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KAZAN, Russia -- Finland says it will open a consulate in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Tatar Youth, Sports, and Tourism Minister Rafis Borkhanov said on November 15 that an agreement on opening the Finnish consulate in Kazan would be signed by Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov and Finnish Ambassador to Russia Matti Anttonen on November 17 during an international tourist forum.

Preliminary talks on opening the consulate in Kazan were held during a visit to Russia last year by Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

Finns and Volga Tatars share common Uralic (Finno-Ugric) ancestry and many linguists consider Finno-Ugric and the Turkic-Altaic languages, to which the modern Tatar language belongs, to be related.

Finland is home to a small but well-established ethnic Tatar community. The majority of modern Finnish Tatars are the descendants of Tatar settlers who came to Finland between the 1870s and 1918, when Finland was part of the Russian Empire.

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