By H.E. Mr. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan
The Republic of Tatarstan is one of the leading, industrially developed and innovative regions of the Russian Federation, the territory of intercultural and interfaith dialogue, where East and West meet, trade routes intersect, Islam and Christianity successfully develop and interact.
The unique location of the region in the centre of Russia, at the confluence of the two largest rivers: the Volga and the Kama, where the Great Silk Road and the Furry Road merged, connecting the north and the south of Eurasia, since ancient times it had become one of the reasons for the formation of a large civilization centre in this part of the world.
It was here that in 922, Islam was officially adopted by the ancestors of modern Tatars in the ancient city of Bolgar. For over a thousand years, a unique culture of Christian-Islamic dialogue and harmony has been developed in our land. Today, the Tatars being the second largest ethnicity in Russia and making up more than half of the population of the Republic of Tatarstan practice mainly Islam. The rest of the population – Russians (about 40% of the people residing in the republic), as well as the Chuvash, Mari, Udmurt, Mordovians – as a rule, profess Orthodoxy. Representatives of 173 nationalities live on the territory of the republic in the spirit of neighbourliness and friendship.
This largely explains the diversity of Tatarstan’s cultural wealth. The republic has a unique tangible and intangible heritage. The capital of Tatarstan, Kazan, has more than a thousand-year history. There are three sites in the republic inscribed by UNESCO onto the List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage: the Kazan Kremlin (inscribed in 2000), the Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex, the place of the adoption of Islam in the region of Tatarstan (inscribed in 2014), the Assumption Cathedral and the Monastery of the Island-town of Sviyazhsk of the Russian Orthodox Church (inscribed in 2017).
2017 saw the opening of the Bolgar Islamic Academy, as well as restoration of the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. The foundation stone of the interfaith harmony in the republic is well-observed balance of the interests of two major faiths and the equality of all religions before the law.
The centuries-old experience of friendship and cooperation of various religions and cultures has proved to be highly demanded nowadays. In accordance with the order of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin since 2014 President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov heads the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – the Islamic World”, aimed at facilitating the processes of dialogue and cooperation between our country and Muslim states on a cultural and civilizational basis. As part of the Group activities, there are dozens of economic and humanitarian projects being implemented.
Today Tatarstan has trade relations with more than 150 countries of the world. The development of international cooperation is one of the priorities of the Republic while maintaining a good balance of cooperation with Western and Eastern partners. Tatarstan is deeply integrated into global economic relations. About half of the manufactured products are export-oriented toward foreign markets.
The leading industries are oil production and petrochemistry, aircraft manufacturing, mechanical engineering and instrument making. The republic produces helicopters, airplanes, heavy vehicles, petrochemicals, tires, ships, compressor and refrigeration equipment, polyethylene, synthetic rubbers, medical and optical devices, detergents and medicines, as well as other products, a significant part of which are exported.
Tatarstan has developed one of the best infrastructures in Russia for establishment of joint ventures and innovations. There are two special economic zones on the territory of the republic, namely “Alabuga”, which is the largest industrial and production type zone in Russia, and “Innopolis” – the zone of the technical-innovative type, as well as about 100 industrial sites of various kinds. Dozens of overseas companies are implementing their investment projects in Tatarstan.
The republic is well known for the high level of scientific development. For over 200 years, Kazan has been one of the leading research centres in Eastern Europe. Over 16 thousand foreign students from 120 countries study here. Tatarstan is recognized as one of the sports and tourist leaders of Russia. Largescale sporting events of the second decade of the 21st century were held in Kazan: the World Summer Universiade in 2013, the FINA Championships in 2015, the FIFA World Cup Games in 2018 and the WorldSkills Competition in 2019. Number of tourists visiting Tatarstan in 2019 is estimated at around 3.5 million people.
In 2020, Tatarstan is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the modern statehood of the republic, as in May 1920 there were defined the borders of the territory and the Autonomous Tatar Socialist Soviet Republic was established as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Republic.
In the Republic of Tatarstan, there was developed a model of a multicultural, multi-confessional society, which is the most palatable for a multinational state. The most important values are high production and personnel capacity, social and political stability, interethnic and inter-confessional peace and harmony, which are the basis for further progressive development of the republic and improvement of the quality of life of its population.
Welcome to the Republic of Tatarstan!
In the main picture Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan standing before a Mosque and Cathedral in Kazan, capital of the country.