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World Congress Of Tatars Convenes In Kazan

A scene from the Tatar congress 29 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A meeting of the World Congress of Tatars (BTK) held on 29 August in Kazan to mark the Kazan millennium was attended by 639 delegates from 61 regions of Russia, as well as by 30 representatives of 26 foreign countries, including Turkey, the United States, Finland, Australia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. More than 200 participants represented Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar Service and reported the same day.

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, Tatar State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, Tatar Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Zile Welieva, Azerbaijani Culture Minister Polad Byul-Byuloglu, and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov took part in the forum.

Shimiev said Tatars have won the world's respect. Shaimiev said the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in Tatar during the 26 August celebration of the millennium of Kazan is a sign of considerable respect.

“Now everybody says that even Vladimir Putin has begun speaking Tatar,” Shamiev said. “With his Tatar-language speech, Putin removed all negative attitudes toward Tatars that were propagandized over centuries in Russian society. And he presented Tatarstan and our people as a model both for Russia and outer world. Wherever you live, you should be proud that Tatarstan is highly esteemed in Russia and throughout the world."

Mukhametshin, World Tatar Congress Executive Committee Chairman Renat Zakirov, and other public figures and representatives of Tatar diasporas also addressed the congress.

Roundtables on issues relating to Tatar women, youth, and Tatar mass media will also be held under the aegis of the congress.