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Tatar Youth Groups Seek Official-Language Status In Russia

Tatar newspaper 'Bezneng gejit'
Tatar newspaper 'Bezneng gejit'
KAZAN, Tatarstan -- Two Tatar youth organizations have called on Moscow to give official status to the Tatar language in Russia, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Uzebez (Ourselves) and the Tatar Youth Forum said on April 14 that they have begun collecting signatures for their proposal and are seeking to have the issue considered in the Russian State Duma.

The organizations claim that because Tatars are the second-largest ethnic group in Russia, their native language should be recognized as an official state language alongside Russian. They cite Finland's recognition of Swedish as an official language even though ethnic Swedes make up just 6 percent of Finland's population.

Ethnic Tatars make up some 4 percent of Russia's population.

Meanwhile, the Azatliq (Liberty) Tatar Youth Union issued a statement saying that Tatarstan's government is under pressure from Moscow and is unable to maintain the republic’s sovereignty.

Azatliq said it will use "all possible means" to protect Tatarstan's "political and economical sovereignty."