She asked 1990 people “how should the language situation in Tatarstan develop?” Nineteen percent responded that Russian should be the language “in all spheres” of life, while 4.5 percent said that the language should be Tatar. But 71 percent said bilingualism should be the basis for Tatarstan’s development.
Nizamova also asked over the past summer “Do you consider that pupils should have the chance to take the state educational exam in their native language?” Just over half of the sample – 52 percent – said yes, 28.4 percent said no, and 19.5 percent found it difficult to give any answer.
Taken together, these numbers suggest that in Tatarstan at least, there is far less support among ethnic Russians for Russian as opposed to other languages than many in Moscow have been suggesting and far more tolerance for the development of various language communities. To the extent that is true, such attitudes may slow Vladimir Putin’s Russianization drive.