Copyright © 2024 Euromaidanpress.com

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Russia’s Tatarstan to have a Muslim holiday in memory of those who fell fighting Ivan the Terrible in 1552

The Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Tatarstan. Source.
Russia’s Tatarstan to have a Muslim holiday in memory of those who fell fighting Ivan the Terrible in 1552

During Russian Imperial and Soviet times, Tatarstan’s capital of Kazan marked the anniversary of the occupation of Kazan by the forces of tsar Ivan the Terrible in various ways, including with the erection of a monument to Russians who died in that fighting. But those who resisted his advance were largely ignored.

With the weakening and then collapse of the Soviet empire, Tatar activists began to mark the event with a memorial day of their own on 15 October each year. But in the last decade, officials have tried to ban it lest such actions anger Moscow. Last year, city officials banned a demonstration on that date but a court overruled them.

Meme by EU vs Disinfo on whitewashing the image of tsar Ivan the Terrible in the modern Russian propaganda.

Now, the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Tatarstan has entered the fray. Its aksakals (the elder, literally “the white-bearded” in Tatar, – Ed.) have announced that they will annually hold prayers in memory of those who died fighting the Russian force. The event will take place on the 13th day of the Muslim month following Ramadan.

This action has drawn support from Tatar officials who see it as a way for Muslims to take control of a holiday that had been dominated by Tatar nationalists and thus give it more a religious than a political meaning. But others are worried that the two forces are coming together in this way.

Kazan Tatars protest against the state-imposed policies of Russification. Tatarstan, Russian Federation, circa 2013. (Image: social media)
Kazan Tatars protest against the state-imposed policies of Russification. Tatarstan, Russian Federation, circa 2013. (Image: social media)

Many in Moscow are anything but happy about this development. Andrey Medvedev, a Moscow city deputy, argues that the new holiday will spark tensions between Tatars and Russians who he says “already for five centuries have lived peacefully in one country.”

Nationalism and separatism are dangerous, he says, and what is happening in Tatarstan is the appearance of “a new, completely anti-government discourse. Who needs this? And the main question: why are the government bodies [in Tatarstan] reacting so slowly to all this?” Is this the result of Türkiye’s effort to create a Turkic world in opposition to the Russian one?

And Roman Silantyev, a notorious critic of all things Islamic, says that the new holiday raises many other questions, in large part because Muslims and Christians fought on both sides in 1552. How is that going to be remembered? Will the Muslim holiday recall the Christian defenders of Kazan? If not, why not?

Neither Medvedev nor Silantyev, however, refer to what is almost certainly their greatest fear, that the transformation of 1552 from a narrowly Tatar national holiday to a broader Muslim one is likely to mobilize more Muslim groups in the Russian Federation and boost the status of Tatarstan as an increasingly Muslim center as their leader.

Further reading:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here


    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts