Focusing on the Tatar Republic, this article, written by a famous Tatar historian, deals with a turning point of the nationality policy in the USSR. Based on concrete data marked by a regional context, it explores the discontent of Tatar élites and the violent discussions that occurred on national issues in the late 1920s. The claim for a higher status for Tatars within the republic was formulated before indigenisation became official policy. There was also a proposition to unite together into a Turkic republic the Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Middle Volga region. These proposals were introduced in November 1926 during a meeting of 49 representatives of the RSFSR national republics, initiated by T. Ryskulov, vice-president of the Sovnarkom of the RSFSR. The debates focused on the opportunity to create an All-Russian republic alongside with a Turkic one. All participants agreed that this creation would allow a decentralisation of political and economical life. This proposal should have been part of a common declaration of Ryskulov and Sultan-Galiev at the Thirteenth Party Conference. However, attack on Sultan-Galiev few days ago limited Ryskulov’s room for manoeuvre. Finally, this new attempt to consolidate the front of non-Russian republics failed. In Kazan, on January 2, 1927 a public accusation was launched during an assembly of Party activists supervised by the first Obkom secretary M. Khataevich. According to him, local nationalism was due to the bad influence of the Tatar TsIK. Biographical data would have been of great use to perceive the personal dimensions of these struggles within the party and state apparatus.

Xavier Le Torrivellec, French-Russian Centre for Human & Social Sciences, Moscow
CER: II-3.2.D-202