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New Tatarstan Education Minister Appointed Amid Language Standoff

Pro-Russian-language protesters in Kazan in 2011 protest the compulsory teaching of the Tatar language. (video still)
KAZAN, Russia -- The president of Russia's Tatarstan republic has appointed a new minister of education against a heated public debate over the teaching of the Tatar language in secondary schools.

Engel Fattakhov, 51, previously served as a district governor and has no direct experience in education or science.

Some ethnic Russian residents, who make up almost half of Tatarstan's population, have recently protested against the mandatory teaching of Tatar in Russian schools.

Both Russian and Tatar are official languages in the republic.

The deputy minister of education, Lyudmila Nugumanova, resigned last month over the issue.

With additional reporting by