Is Tatarstan a Country?

The mosque of Kazan Kremlin, in Tatarstan, Russia.
The mosque of Kazan Kremlin, in Tatarstan, Russia.

Tatarstan is not a country, but rather is a federal subject of Russia that is located within the Volga Federal District. Officially named the Republic of Tatarstan, the federal subject borders Orenburg Oblast, Samara Oblast, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Kirov Oblast, Chuvash Republic, Udmurt Republic, Mari El Republic, and the Republic of Bashkortostan. Tatarstan occupies an area of approximately 26,000 sq mi, has an estimated population of 3,786,488, and its capital city is Kazan. Tatarstan is roughly 500 miles from Moscow and is situated between the River Kama and Volga River. The official languages of Tatarstan are Russian and Tatar.

Tatarstan and Independence

Tatarstan announced its independence on August 30, 1990, and held a referendum for a new constitution in 1992. However, the Russian Constitutional Court declared the constitution and referendum illegal. The Tatarstan government later signed a treaty and power-sharing agreement with Russia in 1994. Tatarstan declared their independence again on December 20, 2008, after Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and asked for recognition from the United Nations (UN). However, both the Russian government and the United Nations ignored the request to recognize Tatarstan's declaration of independence. An autonomous agreement between Kazan and Moscow, which was signed in 1994 expired in 2008, made Tatarstan the last Russian republic to lose its autonomous status.

Demographics of Tatarstan 

Tatarstan had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010, which included 1,501,369 Russians and 2,012,571 Tatars. Other ethnic populations in Tatarstan include Udmurt, Mari, Bashkir, Mordvin, Ukrainian, and Chuvash. The most populous cities in Tatarstan are Kazan (1,143,535), Naberezhnye Chelny (513,192), and Nizhnekamsk (234,044). A large percentage of the Tatar population is Muslim, while the Kerasen Tatar population are Christian. Islam was introduced in Tatarstan in 922 by various Iraqi missionaries from Baghdad, and the first Muslim nation to be established in the Russian territory was Volga Bulgaria.


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