Many Tatars, of course, are secular or even atheist; and there are many worthy people among these groups. But many Russian-speaking Tatars are Muslims, something many who push language above everything else find impossible to imagine. They forget that “religion even without language can support national self-consciousness.”
To be sure, Batyr says, “not just any conception of Islam serves the goal of the self-preservation of Tatars. Part of the Muslim theologians openly speak against national modes of life.” But Islam understood properly can serve as the basis for the continued existence and even growth of the Tatar nation, even if parts of it speak Russian rather than Tatar.
The emergence of that kind of Islam needs to be promoted, but the new Strategy document doesn’t even mention religion.