Born in 1937 in a small village in Tatarstan, H.E. President Mintimer Shaimiev was raised in a family of peasants. He studied mechanization at Kazan Institute of Agriculture, and served as an agricultural engineer, then Chief Engineer and Manager of the District Association in Menzelisk, and subsequently Instructor and Deputy Head of the Agricultural Department of the Tatar Regional Committee in Kazan. In 1969, at the age of 32, he was appointed Minister of Land Reform and Water Management of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR). From that time onward he progressed rapidly through senior political positions, becoming First Deputy Prime Minister in 1983 and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Tatar ASSR in 1985. In 1990, he was elected Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Tatar ASSR which adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty, and in 1991 he became the first President of the Republic of Tatarstan.
His farsightedness and judicious policies have turned that country, with its multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities, into an oasis of social understanding, peace and tolerance. His calm and stabilizing rule has been instrumental to the progress and economic and cultural development of Tatarstan. His accomplishments in different cultural, political and international fields have led to his re-election for two more terms as President ending in March 2010, after which he decided that he did not want to be re-nominated for President. His other positions include membership of the Russian Federation State Council and co-chairmanship of the United Russia Party.
President Shaimiev’s distinguished services to Islam and Muslims are best exemplified by his efforts to revive Islamic culture and heritage, particularly in Kazan, the capital city of his country, and to disseminate Islamic knowledge and values among Tatarstan Muslims. His accomplishments include building more than 1000 mosques, many of which had been destroyed during previous eras, including 40 mosques in Kazan where only 4 mosques were left during the communist rule. His presidency also witnessed the inception of numerous Islamic schools, societies and printing houses for the Holy Qur’an and major Islamic books, the establishment of the first Russian Islamic University, which teaches in Russian, Tatarian and Arabic languages, and the inauguration of the Ghol Sharif mosque, a stunning work of Islamic architecture.
President Shaimiev received numerous prestigious awards and honors both at home and internationally.
H.E. President Shaimiev has been awarded the Prize in recognition of his distinguished services to Islam, including his steadfast efforts to revive Islamic culture in the Republic of Tatarstan, promote Islamic teachings and values among its population, and rebuild Islamic mosques destroyed during previous eras Today, more than 1000 mosques have been rebuilt, including 40 in the capital city of Kazan, whereas only four mosques had remained during the communist rule of that country. President Shsimiev’s reign has also witnessed the inauguration of the Ghol Sharif mosque, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, as well as the printing of the Holy Qur’an and major Islamic books, inception of numerous Islamic schools and societies and establishment of the Russian Islamic University which teaches in Russian, Tatarian and Arabic languages. The president is also acknowledged for pursuing wise policy that helped consolidate rapport and peaceful coexistence among members of the population, and culminated in a discernible economic and cultural development of that country.