Saturday, October 10, 2015

New Kazan Paper Seeks to Unite Turkic Nations of the Russian Federation

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 10 – The Azatlyk Union of Tatar Youth has launched a new paper, Tyurkskiy vzglyad [“The Turkic View”], this week to promote a common identity among the various Turkic peoples of the Russian Federation as part of a larger project to overcome divisions within the Turkic world more generally.

            The newspaper appears in both Russian and Tatar, and its publisher, Nail Nabiullin, the head of the Azatlyk Union, says that the paper plans in the near future to launch a webpage where visitors will be able to read it in Turkish and English as well (

“In the Russian Federation, he continues, “live dozens of Turkic peoples, but up to now there has been lacking a common Turkic information space, a media which would tell Turks about Turks” and thus promote both pride in the common achievements and a sense of common identity. Tyurkskiy vzglyad is intended to fill “at least partially” this need.

“Naturally, being a social-political publication,” he says, “we will touch on various issues of the observing of the constitutional rights and interests of the Turkic peoples.” In this way, “we hope that Tyurkskiy vzglyad will become “an information bridge for Turkic peoples whose voice will be heard by society at large and in the first instance by fraternal [Turkic] peoples.”

According to Nabiiullin, “Turks are a super-ethnos that includes within itself more than 30 ethnoses and number more than 300 million people throughout the world. Turks are a nation that created dozens of empires on the enormous territories of Eurasia and spread their influence from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from the northern seas to the war waters of the Indian Ocean.”

The main problem of Turks today, he argues, is the divisions within this superethnos which keep various Turkic peoples from uniting. “How can Turks be brought to a new unity?” Nabiullin asks rhetorically. “The times of khans and great conquests is past. The most powerful force of the 21st century is information.”

Therefore, the editor says, “I consider the first step to unification must be the enlightenment of the peoples.” They must gain access to “necessary information” about their common problems and common aspirations.  “Using contemporary marketing methods, we will be able to tell the Turks about their great history” and awaken them from their “lethargy.”

“I am convinced,” Nabiullin says, “that only through enlightenment will we be able to achieve the unity of Turks having shown the way to the eventual creation of a political nation.”

Whether this paper will take off and find its audience or whether the Russian authorities will seek to strangle it in its cradle, of course, remains to be seen. But what is remarkable is the resurfacing of pan-Turkic ideas within Russia and the fact that the Kazan Tatars, as they have so often in the past, are assuming a major role in their promotion.

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