nationalism: Tatarstan flag only, no Russian, flies over the republican administration building; the street names on the plaques are in Tatar first, then in Russian; Kazan is often referred to as ‘the capital’.
a lot of harsh treatment – people are not willing to help; often you get a scathing rebuke in response to a polite question
wealth: plenty of expensive cars, new houses and building complexes
however, it is often the case that a building with a carefully renovated front has never seen repairs inside
new houses are most often terrible, less often average (for example, the Universiade complex); in the historical centre, like in Moscow, old buildings are being occasionally replaced by ugly tiled office centres
museum of the Soviet lifestyle is not interesting: the creators of the museum clearly want to allure tourists into buying worthless souvenirs as the museum shop is bigger than the museum itself.
the famous Qolşärif Mosque which was built 10 years ago is beautiful on the outside, however on the inside it looks like a Soviet palace of culture (low ceilings and garish chandeliers)
Russian language prevails – even the Tatars speak Russian to each other most of the time
in the village of Sviyazhsk near Kazan a monument of Judas was installed by Leon Trotsky in 1918 (at first he wanted to install one of Satan – as the first revolutionary against God – but then changed his mind); after 2 days it was torn down by the local people
street plaques’ design differs significantly. Some of the plaques have Tatar inscriptions in Latin letters, instead of Cyrillic which is customary for this language (one would think that these are the ones from early 1990s – the time when Tatarstan made an attempt to secede from Russia)