On 24 November Tatarstan State Counselor Mintimer Shaimiev, who is also the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Regional Revival Fund, the Head of the regional President’s Office Asgat Safarov, the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovskiy, Tatarstan Mufti and the head of the Regional Muslims Spiritual Board Kamil Samigullin, Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan and Tatarstan and the Lama of Buddhists Traditional Sangha of Russia in the North-West region Buda Badmayev took part in a plenary session of the Valday International Discussion Club conference which started in Kazan and is dedicated to the topic of “Religious polyvocality and national unity”.
In his video welcoming speech Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said: ”The topic you are planning to discuss is very close to our republic as representatives of more than 170 ethnicities live here. Next year is declared as the year of National Traditions and Cultures in the republic and I am sure your authoritative opinion and valuable advice will be useful for all of us”.
Addressing the First Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, the Chairman of the Fund for Development and Support of Valday International Discussion Club Andrey Bystritskiy said that his experience and knowledge in inter-confessional relations were priceless and asked how the republic managed to achieve inter-confessional concord.
Answering the question, Mintimer Shaimiev reminded about speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summarizing plenary session of the Valday International Discussion Club and said:” It is a constructive speech related not only to the foreign policy but also to domestic problems. He (Putin) attached great importance to necessity of unity of confessions which results in unity of peoples of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Russia. And spirituality of the society must be restored on this basis’.
He told about the experience of the republic in interaction with all religions and the 12 years of the work of the Regional Revival Fund in preservation of historical heritage of the republic accompanied by spiritual revival.
“Religion is separated from the state but not from the society. It is the main principle of our interaction with all religious organizations. Peaceful coexistence of religions is not just a wish, it is the main value and treasure of the republic, the administration of which keeps attaching attention to these issues”, Mintimer Shaimiev said and informed that in the 90-es of the last century, on the top of returning historical Muslim and Orthodox religious buildings, the republic was one of the first in Russia to give back a synagogue to the Jewish community. He told that a new Catholic church was built and an Old Believers church was reconstructed following the requests from believers.
“The basis of our policy is keeping the balance of cultures and confessions which helps us to move ahead and develop on this basis. For example, we revived the historical Kul Sharif Mosque and reconstructed the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kazan Kremlin”, Mintimer Shaimiev said and told about reconstruction of the outstanding objects of Islamic architecture in the Ancient City of Bolgar and Orthodox monasteries in the town-island of Sviyazhsk, which was completed by the Revival Fund in 2019 and both sites were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. “Also by a decree of the President of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov we built Bolgar Islamic Academy and reconstructed the Kazan Virgin Cathedral. As you can see we have the following rule: all decisions on reconstruction of historical heritage of Islam and Orthodoxy are made simultaneously”, the State Counselor said.
He also told about the new project of the Fund of establishing poly-lingual educational complexes Adymnar as an example of successful development of inter-cultural and inter-confession dialogue.
“The most important is that people understand and support these projects, they like them and these deeds unite us. Unity is mutual inter-ethnic and inter-confessional understanding. It is time now to undertake concrete deeds in this sphere as there is every possibility for this”, he concluded.