Staunton, March 14 – “The most important ‘national’ task” Tatarstan has this year, historian Ayrat Fayzrakhmanov says, is “the preservation of the institute of the presidency” in the republic. Only the people of Tatarstan should have a say on this despite Moscow’s insistence that there not be any presidents in the country except of the Russian Federation as a whole.
Fayzrakhmanov’s identification of this issue as the most important of the six tasks he lists for Kazan this year suggests, although he does not say, that he and perhaps others in Tatarstan expect Moscow to step up pressure on Kazan to drop “president” as the title for the head of the republic in the near future (business-gazeta.ru/article/461177).
The other six tasks he mentions are:
1. Ensuring that the number of Tatars enumerated in the upcoming census is not reduced by the actions of Moscow officials or the authorities in Bashkortostan and Astrakhan where there are sizeable Tatar communities. That is essential because the size of the nation “defines its political weight and authority.” Unfortunately, he says, Kazan isn’t prepared for this.
2. Completing the Tatar national strategy document, something on which little progress has been made in the last year.
3. Promoting polylingual education not only to ensure the survival of Tatar but to position Tatarstan to link up with the most advanced countries of the world.
4. Improving the process of licensing Tatar language textbooks so that the schools will have high quality learning materials.
5. Celebrating not only the centenary of the Tatarstan ASSR but also the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the republic’s declaration of sovereignty and the 30th of the establishment of the office of republic president.
6. Returning the national-cultural coloration to Kazan so that it does not become a faceless megalopolis.