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Tatar Youth Forum Wants To Retain Title Of Republican President

Rustam Minnikhanov, the president of Tatarstan

Rustam Minnikhanov, the president of Tatarstan

KAZAN, Russia -- A Tatar youth forum has affirmed support for retaining the title of president for the head of the Republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The 500-plus delegates to the fourth World Forum of Tatar Youth that took place in Kazan from August 28-29 adopted a resolution affirming that Tatarstan's presidency is a major factor strengthening Tatar ethnic identity.

"For many young Tatars, especially for those living outside of Tatarstan, the president of Tatarstan has become a symbol of Tatar national revival," delegates said.

On August 12, Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov announced that he plans to abolish the title of Chechen Republic president. Kadyrov argued that Russia should have only one president.

The heads of other North Caucasus republics have expressed support for that initiative.

The authorities in Tatarstan expressed reservations, however, saying it should be up to individual republics to decide on the official title of the republic head.

In an interview today with the TV channel Rossiya, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed support for the Tatar position, saying "I think it's up to the regions how to call their leaders."