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Tatars In Russia Preparing For Mother Tongue Day

KAZAN -- Ethnic Tatar communities around Russia are preparing to mark Mother Tongue Day in Tatarstan on April 26.

Firaya Shaikhieva, head of the Languages Department in Tatarstan's government, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service that a special campaign called "I Speak Tatar!" will be held in the republic and other regions of the Russian Federation on that day.

She said Tatarstan's government has sent books, leaflets, and other materials to the Russian cities of Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, and to some regions that have large Tatar populations.

Activists in Tatarstan last week began a campaign to collect signatures to promote Tatar as the second official language of Russia.

Tatars officially constitute 3.8 percent of Russia's population, or some 5.4 million people.