Friday, July 1, 2022

To Defend Nation under Attack, Tatars Must Focus on Original Meaning of ‘Republic,’ Garayev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 11 – With its republic structures under attack, Danis Garayev says, Tatars must focus on the original meaning of “republic” and work to strengthen that so that Moscow’s attacks on the more recent meaning of that term will not have such a negative impact and may even be turned back.

            The head of the Kazan Laboratory of Social Prediction and Warning at the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Social Problems points out that the origin of the term “republic” is to be found in the Latin “res publica,” that is “the public thing” or more generally “the common task” (

            It referred to efforts by the community to build shared infrastructure and thus to acquire a sense of community. Only much later, in modern times, did republic take on the meaning of a political community that was able to govern itself through popular vote. Tatarstan was created when that definition was ascendant but now that it isn’t, Tatars need to remember the earlier one.

             The Tatars both in the republic itself and in the diaspora must now focus on the construction of public facilities which can support the nation even if its “republic” institutions are under attack because the very act of coming together to build such things will help maintain the nation until the time comes when it can recover the republic in the modern sense.

             This is less a defeatist message than an acknowledge that at a time when the Kremlin seems committed to the destruction of the formal institutions of the republics and even of the republics themselves, there is a great deal that the Tatars and other non-Russians can do to support national identity and thus be ready to recover what they are losing eventually.


No comments:

Post a Comment