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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Ethnopolitics
Title The Tatars of the Russian Federation and national-cultural autonomy: a contradiction in terms?
Volume 6
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 417-435
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bill_Bowring/publication/228196116_The_Tatars_of_the_Russian_Fe​deration_and_National-Cultural_Autonomy_A_Contradiction_in_Terms/links/0deec51f7872bdb1d8000000.pdf
This chapter explores the recent fate of the Russian experiment in national-cultural, non-territorial, autonomy (NCA) through the prism of the experience of the Tatars. The Tatars are the most numerous minority in Russia, and have achieved, peacefully, a very high degree of autonomy, in contrast to the Chechens. I seek to answer two questions. First, why did the NCA form at first appear so attractive to the Tatar elite? And second, why has it almost lost all significance to them and to others in Russia? It should be noted that this experiment is still presented by Russia as the centerpiece of its “nationalities policy”. Following some reflections on the importance of theory, I set out the latest Russian government depiction of the NCA experiment, as well as its critique by leading scholar Aleksandr Ossipov, and the Russian Constitutional Court. I follow with an account of the history and influence of the Tatars in Russia. Fourth, I turn to the relationship of the Tatars to the theory and practice of NCA since 1917. Fifth, I analyse the Tatar response to the Federal Law “On National-Cultural Autonomy” of 1996, and its amendment in 2004. Finally, I reflect on Ossipov’s epitaph for the Russian NCA experiment.

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