Wednesday, March 20, 2024

100 Quotations from Putin about Tatarstan – from ‘Criminal Outpost’ to ‘Example of Development We Can’t Do Without’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 16 – One of the consequences of Vladimir Putin’s long time in power is that he has talked about many subjects many times, often taking different positions at different times. Emblematic of this is a selection of 100 Putin remarks about Tatarstan between 1999 and today.

            Assembled by Kazan’s online Business-Gazeta, the quotations provide something for everyone, from full-throated condemnation of Tatarstan as a region “controlled by criminals” to an example of development so important that “we can’t do without the Tatars” (

            The very diversity of Putin’s remarks is less a reflection of the evolution in his views and of the situation in Tatarstan, although there is some of that, but more a product of the Kremlin leader’s complicated attitude toward the second largest nation within the Russian Federation and his willingness and ability to display different aspects of this at different times.

            The longer Putin is in power, the more likely this is to be the case for more and more issues, a phenomenon that on the one hand will give him flexibility in the future but on the other will generate ever more distrust because his audiences will have heard  him say just the reverse earlier and remember that.

            In the last decades of Soviet power, some Russians joked that the reason the Kremlin wanted a super computer was to put all of Lenin’s quotes on all sides of all issues in it and make them immediately accessible as the need arose. It is entirely reasonable that some residents of the Russian Federation today will begin to joke about a similar computer file on Putin.  

            If so, such anecdotes will be equally corrosive of Putin's authority however much they may on occasion work to his benefit.  

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