Wednesday, December 18, 2019

‘One Can’t be Half Ukrainian or Half Russian or Half Tatar and Half Bashkir,’ Minnikhanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 16 – Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov has added his voice to those Tatars and officials in other republics of the Russian Federation who have long opposed Academician Valery Tishkov’s plan to allow respondents in the 2020 Russian census to declare more than one nationality.

            Speaking in Kazan, Minnikhanov says he doesn’t agree with the idea of offering those survived the chance to declare themselves “Bashkir-Tatars,” one of the upshots of Tishkov’s controversial proposal.  “One cannot be half Ukrainian and half Russian” and the same applies to Tatars and Bashkirs ( and

            “An individual must feel himself a Ukrainian, a Russian, a Bashkir [or] a Tatar,” the Tatarstan leader said, adding that he “proudly” will declare himself to be a Tatar in next year’s census.

            Tishkov, a former nationalities minister and former head of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, has been pushing for the dual nationality option for more than a decade; but he faces growing resistance from scholars, officials, and politicians and may not get his way this time around despite his closeness to Vladimir Putin.

            Tatars have long been suspicious of Tishkov because of his role in having the Russian authorities include in the census various people and languages that the Kazan Tatars consider to be part of their own nation to cut into the size of the second largest nationality in the country. Among these are the Kryashens, the Mishars, and the Astrakhan, Kasimov and Siberian Tatars (cf.

            Scholars and other Tatar politicians have spoken out against Tishkov’s ideas in recent months (  and With Minnikhanov now on board, Kazan presents a united front on this issue.

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