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Republic of Tatarstan

This article is about the republic in Russia. For the ship, see Gepard class frigate.
Republic of Tatarstan
Республика Татарстан (Russian)
Татарстан Республикасы (Tatar)
—  Republic  —
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: National Anthem of the Republic of Tatarstan[1]
Coordinates: 55°33′N 50°56′E / 55.550°N 50.933°E / 55.550; 50.933Coordinates: 55°33′N 50°56′E / 55.550°N 50.933°E / 55.550; 50.933
Political status
Country Russia
Federal district Volga[2]
Economic region Volga[3]
Established May 27, 1920
Capital Kazan
Government (as of August 2010)
 - President[4] Rustam Minnikhanov[5]
 - Legislature State Council[4]
Area (as of the 2002 Census)[6]
 - Total 68,000 km2 (26,254.9 sq mi)
Area rank 44th
Population (2010 Census)[7]
 - Total 3,786,488
 - Rank 8th
 - Density[8] 55.68 /km2 (144.2 /sq mi)
 - Urban 75.4%
 - Rural 24.6%
Time zone(s) MSK (UTC+04:00)[9]
ISO 3166-2 RU-TA
License plates 16, 116
Official languages Russian;[10] Tatar[11][12]
Official website

The Republic of Tatarstan (Russian: Респу́блика Татарста́н, tr. Respublika Tatarstan, IPA: [rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə tətɐrˈstan]; Tatar Cyrillic: Татарстан Республикасы, Latin: Tatarstan Respublikası) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic) located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan, which is one of Russia's larger and more prosperous cities. The republic borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, and with the Mari El, Udmurt, and Chuvash Republics, as well as with the Republic of Bashkortostan. The unofficial Tatarstan motto is: Bez Buldırabız! (We can!).[13] In the 2010 Census the population of Tatarstan was enumerated to be 3,786,488.[7]

The state has strong ties with its neighbor Bashkortostan.[14][15]


“Tatarstan” derives from the name of the ethnic group—the Tatars—and the Persian suffix -stan (an ending common to many Eurasian countries). Another version of the Russian name is “Тата́рия” (Tatariya), which was official along with “Tatar ASSR” during the Soviet rule.


The republic is located in the center of the East European Plain, approximately 800 kilometers (500 mi) east of Moscow. It lies between the Volga River and the Kama River (a tributary of the Volga), and extends east to the Ural mountains.


Major rivers include (Tatar names are given in parentheses):


Major reservoirs of the republic include (Tatar names are given in parentheses):

The biggest lake is Qaban. The biggest swamp is Kulyagash.


Natural resources

Major natural resources of Tatarstan include oil, natural gas, gypsum, and more. It is estimated that the Republic has over one billion tons of oil deposits.[16]


  • Average January temperature: −16 °C (3 °F)
  • Average July temperature: +19 °C (66 °F)
  • Average annual precipitation: up to 500 mm (20 in)

Administrative divisions


Main article: History of Tatarstan

Part of a series on the
History of Tatarstan
Great Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Mongol invasion
Golden Horde
Khanate of Kazan
Kazan Governorate
Idel-Ural State
Tatar ASSR
Republic of Tatarstan
Tatarstan portal

Middle Ages

The earliest known organized state within the boundaries of Tatarstan was Volga Bulgaria (c. 700–1238 CE). The Volga Bulgars had an advanced mercantile state with trade contacts throughout Inner Eurasia, the Middle East and the Baltic, which maintained its independence despite pressure by such nations as the Khazars, the Kievan Rus and the Cuman-Kipchaks. Islam was introduced by missionaries from Baghdad around the time of ibn Fadlan's journey in 922.

Volga Bulgaria finally fell to the armies of the Mongol prince Batu Khan in the late 1230s (see Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria.) The inhabitants, mixing with the Golden Horde's Kipchak-speaking people, became known as the "Volga Tatars." Another theory postulates that there were no ethnic changes in that period, and Bulgars simply switched to the Kipchak-based Tatar language. In the 1430s, the region again became independent as the base of the Khanate of Kazan, a capital having been established in Kazan, 170 km up the Volga from the ruined capital of the Bulgars.

The Khanate of Kazan was conquered by the troops of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 1550s, with Kazan being taken in 1552. A large number of Tatars were killed and forcibly converted to Christianity and were culturally Russified. Cathedrals were built in Kazan; by 1593 all mosques in the area were destroyed. The Russian government forbade the construction of mosques, a prohibition that was not lifted until the 18th century by Catherine the Great. The first mosque to be rebuilt under Catherine's auspices was constructed in 1766-1770.

Modern times

In the 19th century Tatarstan became a center of Jadidism, an Islamic movement that preached tolerance of other religions. Under the influence of local Jadidist theologians, the Tatars were renowned for their friendly relations with other peoples of the Russian Empire. However, after the October Revolution religion was largely outlawed and all theologians were repressed.

During the Civil War of 1918-1920 Tatar nationalists attempted to establish an independent republic (the Idel-Ural State). They were, however, put down by the Bolsheviks and the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established on 27 May 1920. There was a famine in the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921 to 1922 as a result of war communist policy. The boundaries of the republic did not include majority of the Volga Tatars. The Tatar Union of the Godless were persecuted in Stalin's 1928 purges.

Tatarstan today

On August 30, 1990, Tatarstan announced its sovereignty with Declaration on the State Sovereignty of the Tatar Soviet Socialist Republic[17] and in 1992 Tatarstan held a referendum on the new constitution,[18] and 62 percent of those who took part voted in favor of the constitution. In 1992 Tatarstan Constitution defines Tatarstan as a Sovereign State. However articles 1 and 3 of the constitution, as introduced in 2002[18] define Tatarstan as a part of Russian Federation.

On February 15, 1994, the Treaty On Delimitation of Jurisdictional Subjects and Mutual Delegation of Authority between the State Bodies of the Russian Federation and the State Bodies of the Republic of Tatarstan[19] and Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan (On Delimitation of Authority in the Sphere of Foreign Economic Relations) were signed.


Population: 3,779,265 (2002 Census);[20] 3,637,809 (1989 Census).[21]

Vital statistics

Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service
Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Fertility rates
1970 3,146 47,817 25,622 22,195 15.2 8.1 7.1
1975 3,311 55,095 29,686 25,409 16.6 9.0 7.7
1980 3,465 54,272 32,758 21,514 15.7 9.5 6.2
1985 3,530 64,067 34,622 29,445 18.1 9.8 8.3
1990 3,665 56,277 36,219 20,058 15.4 9.9 5.5 2,05
1991 3,684 50,160 37,266 12,894 13.6 10.1 3.5 1,88
1992 3,706 44,990 39,148 5,842 12.1 10.6 1.6 1,71
1993 3,730 41,144 44,291 -3,147 11.0 11.9 -0.8 1,57
1994 3,746 41,811 48,613 -6,802 11.2 13.0 -1.8 1,58
1995 3,756 39,070 48,592 -9,522 10.4 12.9 -2.5 1,47
1996 3,766 38,080 45,731 -7,651 10.1 12.1 -2.0 1,43
1997 3,775 37,268 46,270 -9,002 9.9 12.3 -2.4 1,38
1998 3,785 37,182 45,153 -7,971 9.8 11.9 -2.1 1,37
1999 3,789 35,073 46,679 -11,606 9.3 12.3 -3.1 1,29
2000 3,788 35,446 49,723 -14,277 9.4 13.1 -3.8 1,29
2001 3,784 35,877 50,119 -14,242 9.5 13.2 -3.8 1,30
2002 3,779 38,178 51,685 -13,507 10.1 13.7 -3.6 1,37
2003 3,775 38,461 52,263 -13,802 10.2 13.8 -3.7 1,36
2004 3,771 38,661 51,322 -12,661 10.3 13.6 -3.4 1,34
2005 3,767 36,967 51,841 -14,874 9.8 13.8 -3.9 1,26
2006 3,763 37,303 49,218 -11,915 9.9 13.1 -3.2 1,25
2007 3,763 40,892 48,962 -8,070 10.9 13.0 -2.1 1,36
2008 3,766 44,290 48,952 -4,662 11.8 13.0 -1.2 1,45
2009 3,773 46,605 47,892 -1,287 12.4 12.7 -0.3 1,55
2010 3,781 48,968 49,730 - 762 12.9 13.1 -0.2 1,60
2011 3,787 50,824 47,072 3,752 13.4 12.4 1.0 1,65
2012 3,802 55,538 46,315 9,023 14.5 12.2 2.3 1,83(e)

Note: TFR source.[22] Data for Total fertility rate (2012) is calculation based on age and sex structure of Republic of Tatarstan at the beginning of 2012, number of births for 2012 and fertility structure in previous years.

Ethnic groups

1926 Census 1939 Census 1959 Census 1970 Census 1979 Census 1989 Census 2002 Census 2010 Census1[7]
Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  % Number  %
Tatars 1,263,383 48.7% 1,421,514 48.8% 1,345,195 47.2% 1,536,430 49.1% 1,641,603 47.6% 1,765,404 48.5% 2,000,116 52.9% 2,012,571 53.2%
Russians 1,118,834 43.1% 1,250,667 42.9% 1,252,413 43.9% 1,382,738 42.4% 1,516,023 44.0% 1,575,361 43.3% 1,492,602 39.5% 1,501,369 39.7%
Chuvash 127,330 4.9% 138,935 4.8% 143,552 5.0% 153,496 4.9% 147,088 4.3% 134,221 3.7% 126,532 3.3% 116,252 3.1%
Others 84,485 3.3% 104,161 3.6% 109,257 3.8% 112,574 3.6% 140,698 4.1% 166,756 4.6% 160,015 4.2% 150,244 4.1%
1 6,052 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.[23]

There are about two million ethnic Tatars and a million and a half ethnic Russians, along with significant numbers of Chuvash, Mari, and Udmurts, some of whom are Tatar-speaking. The Ukrainian, Mordvin, and Bashkir minorities are also significant. Most Tatars are Sunni Muslims, but a small minority known as Keräşen Tatars are Orthodox and some of them regard themselves as being different from other Tatars even though most Keräşen dialects differ only slightly from the Central Dialect of the Tatar language.[24] There is a fair degree of speculation as to the early origins of the different groups of Tatars, but most Tatars no longer view religious identity as being as important as it once was, and the religious and linguistic subgroups have intermingled considerably. Nevertheless, despite many decades of assimilation and intermingling, some Keräşen demanded, and were awarded, the option of being specifically enumerated in 2002. This has provoked great controversy however, as many intellectuals have sought to portray the Tatars as homogeneous and indivisible.[25] Although listed separately below, the Keräşen are still included in the grand total for the Tatars. Another unique ethnic group, living in Tatarstan only are the Qaratay Mordvins. When it comes to Religion, Sunni Islam is the most common faith in Tatarstan, as 55% of the estimated 3.8 million population is Muslim while remaining population is mostly Russian Orthodox Christian.[26]


In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan the two state languages of the republic are Tatar and Russian. According to the 2002 Russian Federal Law (On Languages of Peoples of the Russian Federation), the official script is Cyrillic.


Main article: Islam in Tatarstan

Established in 922, the first Muslim state within the boundaries of modern Russia was Volga Bulgaria from which the Tatars inherited Islam. Islam was introduced by missionaries[27] from Baghdad around the time of Ibn Fadlan's journey in 922. Islam's long presence in Russia also extends at least as far back as the conquest of the Khanate of Kazan in 1552, which brought the Tatars and Bashkirs on the Middle Volga into Russia.

In the 1430s, the region became independent as the base of the Khanate of Kazan, a capital having been established in Kazan, 170 km up the Volga from the ruined capital of the Bulgars. The Khanate of Kazan was conquered by the troops of Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible in the 1550s, with Kazan being taken in 1552. Some Tatars were forcibly converted to Christianity and cathedrals were built in Kazan; by 1593, mosques in the area were destroyed. The Russian government forbade the construction of mosques, a prohibition that was not lifted until the 18th century by Catherine II.

In 1990, there were only 100 mosques but the number, as of 2004, rose to well over 1,000. As of January 1, 2008, as many as 1,398 religious organizations were registered in Tatarstan, of which 1,055 were Muslim. Today, Sunni Islam is the most common faith in Tatarstan, as 55% of the population is Muslim.[28] In September 2010, Eid al fitr as well May 21, the day the Volga Bulgars embraced Islam, were made public holidays.[29] Tatarstan also hosted an international Muslim film festival which screened over 70 films from 28 countries including Jordan, Afghanistan and Egypt.[30]

The Russian Orthodox Church is the second largest active religion in Tatarstan, and has been so for more than 150 years,[31] with an estimated 1.6 million followers made up of ethnic Russians, Mordvins, Armenians, Belarusians, Mari people, Georgians, Chuvash and a number of Orthodox Tatars which together constitute 45% of the 3.8 million population of Tatarstan. On the 23rd of August 2010 the “Orthodox monuments of Tatarstan” exhibition was held in Kazan by the Tatarstan Ministry of Culture and the Kazan Eparchy.[32] At all public events an Orthodox Priest is called upon along with an Islamic Mufti.[33]

The Muslim Religious Board of Tatarstan frequently organizes activities, like the 'Islamic graffiti Contest' which was held on November 20, 2011.[34]


The head of the government in Tatarstan is the President. Since March 2010, the President has been Rustam Minnikhanov.[35] Tatarstan's unicameral State Council has 100 seats: fifty are for representatives of the parties, and the other fifty are for deputies from the republic's localities. The Chairman of the State Council is Farit Mukhametshin from May 27, 1998.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan, the President can be elected only by the people of Tatarstan, but due to Russian federal law this law was suspended for an indefinite term. The Russian law about election of governors says they should be elected by regional parliaments and that the candidate can be presented only by the president of Russia.

On March 25, 2005 Shaymiyev was re-elected for his fourth term by the State Council. This election was held after changes in electoral law and does not contradict the Constitutions of Tatarstan and Russia.

Political status

The Republic of Tatarstan is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. Most of the Russian federal subjects are tied with the Russian federal government by the uniform Federal Treaty, but relations between the government of Tatarstan and the Russian federal government are more complex, and are precisely defined in the Constitution. The following passage from the Constitution defines the republic's status without contradicting the Constitution of the Russian Federation:

The Republic of Tatarstan is a democratic constitutional State associated with the Russian Federation by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan On Delimitation of Jurisdictional Subjects and Mutual Delegation of Powers between the State Bodies of the Russian Federation and the State Bodies of the Republic of Tatarstan, and a subject of the Russian Federation. The sovereignty of the Republic of Tatarstan shall consist in full possession of the State authority (legislative, executive and judicial) beyond the competence of the Russian Federation and powers of the Russian Federation in the sphere of shared competence of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan and shall be an inalienable qualitative status of the Republic of Tatarstan.[this quote needs a citation]


Tatarstan is one of the most economically developed regions of Russia. The republic is highly industrialized, and ranks second only to Samara Oblast in terms of industrial production per km2.[36] Tatarstan's GDP per capita was USD 12,325 in 2004,[37] with GDP in 2008 at about 930 billion rubles.[16]

The region's main source of wealth is oil. Tatarstan produces 32 million tonnes of crude oil per year and has estimated oil reserves of more than 1 billion tons.[16][38] Industrial production constitutes 45% of the Republic's gross regional domestic product. The most developed manufacturing industries are petrochemical industry and machine building. The truck-maker KamAZ is the region's largest enterprise and employs about 1/5 of Tatarstan's work force.[38] Kazanorgsintez, based in Kazan, is one of Russia's largest chemical companies.[39] Tatarstan's aviation industry produces Tu-214 passenger airplanes and helicopters.[16] The Kazan Helicopter Plant is one of the largest helicopter manufacturers in the world.[40] Engineering, textiles, clothing, wood processing, and food industries are also of key significance in Tatarstan.[36]

Tatarstan consists of three distinguished industrial regions. The northwestern part is an old industrial region where engineering, chemical and light industry dominate. In the new industrial Northeast region with its core in the Naberezhnye Chelny-Nizhnekamsk agglomeration, major industries are automobile construction, chemical industry, and power engineering. The Southeast region has oil production with engineering under development. The North, Central, South, and Southwest parts of the Republic are rural regions.[41]The Republic has huge water resources - annual flow of rivers of the Republic exceeds 240 billion cu. m. Soils are very diverse, the best fertile soils covering 1/3 of the territory. Due to high development of agriculture in Tatarstan(it contributes 5,1% of total revenue of republic), forests occupy only 16% of its territory. The agricultural sector of economy are represented mostly by large companies as "Ak Bars Holding" and "Krasniy Vostok Agro".

The republic has a highly developed transport network. It mainly comprises highways, railway lines, four navigable rivers — Volga (İdel), Kama (Çulman), Vyatka (Noqrat) and Belaya (Ağidel), and oil pipelines and airlines. The territory of Tatarstan is crossed by the main gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Urengoy and Yamburg to the west and the major oil pipelines supplying oil to various cities in the European part of Russia.


Main article: Culture of Tatarstan

Major libraries include the Science Library of Kazan State University and the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan. There are two museums of republican significance, as well as 90 museums of local importance. In the past several years new museums appeared throughout the Republic.

There are twelve theatrical institutions in Tatarstan.[42] The state orchestra is the National Tatarstan Orchestra.


Tatarstan has Rubin Kazan, a major European football team which has played in the Champions League and the Europa League.

It also has two KHL teams, the successful Ak Bars Kazan, which is based in the capital city of Kazan, and the Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, who play in the city of Nizhnekamsk. The state also has a Russian Major League team (the second highest hockey league in Russia), Neftyanik Almetyevsk, who play in the city of Almetyevsk. There are also two Minor Hockey League teams, whom serve as an affiliate for the two KHL teams. A team also exists in the Russian Hockey League, the HC Chelny, who are based in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny. Another team plays in the MHL-B (the second level of junior ice hockey in Russia).

Nail Yakupov is an ethnic Tatar who was drafted first overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

Twice Russian champions, Rubin Kazan play in the Russian Premier League.

Former ATP No.1 Marat Safin and former WTA No.1 Dinara Safina are of Tatar descent.

Kazan is set to host the XXVII Summer Universiade in 2013.


The most important facilities of higher education include Kazan State University, Kazan State Medical University, Kazan State Technological University, World Information Distributed University, Kazan State Technical University, Kazan State Finance and Economics Institute and Russian Islamic University, all located in the capital Kazan.

See also


Further reading

  • Kurbanov, Ruslan. Tatarstan: Smooth Islamization Sprinkled with Blood Accessed: Feb. 26, 2013.
  • Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-tourist Daniel Kalder
  • The Model of Tatarstan: Under President Mintimer Shaimiev Ravil Bukharaev
  • The Volga Tatars: A Profile in National Resilience Azadeayse Rorlich
  • Russia From Red to Black Roderick Heather
  • 30 ноября 1992 г. «Конституция Республики Татарстан». (November 30, 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan. ).

External links

  • Official website of the Republic of Tatarstan
  • Information agency оf Tatarstan

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