The capital of the republic officially registered in Rospatent trade marks «The Third Capital of Russia», «The Third Capital», «The Third City of Russia», «The Third City», Russia's third capital. Thus, in old dispute what city after Moscow and Petersburg is the "most-most" not even a point but an exclamation mark was drawn. Having patented at once several variants of names, Kazan cut possible competitors from encroachments on the status of the third city of Russia.
Thus in a pursuit of status Kazan wiped off the second applicant - Nizhny Novgorod. The last had to be satisfied with the brand «Capital of the Volga Region». Kazan simply got ahead the competitor, having made an application a week earlier. Exactly two years ago, at the end of March, 2007 vice-governor of Nizhny Novgorod region Irina Zhivihina threatened Kazan with the claim for autocratic assignment of a rank of the third capital of Russia at will. Mrs. Zhivihina was revolted with corresponding advertisement at the international exhibition in Berlin. Then special group on registration of intellectual property rights started its work in Nizhny Novgorod.
By and large, the action of Tatarstan management with conferment of the right to be the third capital of Russia can enter into the annals of PR-technologies as an example of extremely costly project with sharply negative result. Actually, some other insignificant town could submit such a demand before.
Historically Kazan never was the capital of Russia - it was the capital of the Kazan khanate in far not the most successful period of existence of the state. If Saray which was the capital of the Golded Horde still remained, it would be logical and fair, as three-hundred period of the Golden Horde leadership is an undeniable historic fact. But the city of Kazan has nothing to do with it.
Historical Russia has many ancient capitals - the first of them was not a city at all, it was rural settlement Old Ladoga, whence one thousand two hundred years ago prince Rjurik with brothers appeared "to posses Russia".
Vladimir where grand-ducal throne was situated for several centuries became the first real capital of East Russia. It is possible to consider village Bogoljubovo another historical capital at a stretch, once there was the castle of the first master of Vladimir Russia Andrey Bogolyubsky. For some time, already during the Moscow period the Aleksandrovsky Village (nowadays Alexandrov) was the capital. Later, for 2,5 years Tushino where the court yard of Lzhedmitry the Second settled down was capital.
In Civil war several "capitals" were formed at once: Omsk, Samara, Rostov on Don was the capital of the Don republic, Ekaterinburg became the capital of the Ural republic and Vladivostok - of Far East.
Strangely enough, Kazan after the storm of the city by Ivan the Terrible acquired the capital status only after creation of the USSR and formation of Tatar SSR, later - Republic Tatarstan. But there were a set of such "capitals". By the way, Kazan received the status of the capital of the Kazan khanate only in 1438. The first mentioning of this fact in written sources is dated by 14th century.
It is difficult to consider Kazan more outstanding city from the point of view of the size, industrial and economic potential or cultural life comparing it to other multi-million-strong-city. Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov on Don have more such bases, if to be fair. Moreover, Kazan is even not the capital of federal district, unlike listed above.
Perhaps, the main basis for obtaining of the special status could become the fact that Kazan is title capital of the territory belonging to the third on the size in Russia ethnos - to the Tatars, so it could apply as "the capital of all Tatars". But today the majority of living there are not at all the Tatars of Russia - the Tatars make the weighty part of population from Tver to Astrakhan of Volga region. As to Tatarstan - there's hardly more than a half, 53 percent (the number of descendants of mixed marriages simply could not be subjected to calculation) to be more exact. Astrakhan, Kasimov and Temnikov and even far not the Russian Bakhchisarai can be considered historical capital of the Tatars with not smaller basis, than Kazan. But, apparently, nobody asked the Tatars, whether they consider Kazan as the third capital or not - the question was solved purely by management.
Perhaps, the only real base for the status of "the third capital" - is an intention to become the centre of one of the splinters of the Russian Federation after disintegration of the last. Naturally, such PR-basis cannot cause great delight. After disintegration of the USSR the Tatars alongside with the Russians and Ukrainians became one of the world's largest separated nation. Further split of the country will only aggravate this separatedness.