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Prominent Tatar Activist Talks Of Leaving Russia

Fauzia Bayramova
Fauzia Bayramova
KAZAN, Russia -- Prominent Tatar activist Fauzia Bayramova has said she wants to leave Russia because of the pressure put on her by federal authorities for her political activism, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Bayramova told RFE/RL that Russian officials have curtailed her freedom and hindered her struggle for the independence of Tatarstan, which she said now "cannot be a homeland" for her.

She did not say to which countries she may try to emigrate.

Bayramova, 58, said that federal authorities have in the past several months put great pressure on her and others in the self-proclaimed, pan-Tatar National Parliament (TMM), of which Bayramova is the chairwoman.

She said Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev, Prosecutor-General Kafil Amirov, and police in Tatarstan have not assisted her in regard to the problems she has had with the Russian authorities.

In fact, she said that Tatar officials have actually helped Moscow officials put pressure on her.

Meanwhile, Tatarstan's Justice Ministry ruled this week that TMM's activities should be suspended for four months.

The TMM was established by Tatar nationalists in 1992.

In an open letter issued in December 2008, the TMM called on the international community to recognize Tatarstan's independence from Russia.

The call came just a few months after Russia recognized the independence of the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The action by TMM angered Moscow and led Russian officials to begin an investigation into TMM's activities.

Bayramova and her TMM colleagues were officially accused of fomenting interethnic hatred in Tatarstan.