Tatarstan court rules it was illegal to ban commemoration of fall of Kazan

KAZAN, Russia — A court in the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, has ruled that it was illegal for the city administration not to allow the annual commemoration of the Tatars who died during the siege of Kazan in 1552 by Russian troops, an annual event which the city authorities banned for the first time since 1989.

Chairman of the All-Tatar Public Center Farit Zakiyev told RFE/RL that the decision of the Vakhitov District Court on October 16 will allow his organization to hold the annual event, known as Commemoration Day. , in Kazan’s Tinchurin Park on October 18 as originally planned.

A day earlier, police arrested Zakiyev and the head of the Tatar Azatlyk (Liberty) Youth Association, Nail Nabiullin, and took them to the police station, where the activists were officially warned of possible repercussions. they were holding unauthorized events to commemorate the 468th anniversary. from the fall of Kazan – once the capital of the Kazan Khanate, which is now the capital of modern Tatarstan within the Russian Federation.

Last weekend, the Kazan city administration rescinded its initial permission to hold a public event to mark the day, saying the decision was made at the request of the local prosecutor who said “the purpose of the event was unclear”.

Since the cancellation of the permit, Tatar activists have held several small rallies and collective prayers in memory of the defenders of Kazan in the capital of Tatarstan.

Activists said they were looking to organize more events to commemorate the defenders of Kazan during the week.

The decision not to allow public events to mark the day came amid a decision by Russian federal authorities to limit the study of native languages in the so-called republics and ethnic regions of the country, which began in 2017.

Some attendees of the Kazan Defenders Commemoration last year were sentenced to community service or fined for praying and reading the Koran at the event and using words about “the State of Tatarstan”.

In October 1552, Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan after two weeks of resistance. Much of the Khanate’s Muslim population was either killed after the siege or forcibly Christianized.

Rose D. Jones