The census of population, which is held in 2002, has to become the major stage in the history of the Kryashen people. The Kryashens will be able to register their real name for the first time since 1926. The admission of the Kryashens to the census as an independent ethnos is identically to rehabilitation of the Kryashen people in people's self-awareness.
We want to remind, that the Kryashens were acknowledged as the independent people till 1926 when there the Stalin's national policy on "enlargement" of ethnoses began to be realized in the Soviet State. As the result, the Kryashens were attributed to the Tatars against their will and were not taken into account as the independent ethnos in the subsequent censuses. Together with the right to be called as the Kryashens, the Kryashens lost their network of schools, cultural institutions; there began the policy directed on assimilation of the Kryashens with the Tatars and the Russians. According to the census of 1926 there were 101 thousand persons of the Kryashens, there is no exact information about the number of the Kryashens nowadays. However according to Institute of ethnology of the Russian Academy of Science there are approximately 300 thousand persons of the Kryashens in modern Russia, from whom about 200 thousand - in Tatarstan.
The question about participation of the Kryashens in census-2002 as the independent ethnos has caused ambiguous reaction in Tatarstan. Many nationalistic movements of Tatarstan have accused the federal authorities of the organization of split of the uniform Tatar ethnos, of use of the Kryashens as a key factor for liquidation of the sovereignty. Not denying possible interest of the federal centre in fair decision of the national and religious question in the regions, shall allow to notice, that participation of the Kryashens in census -2002 as an independent ethnos - is not malicious intention of the federal authority, and it is will of the Kryashen people, too long expecting of an opportunity again to return to the right to be called in that way how their ancestors were called.
Moreover, the Kryashen people lives not only in Tatarstan, therefore the Kryashen problem is not the problem of one subject of the Federation. This is the problem of federal scale, or, at least, a level of the Privolzhje federal district. It is very important, that the opinion of the most authoritative Russian scientist-ethnologist P.I. Puchkov coincided with the opinion of Vladimir Yurievich Zorin, the deputy of the representative Plenipotentiary of the Privolzhje federal district (see "THE PEOPLES OF THE PRIVOLZHJE FEDERAL DISTRICT". The brief explanatory text to a map.), assigned by Minister of RF for affairs of nationalities in December 2001. . We publish also the important application of V.Tishkov, the director of Institute of ethnology and anthropology in which the well-known scientist (as we learned after special scientific meeting in the Institute) declared that the Kryashens had to be taken stock in the census as an independent ethnos. This is the very important support of the scientific world!
Certainly, these words were rather painfully perceived in Tatarstan. A number of deputies, the Tatar public figures came out against picking the Kryashens out into the separate ethnos. The Government Soviet of Tatarstan addressed to the President of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Tatar people (we publish the text of these addresses). Meanwhile, there are no any bases to put beside the problem of allocation of the Kryashens, as the independent ethnos, and a problem of the Siberian Tatars, for example. The Kryashens had the status of independent people till 1926, there is a number of indisputable ethnic, religious, cultural distinctions between the Kryashens and the Tatars. It is impossible to connive at it. At last, Kryashens have ethnic consciousness of an independent ethnos. Therefore, in spite of the Tatars' pressure upon the federal authorities and on the Kryashens, the Kryashen people have the absolute right to restore their status and register 'the Kryashens' in the census.