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Protesters Demand Greater Role For Russian In Tatarstan's Schools


Protesters rallied for the Russian language in Kazan on April 16.

Protesters rallied for the Russian language in Kazan on April 16.

KAZAN, Russia -- Some 40 people have demonstrated in front of Tatarstan's parliament in Kazan to demand greater rights for the Russian language in the Russian republic's schools, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The protesters demanded that the mandatory study of the Tatar language in Tatarstan be dropped as a requirement in schools.

Tatarstan parliament deputies and Education and Science Minister Albert Gilmetdinov tried to explain to the activists that all education facilities in Tatarstan conduct classes in accordance with republican and federal laws.

Razil Valiev, chairman of the parliament's Committee for Culture, Science, Education, and National Issues, told RFE/RL that the republic's laws provided for equal education at secondary and high schools, taking into account the interests and rights of all ethnic groups.

There have been numerous demonstrations in Tatarstan over the past few weeks by supporters of the Russian language as well as defenders of the use of Tatar.

On April 16, dozens of people gathered in front of the Kazan Kremlin, protesting mandatory Tatar classes in the republic's Russian-language schools. That prompted dozens of supporters of the Tatar language to gather at the same site and rally to preserve mandatory Tatar classes in all schools.

On April 30, dozens of people demonstrated in Tatarstan's second-largest city, Chally, in support of the Tatar-language requirement in schools.

Those against Tatar classes in Russian schools say that there are no mandatory classes in the languages of the titular nationality in other ethnic republics of the Russian Federation.

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