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Tatar nation building since 1991 : Ethnic mobilisation in historical perspective

Author(s): Christopher Williams

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 94;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Russia | Tatarstan | federalism | sovereignty | separatism

This study analyses the process of ethnic mobilization in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras and assesses the way in which history, memory and the treatment of the Volga Tatars by the Soviet state, especially under Lenin and Stalin, affected their long term desire for greater independence from Moscow. The central argument of this study is that Volga Tatar’s nation building was influenced by changes introduced under Gorbachev and by the weaknesses of the post-Sovietstate particularly during the Yeltsin era of the 1990s. The article assesses the strategies the President of Tatarstan and his advisors utilized during this period,especially after 1985, to successfully negotiate a bilateral treaty with Moscow in February 1994 granting Tatarstan greater autonomy and independence. Within this framework, the article then provides a detailed analysis of the approach taken in Tatarstan to achieve this goal and to renew the treaty in October 2005, despite Putin’s recentralization policies from 2000-2008.
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