In the fourth programme in the series 'Inside Putin's RUSSIA', the BBC's former Moscow correspondent Bridget Kendall revisits Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, on the Volga River.
Home to RUSSIA's second largest ethnic group, the Muslims, Tatarstan has carved out for itself its own unique identity and considerable autonomy within the RUSSIAn Federation.
For the past decade its leader, President Shaimiev has juggled local demands to strengthen religious and cultural ties with the Islamic world, with the demands of an increasingly centralized RUSSIAn state.
But now President Putin is clawing back some of those freedoms in an effort to create stronger, vertical power from Moscow.
Bridget Kendall discovers how far the heady dreams of religious and nationalist leaders were realized since she was first in Kazan over ten years ago, and how far Tarstan's government will go to get what they want for RUSSIA's Tatar Muslims?