Two quotes from the Free Idel-Ural forums.
Author No. 1: “Because the Tatars and Tatarstan, even today on the territory of the modern Volga Federal District, play the role of a locomotive, both economic, regional and political. It is no secret that on the territory of the Idel-Ural, only where the Tatars managed to survive more or less compactly, the Erzya, the Mari, the Chuvash, and the Udmurts manage to survive to some extent even thanks to them… The Tatars have always been the very axis of survival of all the ethnic masses of the Idel-Ural, they play the same role that the Germans and Germany play in the EU today.”
Author #2: “Well, you shouldn’t engage in self-aggrandizement and self-admiration, even if there is some truth in it, it is at least immodest.”
I am sympathetic to the opinions of both authors, I agree with their posts, but … I remember a comic character who said, “They stole a horse, and a cart, and an outerwear, and a hat. And I hid the letter in my hat, so that if the hat is stolen, at least the letter will be intact!”
What is the sense of rejoicing at the “Tatar locomotive” if it is rushing at full speed towards the abyss?
Yes, today the Tatars have survived as the original ethnic group, but it is on the verge of dissolving in the Russian imperial super-ethnos. Do you remember what happened to the Roman Empire in the V century? It collapsed, and new states began to emerge on its ruins. The elements of the ethnic mosaic crumbled, the process of ethnogenesis took a new path and continued in some places in Europe until
XIX century. As a result, new nationalities and national cultures were born and developed that did not previously exist on the map of Europe: the French, the British, the Germans, the Czechs, the Romanians. It is possible that the hypothetical collapse of the Russian Federation can give impetus to similar processes.
On the territory of the former Kazan Khanate, the process of assimilation of the Tatars proceeds with different intensity. If some of the lands taken away from the Tatars (Samara, Saratov, Orenburg, etc.) are more actively involved in the process of the disappearance of the Tatars, then the “nuclear” Tatarstan is still holding on. It is trying to fight, it is still able to give rise to the idea of the state independence, put forward adherents of this idea, keep alive the fire of the national culture and language, loudly declare the right to identity and sovereignty. But the threats today are such that they cause justified excitement among the advanced part of the Tatar intellectuals and the thinking Tatar people. The main threat is the decision of the government of the Republic of Tatarstan, taken under the dictation of Moscow, on the voluntary study of the Tatar language in the secondary schools of the Republic.
The Tatars are hit at the most unprotected and sore point, declaring, on the one hand, the opportunity to choose the education language at will, and on the other hand, taking away the prospect of building a successful personal career from graduates of Tatar-speaking schools and classes, the education at institutes is mostly in Russian. And propaganda of various types added to the arsenal of anti-Tatar weapons: all the best and most successful, the most modern, the brightest and most noticeable was presented by television, the media, as a product of “great Russian culture”.
Musical works, concert programs, translated literature, various TV shows, public relations, various types of advertising, all this in a great amount of information exists in Tatarstan in Russian. Commerce dictates its own rules, because cultural products are also goods. Who will translate books into Tatar if this jeopardizes edition? Why make a show in the native language, if it might be difficult to sell it for re-release in other regions? Why sing songs in Tatar if you want to get into top competitions or tour all over Russia and abroad? Therefore, there is a situation of “dying” of the language, then culture, and then the original people.
There is no need to chew on this situation for any of the Tatars, everyone sees everything. They see, for example, “languageless” Tatars (who have lost their knowledge of the language or refused to study it), they see those who, when asked about their nationality, answer that they are Russian (that way is easier ). They see that the mentality is blurred, the features unusual for a real Tatar appear in the national character.
Another twenty or thirty years will pass and the Tatar language will become a relic: it seems to exist, and it seems not. Subject to the preservation of the current government in the Russian Federation (with the same isolationist trend in politics and the life of the state in general) and the loyal toadying of the authorities of the Republic of Tatarstan, the author of the post about the “Tatar locomotive” and the “axis of survival of all the ethnic masses of the Idel-Ural” will be simply understood by few people. “Thanks to the Tatars, Erzya, and Mari, and Chuvash, and Udmurts managed to survive…” And who are these Erzya, and Mari, and Chuvash, and Udmurts? Where did you see them? And the Tatars have always been faithful brothers of the Russians, and therefore merged into one language and culture.