The Mordovian Republic Society of Tatar culture, Yaktashlar [Countrymen], was established on 28 June 1991 by the Congress of the Representatives of the Tatar population of Mordovia. The Organization Committee included members of the Mordovian Department of the Tatar Social Centre (Saransk) and of the Sharif Kamal Society (Ruzayevka).
The Yaktashlar Society was officially registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Mordovian SSR on 12 September 1991. The society was re-registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Mordovian Republic and its name was changed to The Mordovian Public Organization of Tatar Culture Society, Yaktashlar.
The leaders of the society have been as follows:
The Yaktashlar Society has the following aims and objectives:
The Yaktashlar Society is engaged in the following activities:
The workings of The Yaktashlar Society are completely public. It maintains friendly relations with nearly every other national organization in Mordovia – Russian, Mordovian, Azerbaijani, although we have no contacts with The Jewish Society. The Azerbaijani Society has almost ceased functioning, as has The Russian Society. The closest contacts have been established with the Erzian society, The A.P. Ryabov Social Fund for Saving the Erzian Language, which publishes its own newspaper, The Erzian Mastor [The Erzian Land].
The society used to maintain contacts with various Tatar political and social organizations. However, since 1997, the only contacts it maintains with other Tatar organizations are with the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Tatars.
There are no direct contacts, meetings, or negotiations with the administrative authorities of Tatarstan.
Members of the society transmit Tatar broadcasts on Mordovian Radio stations.
In 1997 the society published a digest of the folklore of the Tatars of Mordovia, Rehmet, eni [Thank you, Mother], and prepared another digest of folklore.
The Society has established the Yaktashlar Award for Boxing in memory of Rifat Manerov.
The Society provides transport for the Tatar folk group, Umorzaya, (Lyambir) when they travel to distant Tatar villages to perform concerts.
The Society has financed meetings with widows of soldiers killed during World War II.
The Society has aided the Aksenovo Secondary School in making a stand for the teaching of Tatar language and helped pass the procedure for certifying the school. In addition, it prepared and published two brochures on methods for teaching Tatar, based on the experience of the teachers of Tatar language at the Aksenovo Secondary School, Guzel Baymetova and Maisire Yanglicheva. The society provides Russian-Tatar interpreters to the Public Prosecution Department, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Peoples Courts in Saransk.
The Yaktashlar Society is currently at a critical moment. As a result of its financial resources having been depleted, the question of its closure is being raised. A similar problem occured in 1997 when the question of its closure was likewise raised. Then well-known Tatar businessman and politician, Shamil Bikmayev, saved the Society from closure by agreeing to finance most of the society’s expenses. However, at the end of July 1999 Bikmayev declared that he could no longer finance the Society, and resigned from the post of Chairman. The Council then elected Irek Bikkinin, the chief editor of The Tatar Gazette, as temporary chairman of the Board and of the Council.