hlysnan wrote:Tatarstan's situation is completely different from Wales. Most people living in Wales believe themselves to be Welsh before all else, while in Tatarstan, you would expect ethnic Russians (40% of the population) to see themselves, as well, Russian. Would you expect ethnic Russians to agree to sending their children to Tatar-medium schools?
I wouldn't be opposed to having Tatar-medium schools, but the goal shouldn't be to have Tatar the sole medium of education at any point in time, unless for some reason all of the Russians living in Tatarstan leave the republic.
That's a good point, and it's certainly likely that Russian "Tartarstanis" (if I may make a neologism through analogy with "ethnic Kazakh" vs. "Kazakhstani citizen") will never develop any attachment to the Tatar language.
You have to remember that a whole lot of these "Welsh" people have very recent English ancestors:
Wikipedia on Wales wrote:A recent study estimated that 35% of the Welsh population have surnames of Welsh origin (5.4% of the English and 1.6% of the Scottish population also bore 'Welsh' names). However, many modern surnames derived from old Welsh personal names actually arose in England. In 2001, a quarter of the Welsh population were born outside Wales, mainly in England; about 3% were born outside the UK.
A whole quarter! I've even read that those born in England or to English-speaking parents are some of the most enthusiastic Welsh learners; but that's fully anecdotal so feel free to disregard it. In any case, it's clear that Welsh nationality is a regionally
-based rather than ethnically
-based one. Is this a totally impossible feat for Tatarstan? Can it not go from an ethnic definition of Tatar nationality to a more inclusive (and Tatar-speaking) "Tatarstani" regional identity? Perhaps it's impossible, but let's look at another historical example before we decide.
Wikipedia on Finland's language strife wrote:As the area nowadays known as Finland was gradually incorporated in the Swedish Realm from the 13th century onwards, Swedish (and Latin) became dominant over Finnish as the most-used language of administration and higher education among the Finns. Immigration of Swedish peasants to Finland's coastal regions also boosted the status of Swedish. In 1809 Swedish was spoken by 20% of the people in Finland and 80% of the citizens of Helsinki.
A significant contribution to the Finnish national awakening from the mid-19th century onwards came from the members of the mostly Swedish-speaking upper classes deliberately choosing to promote Finnish culture and language.
So Swedish-speakers were some of the most diehard Fennicizers! You could say then: well, Finland changed political status, and Finns and Swedes are more similar than Tatars and Russians. I would retort that Tatarstan has changed
political status in the wake of the collapse of the USSR, and that Tatars and Russians have been intermixing for centuries.
Not enough? True, perhaps. I'm just saying to keep this in mind when you say "Russians won't want to learn Tatar". It's likely they won't, but you need to remember that identity does change. I personally hope that Tatar activists move away from ancestry and religion as markers of Tatar nationality and focus on region of origin and language instead. Obviously it's not my call to make, and deeply embedded attitudes are hard to change, but that's what I think would be the smart thing to do.
Saim wrote:So what would you want to be done in such a situation? Let's say 51% of the population is descended from English-speaking Australians, but many of them are now Mandarins-speaking. The rest is predominantly Chinese.
At that point, I'd leave the country and have the same view that I have with Tatarstan - have local councils manage schools.
You'd seriously leave the country? Well, I'm leaving the country, but not for any political or cultural concern. I just want to experience more of the world.