Sunday, January 23, 2022

Abolishing Non-Russian Republics Would Make Nationality Question Ten Times Worse, Russian Blogger from Kazan Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 4 – Abolishing the Republic of Tatarstan as some Russian nationalists would like to do would make the nationality question “ten times” worse than it is today, possibly even leading to the kind of explosion Tatar nationalists would like because it would lead to their independence, Mark Shishkin says.

            Shishkin, an ethnic Russian who blogs on the Tsar of Kazan telegram channel (, says that Russians who choose to learn Tatar and work in Tatarstan are doing more for the Russian cause of preserving the country’s territorial integrity than their Russian nationalist critics recognize (

            Such people are numerous among the 1.5 million ethnic Russians in Tatarstan, they root that republic in Russia, and Tatar leaders except for a few hotheads recognize that as long as Russians recognize a Tatar republic and realize they need to learn some Tatar, the future of Tatarstan is assured but only within a Russian Federation.

            Indeed, Shishkin says, the one third of Russians who elect to study Tatar “are the very best the Russian people have in the Middle Volga. These are people who do not intend to go anywhere and live in Moscow suburbs. They are people who will now allow the de-Russification of Tatarstan about which of course, some Tatar nationalists dream.”

            The Tatar national project was and remains strong, but in its heart are 1.5 million Russians. They identify with the Tatars but the Tatars recognize what that means. Moscow is not doing much for the Russians of Tatarstan, but the Tatars of that republic recognize that they are an asset not a threat.

            If Russia wants to survive in something like its current borders, Shishkin says, it must recognize that reality and accept multi-culturalism as a way of life. If it doesn’t and worse if it tries to eliminate the non-Russian republics, Moscow and the Russian people will only be the losers.

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