CSO of the Week: All-Tatar Public Centre, Kazan
Flag of the All-Tatar Public Centre

The All-Tatar Public Centre is a civil society organisation based in Kazan, Tatarstan. By tradition each year it holds an annual event to commemorate the Tatars who died in the 1552 conquest of Kazan by Russian forces.

RFE/RL, Friday, 16 October 2020: A court in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, has ruled that it was illegal for the city administration not to allow the annual commemoration of Tatars who died during the 1552 siege of Kazan by Russian troops, an annual event that municipal officials have banned for the first time since 1989. The chairman of the All-Tatar Public Center, Farit Zakiyev, told RFE/RL that the Vakhitov district court ruling on October 16 will allow his organization to hold the annual event, known as Commemoration Day, in Kazan’s Tinchurin park on October 18 as initially planned.

RFE/RL, Thursday, 15 October 2020: Police have detained two activists in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan and ordered them not to mark the day of Commemoration of Tatars who died during the 1552 siege of Kazan by Russian troops, an annual event that city officials have banned for the first time since 1989. The chairman of the All-Tatar Public Center, Farit Zakiyev, and the leader of the Azatlyk (Liberty) Tatar Youth Association, Nail Nabiullin, were detained on October 15 before being officially warned by police of possible repercussions if they hold unsanctioned events to commemorate the 468th anniversary of the fall of Kazan — once the capital of the Kazan Khanate, which is now the capital of modern Tatarstan within the Russian Federation.

RFE/RL, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: A single-person picket has been held in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan region, to protest against a decision to cancel a planned rally to commemorate Tatars fallen during the city’s siege by Russian troops in 1552, an event marked annually in the city since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Activist Kashif Gatin held a poster in downtown Kazan, saying “October 15 is Commemoration Day! A nation without memory has no future!” during the picket, which does not require preliminary permission to hold. Gatin told RFE/RL that the city administration’s decision was against the interests of the Tatar people, who have a right to remember their past. The Kazan city administration explained the move by saying it came at the request of the local prosecutor, who said that “the goal of the event was unclear.”

According to Wikipedia: The All-Tatar Public Center, (ATPC, BTİÜ), also known as the Tatar Social Center (Tatar Latin: Bötentatar İctimağí Üzäge, BTİÜ; Cyrillic: Бөтентатар Иҗтимагый Үзәге, БТИҮ; Russian Всетата́рский Обще́ственный Центр, ВТОЦ) is a Tatar social organization with a nationalist agenda. The ATPC headquarters are in Kazan, Tatarstan. The first congress (qorıltay) of Tatar nationalists was held in February, 1989. The newly formed organization was named the Tatar Public Center (Tatar İctimağí Üzäge). The charter and the program of the ATPC were adopted at the second congress (February, 1991). At this congress, the name of the organization was changed to the All-Union Tatar Public Center and the 35-member presidium was elected. Subsequently, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the name was changed once again to what it is now (1992). The ATPC was established by M. Mölekev (the first chairman), İ Ämixanov, Fäwziä Bäyrämeva, Z. Zäynulin, R. Safin, F. Safiullin and some others. Most of them were intellectuals from Kazan State University. The current chairman is Rafis Kashapov. In late 1980s- early 1990s, the ATPC organized many demonstrations and public meetings demanding that the government of Tatarstan proclaims the republic independent of Russia. The only time when these manifestations resulted in clashes and street fighting was on October 15, 1991, when Russian nationalists arranged a counter-demonstration which provoked a violent confrontation. In the following years, Tatarstan’s government led by Mintimer Shaymiev has assumed a more adversarial position towards Moscow, which significantly weakened the ATPC’s unique role as the defender of ethnic Tatars. As a result, the ATPC’s popularity went down among the majority of the population while the popularity of president Shaymiev grew. Tatarstan’s special status within the Russian Federation and economic concessions from Moscow achieved by Shaymiev made many demands of Tatar nationalists superfluous. In the last few years, the ATPC has not been as active as in the past. The majority of the participants in its most recent demonstrations are pensioners. The only exception is the Memorial Day (Xäter Köne) held in October of each year to commemorate the fall of Kazan. This event attracts many participants, both young and old, from all parts of Idel-Ural and is accompanied by a funeral march and Tatar rock music concerts. In some regions of Russia, local chapters of the Tatar Public Center collaborate with local officials and concentrate mostly on cultural activities within local Tatar diasporas. However, in Bashkortostan the ATPC played an important political role as an opposition force against the regime of president Murtaza Rakhimov. Read more

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