Islam and Orthodoxy are main confessions in Tatarstan. The long-term policy of maintaining balance between two leading confessions that is carried out in republic plays an important role in preservation and consolidation of interethnic and interconfessional peace and concord.
A positive tendency is the traditional stable mutual understanding between representatives of Islam and Orthodoxy, their interaction with other traditional confessions such as Judaism, Catholicism and Lutheranism.
Interconfessional cooperation for the benefit of all Tatarstan citizens is developing in different spheres, including socially important projects (prevention of drug addiction, work with socially unprotected groups, rehabilitation of handicapped people).
The annual Address of Tatarstan President to the State Council dated as of September 13, 2012, reads: “Positive state of interethnic and interconfessional relations, the spirit of peaceful interaction and cooperation of various ethnic groups have always been our undoubted achievement.”
According to data given by the Ministry of Justice as of January 1, 2013, there are 1594 religious organisations registered in Tatarstan(1505 as of January 1, 2012), including: Russian Orthodox Church – 305, True Orthodox Church – 2, Old Believers – 5, Roman Catholic Church – 2, Armenian Apostolic Church -1, Islam – 1193, Buddhism – 1, Orthodox Judaism – 3, Baptists – 6, Christians of Evangelical Faith - 5, Evangelicals – 26, Pentecostals – 17, Seventh Day Adventists – 10, Lutherans – 5, Reformed Church – 1, New Apostolic Church – 1, Jehovah's Witnesses – 5, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 1, Church of the Last Testament – 1, Krishna Consciousness – 2, Bahaism – 1, other - 1.
Reconstruction of temples that were handed over to religious organisations for use and property is an obvious expression of religious revival. 1763 religious buildings and prayer houses, including 1382 mosques, 320 churches, and 61 prayer houses of other confessions are functioning.
By the number of registered religious communities Tatarstan is among leading regions in Russia. Lately, the number of religious organisations has become stable, with a small increase of communities mainly representing Islam and Orthodoxy.
The activity of two main religious organisations – Muslim Spiritual Board of the Republic of Tatarstan and Kazan eparchy of Russian Orthodox Church (Tatarstan metropolitanate) is carried out throughout republic. 9 monasteries, 1 seminary work under Kazan eparchy, 10 Muslim educational institutions including Russian Islamic Institute – under Muslim Spiritual Board of the Republic of Tatarstan.
The Law of the Republic of Tatarstan “On Freedom of Consciousness and religious associations” became effective on August 28, 1999. It presupposes special features of multiethnic republic, defines peculiarities of legal regime of the separation of Church and State, positions of the state in regulation of religious relations, sets scopes of recognized and protected freedom of consciousness and religion. The law aims to reach mutual understanding, tolerance and respect in terms of freedom of consciousness and religion.
Amendments to the Law “On Freedom of Consciousness and religious associations” aimed to protect human rights and freedoms, prevention of religious extremism, assistance to consolidation of interconfessional concord were approved at a special session of Tatarstan State Council on August 3, 2012.
In accordance with changes, foreign citizens cannot act as founders of a local religious organisation. From now on, only Russian citizens have such a right. Candidates willing to become members of the clergy must have a diploma about religious education. Religious organisations registered in Russia will decide whether to accept it or not.
Interaction between Tatarstan President, executive authorities and religious organisations of main confessions has expanded. Meetings with religious leaders to discuss urgent problems, such as construction and reconstruction of religious buildings, religious and moral education are held on a regular basis.
Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov takes part in important Muslim events – All-Russia forum of religious Tatar figures “National identity and religion”, “Izge Bolgar Zhyeny”, festival of bell ringing “Alekseevsky bell ringing”, visits religious educational institutions.
By initiative of Tatarstan State Counselor Mintimer Shaimiev, a major project “Cultural heritage - the island town of Sviyazhsk and ancient Bolgar 2010-2015” is being implemented. Construction and reconstruction of religious objects, which are Russia’s attractions, are carried out under the project.