''The wind from Moscow is two times colder in Tatarstan''

World Congress of the Tatars spoke about their concern but decided not to go to extremes

''The wind from Moscow is two times colder in Tatarstan'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

The World Congress of the Tatars held a plenary session on the same day as the Tatarstan State Council, which considered the language issue once again. The delegates of this meeting predictably joined the discussion on the hot-button topic, and even used quite strong wording, however, the resolution was adopted with a 10 day deferral. Probably, having in mind that by this time the fate of the Tatar language in Tatarstan schools would finally clarify. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Non-statutory relations

The plenary part of the extended (three-day) meeting of the World Congress of the Tatars (WCT) could give answers to several intriguing questions at once. The first of them — when and how it is planned to approve the new charter of the organization adopted in August of this year at a congress of the WCT. They say that at the planning stage of November event it was even discussed a possibility of holding an extraordinary meeting of the congress since the validity of the old charter expires already in December. As a source close to the WCT informed, a hitch occurred because of one of the paragraphs of the document, according to which the WCT was supposed to be an international organization with a view to further registration at the UN (by the example the World Jewish Congress). However, the ministry of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation opposed it and the charter was suspended.

Nevertheless, this issue was not raised at the meeting. The situation with Milli Shura also was not clarified. A member of this organization, Doctor of Historical Sciences Damir Iskhakov told Realnoe Vremya that Milli Shura since August had not been convened even once. Moreover, its members were not called to the event on 29 November either. ''There was no invitation, and I asked whether I had to attend it or not. I was informed that only the leaders of organizations of the WCT had been invited. But then it is not clear how there turned out to be chairman of Milli Shura Vasil Shaykhraziev. What is more, he even moderates this event.''

Opening the meeting, Shaykhraziev said, ''Milli Shura is my first responsibility after my basic duties.''

Five minutes, five minutes

In fact, Vasil Shaykhraziev not just chaired the meeting — he did it as a full-fledged host. Together with chairperson of the council of the Federal national-cultural autonomy of the Tatars, Deputy of the State Duma of Russia Ildar Gilmutdinov, he was seating right in the middle of the presidium, longstanding chairperson of the Executive Committee of the WCT Rinat Zakirov, in his turn, changed the seat closer to the edge. This, of course, was not a coincidence: it is the chairperson of Milli Shura opened and closed the meeting, commented on the speeches, addressed to the audience, and awarded the distinguished leaders of the congress and journalists. Zakirov outside the framework of his speech did not utter a word.

Opening the meeting, Shaykhraziev said, ''Milli Shura is my first responsibility after my basic duties.'' (We will remind, Vasil Shaykhraziev is Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan). Due to this reason, he has been in Kazan not so often recently, he has travelled across the country, met with local Tatar organizations, and experienced 'nothing but joy and pride' for them.

Having raised the main issue of recent months — the language one, he reminded about what happened a few hours earlier within the walls of the State Council of Tatarstan (approximate quote): ''The Prosecutor has given a speech, then the matter depended on the ministry of education and science of Tatarstan. In everyday life the communication in the Tatar language remains, as well as education. So Kamil khazrat Samigullin also all the time reminds about the need to use the Tatar language. If so, the Tatar language will live.''

After that, Shaykhraziev set priorities for the day, ''At 4:30 p.m. I have a meeting with the prime minister. If the speakers do not confine themselves to 5 minutes, I'll either stop them or they will say at the expense of other speakers. To be clear, 5 minutes – it is two pages of text.''

And gave the floor to Zakirov — of course, for 5 minutes.

Rinat Zakirov did not raise the political questions at all ('there won't be a report, it has already been in August), elaborating mainly on technical aspects and routine

''The wind from Moscow is two times colder in Tatarstan''

Rinat Zakirov did not raise the political questions at all ('there won't be a report, it has already been in August), elaborating mainly on technical aspects and routine — the nuances of the work of the executive committee of the WCT, a growth of women's organizations under the auspices of Ak kalfak…

''It has already passed the time of three people,'' stated the chairperson.

After such a remark, Ildar Gilmutdinov in order to save time did not even bother to go to the tribune and spoke directly from the presidium. The chairperson of the Duma Committee on Ethnic Affairs was specific:

''And about the language issue. After the New Year we are to hold parliamentary hearings on minority languages. We have collected comments from the regions and, formulating them in 22 proposals, have forwarded to the ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation. Because the federal center cannot declare the regions ''solve it whatever you want, by yourself''. It should not be like this. There should be a comprehensive approach to the issue of preservation of minority languages, especially because the government guarantees their study. Here are the proposals: to provide a normative instructive-methodological introduction of the compulsory subject… (inaudible) 'Native language and literature' in educational programmes of primary and secondary education; to develop unified recommendations for teaching and learning the state and native languages in educational institutions of the subjects of the Russian Federation; to consider the question about regulation of learning the state languages of the republics of the Russian Federation in the new edition of the federal learning standards and exemplary programmes. And to involve scientific and educational organizations of higher education located in the subjects of the federation to the writing of textbooks in the languages of the peoples of Russia, and, perhaps, to delegate these powers to these structures.''

Ildar Gilmutdinov in order to save time did not even bother to go to the tribune and spoke directly from the presidium

Delegate from Ulyanovsk Ramis Safin resented the pressure on the Tatar language in Tatarstan. ''Today, it is being a difficult situation in the republic. In comparison with other regions, in Tatarstan, the wind from Moscow is two times colder. However, for us, the Tatars living outside the republic, this cold will be stronger 10-20 times. Again, in this country for us, the Tartars, life has not been easy. And now it is also not easy. And it will be even harder.''

Many delegates from the regions of Russia have also raised the language issue. So, Faviya Safiullina from Yekaterinburg, told that a number of schools, classes and students in the Tatar language in Sverdlovsk Oblast has decreased, and asked Tatarstan, which has been respected in the regions, 'not to lower the bar'.

''Big doubts about the future of the Tatar language''

Damir Iskhakov believes that this uncontrolled attention focus is quite an amazing phenomenon, ''The most pressing today's issue arose here only because the regions wanted to speak out about the issue. Tatarstan side, in my opinion, tried to avoid it. And, unfortunately, our tribesmen who came from other regions of Russia and from abroad, did not understand what has happened today in the State Council of Tatarstan. In fact, the proposed variant by Tatarstan has not succeed. What will be implemented now, in fact, means reducing the teaching in Russian schools of the Tatar language from state one to elective. Besides, the exam after the ninth grade in the Tatar language will be eliminated. In this situation, I have very large doubts about the future of the Tatar language as a state language in our republic. And the position of the Tatarstan is not quite clear for the regions — they are not explained what is happening.''

In the resolution adopted by the meeting as the basis contains the urge 'to continue work on preservation of existing schools and classes with the Tatar ethno-cultural component' and 'to work purposefully with parents and school administration' (what work exactly is not clear). Besides, the Congress plans to turn to the authorities, to Russian and even the international community 'for support of the measures for conservation and development of ethnic education, language and culture of peoples in the context of globalization and contemporary social processes.'

''And there is no even a word about the 2020 All-Russian census,'' Iskhakov commented on the document. ''Although it is time to start discussing it. When the problem arises, we will simply not have time to prepare. But the issue is complex. Let me remind you, at the last census we have lost in Bashkortostan more than 250,000 Tatars.''

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By Rustem Shakirov. Photo: Maksim Platonov