Academic journal article Civilacademy Journal of Social Sciences

Tatarstan: The Search for Political identity/Tataristan: Bir Siyasi Kimlik Arayisi

Academic journal article Civilacademy Journal of Social Sciences

Tatarstan: The Search for Political identity/Tataristan: Bir Siyasi Kimlik Arayisi

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper unfolds the historical development of the relationship between Tatars and Russians. In doing so, first it explores the roots of the relationship by discussing cultural, religious, and socio-economsic factors. In the second part, it examines the recent developments that have occurred under Putin's administration as well as the ongoing debates related to the status of the republic and the unity of the Russian Federation. Finally, the research ends up predicting the future of relations between ethnic groups and presents a view on upcoming shift in ruling positions from both sides in 2008.

OZET

Bu makale Tatarlar ve Ruslar arasindaki iliskilerin tarihsel surecini aciklamaktadir. Bunu yaparken; ilk once kulturel, dini ve sosyo-ekonomik faktorleri ele alarak bu iliskinin koklerine inmektedir. Ikinci bolumde ise, Putin doneminde meydana gelen son gelismelerle birlikte cumhuriyetin vaziyeti ve Rusya Federasyonu'nun birligi konularinda suregiden tartismalar ele alinmistir. Son olarak, calisma etnik gruplar arasindaki iliskilerin gelecegini ongorup, iki tarafta da 2008'de olusacak yonetim degisiklikler hakkinda mutalaalar sunarak sona ermektedir.

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Characterized by an unusually high level of autonomy from Moscow, Tatarstan is currently one of 21 ethnicity based republics in the Russian Federation. Tatars' historical search for their identity has taken centuries since invasion by Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible in the 1550s. Despite everlasting controversies among politicians as well as scholars advocating either federalist or unitarist views, the current friendly relationship that has been reached between the nations today serves as a model not only for all other ethnic regions of Russia but also to the world community facing intercultural and religious disputes. Current President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev, known as one of the most powerful political figures in modern Russia, in one of his recent speeches has described the situation as follows: "Russians and Tatars have different cultures--Slavic and Turkic. The history of mutual relations was rather complex, that was kept in the mentality of the people as they adhere to different religious beliefs. The way things developed in Bosnia or the Chechen Republic was quite possible also in Tatarstan. However, Tatarstan managed to develop the model of democracy which assumes carrying out the policy of "balance of interests" among ethno-confessional groups and parties. Tatarstan cannot be the subject of international law in full sense of this word, but within the limits of its own powers Tatarstan pursues a policy which promotes not only economic development, but also mutual understanding between the East and the West, the Islamic world and Europe".

The current stability achieved in the Republic of Tatarstan with all its benefits and tensions has deep roots. Thus I divide my analysis into two parts. Firstly I will go through a historical development of the relationship between two nations. In parallel I will also try to explore the roots and nature of the relationship discussing cultural, religious, and other socio-economic factors. In the second part I will refer to the recent developments under Putin's administration and ongoing debates related to the status of the republic and the unity of the Russian Federation. Finally I will turn back to the research question: Has Tatarstan found its identity or not? What can be expected to change after the upcoming shift in ruling positions from both sides in 2008?

The modern Republic of Tatarstan originates in the 8th century. Historians confirm that Bulghars, ancestors of Tatars, had wide trade links with Middle East, Baltic, and Eurasia. The Volga and Kama rivers played an important role as the state's major transportation veins. The proud nation of Bulghars was one of the dominating ethnicities of the region and played a greater role in a life of the neighboring nations. …

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