Monday, August 28, 2023

Tatar Journalists More Likely to Cover Controversial Topics When They Write or Speak in Tatar, One of Their Number Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 28 – Tatar journalists are more likely to cover controversial topics when they write or speak in Tatar than they are when they use Russian, according to Alfiya Minnullina, one of the founders of the online newspaper Intertat, calling attention to a pattern likely true of most non-Russian areas of the Russian Federation.

            Minnullina, 60, was one of the first journalists in Tatarstan to see the advantages that the Internet could give to Tatar-language materials and their distribution beyond the borders of the republic (

            She created the first Tatar-language online newspaper for that audience and then was involved 20 years ago in the creation of Intertat, a portal which still exists and communicates not only to Tatars within Tatarstan but to Tatars living elsewhere in the former Soviet space and more broadly.

            The Tatars of Tatarstan, Minnullina says, “are quite intimidated and accustomed to surviving in difficult conditions … Of course, they have been forced to be afraid. Otherwise, they would have been crushed … There is no point in risking your career or your life; and there is no need to demand such sacrifices from a journalist.”,

            But “at the same time,” she says, “I believe that our journalists don’t hush up sensitive issues,” adding that “in the Tatar-language segment of the media, the truth appears even more often” than in the Russian, something that gives up for the future but presents a challenge to those who try to follow Tatar developments only via the Russian.

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