16:28 Apr. 22, 2016
So-called European Alliance of Tatars aims at spreading 'Russian World' concept in Europe
The banner of the European Alliance of Tatars (ATA), an array of yellow stars on a field of blue, resembles the symbolism of the European Union. But the organization, which purports to be an umbrella group for ethnic Tatar communities in European countries, is really just a group of pro-Moscow individuals.
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The ATA is a project of the Russian government, one of many being created under the "Russian World" rubric to boost the Kremlin's soft power in Europe.
The Foreign Ministry has established a Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Abroad to implement this initiative, working in close cooperation with Rossotrudnichestvo, the Russian government aid agency that is tasked with "forming a positive image of Russia abroad."
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"The people from the alliance are trying to sit in two chairs at once," says Adas Jakubauskas, head of the Union of Tatar Organizations in Lithuania. "They are registered in Brussels, but the money comes from the foundation for compatriots of Russia."
Earlier this month, the ATA - or Auropa Tatarlari Alyansi - held its fourth-annual "expanded meeting" in the Czech city of Brno.