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Pavel Shmakov: “Why do I defend and will defend the Tatar language?”

Pavel Shmakov: “Why do I defend and will defend the Tatar language?”

Pavel Shmakov: “Why do I defend and will defend the Tatar language?”


January 15, 2019


Pavel Shmakov, the teacher and founder of the school Solntze  , discusses why it is important for  residents of Tatarstan to learn the Tatar language. Kazan Reporter publishes the opinion of  teacher and public figure.

Why is this issue  important to me personally? I am Russian, born and raised in Kazan. My mother is now 95 years old, she worked all her life in one school, teaching Russian language and literature, she fell in love with me in Russian poetry. My grandmother was also a Russian teacher. I love my city, my republic, my country. After school, I went to Moscow,  and entered the Moscow Engineering-Physical Institute. I remember well how on the physics exam next to me passed a boy, who knew this subject well.How frankly he was “downed” and put 3. For being a Jew.

I was told a lot of jokes about the Chukchi, about the “slow poke” Finns.

I read about “white-only” wagons in the USA.

I watched films about “true Aryans”.

I saw people laugh at people with disabilities.

Observed manifestations of “hazing”.

I read frank mockery of the Tatars’ accent on the aggressive Russian site “ROST” ( common joke about “udashlivykh ” ones).

For 11 years I have  lived in Finland, worked, at first in the short term, in many Finnish schools. And there, too, were manifestations of racism.

Of course, this is also among the Tatars – on the site “Tatars and Tatarochky” have repeatedly met offensive statements against all Russians as occupiers.

Now in my republic Tatars are oppressed. One of the main machines that exerts pressure on Tatars and on the teaching of the Tatar language in Tatarstan is the Prosecutor’s Office. In two months, in  winter, I was obliged to dismiss Tatar teachers and hastily reshape the curriculum. Prosecutors came to my school and, in  absence of  parents, interrogated young children: “Why do you need Tatar language?”

We kept  peace in our school. We do not have interethnic conflicts either among children or among parents. Unfortunately, such conflicts sometimes flare up and then smolder in many schools and kindergartens of the republic. I believe that knowledge of the language is closely related to  understanding of culture. I believe that the study of a foreign language for us – English, French, German … is equally significant and equally important for children, as is the study of the language of the people with whom Russians have been living peacefully for many centuries on the land of Tatarstan. And here, in Tatarstan, all children should learn the Tatar language in schools. Similarly, it is important in any national republic, in any place where representatives of different nations live compactly.

Quantity of hours can be discussed. Methods  need to be improved. Sing songs, watch movies and cartoons. It is important to respect others  than their own. Here is born respect for dissidence.


Pavel Shmakov







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