Tatarstan’s Jewish Community To Meet With Republic’s President

KAZAN, Russia — Jewish leaders in Tatarstan say they will meet with the Russian republic’s president, Rustam Minnikhanov, to discuss their community’s problems on December 2, RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Tatarstan’s Jewish National and Cultural Autonomy chairman Mikhail Skoblionok told RFE/RL on December 1 that one issue will be the possibility of allocating state land for a Jewish cemetery.

He said former Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev had promised to do so but nothing was done.

Skoblionok said another issue is the construction of a second building for Kazan’s only Jewish school.

Several years ago school No. 12 in the Tatar capital was transformed into a Jewish school, which can accommodate 500 students, but there are currently about 600 students studying there.

Skoblionok said that, every year, only about one of every six applicants to the school is accepted. He added that Tatarstan’s presidential fund and private businessmen have allocated financial resources for the construction of a second building for the school, but Kazan city authorities are reluctant to provide any financial support.

The maintenance of Tatarstan’s only synagogue will also be discussed.

Skoblionok said that while mosques and churches are partially supported by the state, the synagogue receives no money from the local government to cover expenses connected with its maintenance.

He added that Tatarstan’s Jewish community is eager to perform music and songs at the university students’ version of the Olympic Games — Universiada — which is scheduled to be held in Kazan in 2013.

There are some 10,000 Jews living in Tatarstan.

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