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Activists Protest Fate Of Tatar Language

Activists from the Azatliq Youth Union organized a "March of Grief" in Kazan today to draw attention to the status of the Tatar language in Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Protesters held posters symbolizing gravestones with the words "Tatar language," "Tatar school," "Tatarstan Constitution," and "Sovereignty" on them.

Organizer Nail Nabiullin told RFE/RL that "Tatars may lose their language very soon, the same way they already lost their sovereignty."

According to a law introduced by the Russian government earlier this year, the "national component" -- which refers to the native language and culture of non-Russians -- was removed from the country's education "standard."

The law went into effect on September 1 and means that the various non-Russian ethnic groups no longer decide whether their language, history, and culture will be taught at public schools.