in the first half of 2024.
Another component, without which it is impossible to imagine folk culture, is ethnic costumes. Ayupova noted that today there is a growing interest in wearing clothes with elements of national culture. At the same time, scaling and stylising costumes can lead to the threat of losing their original materials and meanings. In this regard, next year the Ministry of Culture, together with the scientific community, will review the requirements for the clothing of creative teams and create a standard for the Tatar national costume. Folk crafts will not be ignored either. In 2024, Tatarstan plans to conduct a census of all masters of folk arts and crafts in the republic and abroad — the World Congress of Tatars will help with this. Ayupova assured that craftsmen from even small villages would not be forgotten. The Ministry of Culture will describe the secrets of their skills together with the Academy of Sciences so that local traditions are not lost.
The republic plans not only to preserve traditions, but also to spread them outside the region. In 2024, days of culture of Tatarstan will be held in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Perm Krai, Azerbaijan, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and, according to tradition, in Moscow, Ayupova said.
Chatbots for migrants in their native languages
The issue of migrants was also raised at the meeting. For their successful integration into society, chatbots in the native languages of the displaced people will be launched in the republic, helping in various life situations. This was told by the head of the Republican Agency for Press and Mass Communications Tatmedia, Aidar Salimgarayev. He stressed that Tatarstan is the leader in the number of migrants arriving in the Volga Federal District, so it is especially important to correctly cover interethnic issues. According to Salimgarayev, training programmes for the media are systematically conducted in the republic.
“It is important to train not only journalists, but also all subjects of national politics for their proactive activities in the information space. Together with the Ministry of Culture of Tatarstan, the Association of the Peoples of Tatarstan, and municipal districts, a lighting algorithm has been developed aimed at step-by-step interaction with the audience. It includes an announcement with a description of the highlight of the event, holding a press conference, well-organised organisation of press tours, distribution of press and post-releases. This is accompanied by infographics on social networks in the languages of the peoples of Tatarstan," said the head of Tatmedia.
Later, Rustam Minnikhanov, the rais of Tatarstan, spoke about the importance of working with migrants.
“We do need migrants, today we are a large industrial centre and we cannot cope without them. But at the same time, their stay should be regulated within the framework of existing norms and laws. If they are not there, we should come up with a proposal, as it should be," he stressed.
According to the rais, there should be a body in the republic that will deal with this problem. Minnikhanov suggested considering international experience and not letting the problem take its course, because “certain difficulties already exist”.
Another training programme, which Salimgarayev spoke about, was organised for the staff of the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan and aimed at popularising research in the field of national cultures. As a result, the number of subscribers on the pages of academic communities in social networks has also increased, as well as the number of sites on which they are represented. Besides, according to Salimgarayev, Tatarstan actively cooperates with foreign media — six press tours have been held for them in the republic during the current year.
“We received journalists from the Middle East, Central Asia, China, Indonesia, Belarus. Since KazanForum 2023 alone, 667 materials have been published in foreign media," he said.
Native culture for children
Another topic that was repeatedly raised at the meeting was familiarisation with the native culture of the younger generation. This requires content about national heroes, says Radik Abdrakhmanov, the co-founder of the Tugan Avylym national tourist complex, one of the authors of the Tugan Batyr project. He said that in 2023, the circulation of the book “Legends of Tugan Batyr” about the Tatar fairy-tale hero amounted to 15 thousand copies. For comparison, in 2022, the first part of “Tugan Batyr and the Saber of Truth” was published in three thousand copies. The presentation of the new book takes place in 2024.
Abdrakhmanov said that he plans to create a 52-part animated series and even a full-length film. A teaser of the cartoon in the Tatar language was presented at the meeting, which was appreciated by Rustam Minnikhanov. At the end of the meeting, the rais of the republic noted that Tatarstan is finishing the year with dignity.
“We will work in the same direction so that the republic will be an example of peace and harmony. Any nation, any faith should feel comfortable here," he concluded.