chapter  7
The Volga Tatars: Diasporas and the Politics of Federalism
ByKatherine E. Graney
Pages 26

The Volga Tatars, a Turkic-speaking, Muslim people sometimes referred to as the Kazan Tatars, constitute the second most numerous population group in the Russian Federation after ethnic Russians. Over 6.5 million Volga Tatars lived on the territory of the Soviet Union at the time of the last Soviet state census in 1989. New publications devoted to the history of the Tatar people, including one by the head of Tatarstan's official state body for relations with the diaspora, portray the Astrakhan and Siberian Tatars as members of one united Volga Tatar ethnic group. The government's attempts to balance a Tatar, kin-state identity based on ethnic affiliation with a more civic, "Tatarstani" vision of the republic are interesting and instructive for other multi-ethnic states searching for viable collective identities. Tatarstan's experience suggests that multiple state identities, civic and ethnic, may co-exist relatively harmoniously within a single polity.