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Tatar Nationalist Not Worried About Controversial Manifesto

Fauziya Bayramova
Fauziya Bayramova
KAZAN, Russia -- A well-known Tatar nationalist leader said she has no regrets about issuing a controversial manifesto accusing the Russian government and Tatarstan's leadership of anti-Tatar activities, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Fauziya Bayramova told RFE/RL on February 9 that she is not concerned about the possible consequences of her manifesto, which was made public last week. Slightly more than one year ago, Bayramova was found guilty of inciting interethnic hatred and given a suspended sentence of one year in jail.

In her manifesto, Bayramova wrote that Tatar culture and the Tatar language are gradually being pushed out of Tatarstan by Russia's federal government and that Tatarstan's current and previous presidents, Rustam Minnikhanov and Mintimer Shaimiev, respectively, have never cared about those things.

Bayramova also criticized Tatarstan's official Islamic leaders, calling them the "puppets of the power holders."

She told RFE/RL that she did not write anything new in her manifesto.

"Others wrote about Tatar schools being shut down, and I did the same; other people wrote about Tatar culture being ignored and overshadowed by Russian culture, and so did I," Bayramova said. "Why should I be afraid that I express the opinions which others also express?"

Bayramova is the leader of the self-proclaimed pan-Tatar Milli Madjlis (National Assembly), which positions itself as a parliament uniting all Tatars living in Russia and other countries around the world.

Officials in Tatarstan did not react to Bayramova's manifesto. However, Tatarstan's prosecutor-general told journalists this week that a special commission started studying Bayramova's manifesto to find out if it contains extremist statements.

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