Thursday, October 12, 2023

Kazan Does It Again: Tells Moscow What Kremlin Wants to Hear and Then Pursues Its Own Line

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 10 – Two weeks ago, as it often has in the past, the government of Tatarstan in its official nationalities policy statement told Moscow what the center wanted to hear, that Kazan would no longer spend its money promoting Tatarstan identity but would promote an all-Russian identity there instead.

            But today, again consistent with past Tatarstan government tactics, Kazan announced that it would spend 265 million rubles (2.7 million US dollars) doing precisely what it dropped from its much criticized report and instead Tatar identity ( and

            Many Tatars and other non-Russians were appalled by the announcement two weeks ago (, and many of the same people are likely to be pleased by the news today, seeing it as one more indication that despite pressure from the center, Kazan has found a way to navigate the situation.

            Whether this is sustainable is an open question; but as long as Moscow is distracted by other issues such as its war in Ukraine and as long as Kazan is prepared to say the right things in official documents regardless of what it is in fact doing, Putin and his regime may be prepared to allow this to go on, at least by the second largest nation in the country. 

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