|№ 101 (3251)||24.06.2006|
Notes of a press secretary
The last president of Tatarstan (2)
Arkady Rodygin passed away recently. He was the district`s committee secretary in the year of Shaymiyev`s election as the first secretary of Tatar district committee of C.P.S.U. (Communist party of the Soviet Union). I met Arkady Andreyevich not long before his death. He shared his version of Mintimer Shaymiyev`s appointment as the Chairman of the Counsil of Ministers of TASSR. It turned out that Gumer Ismagilovich Usmanov gave this chair to Shaymiyev for he considered him to be a not ambitious person, a person who has no leader`s features, who is not a charismatic personality. And the post of the Chairman was technical, though he always was on the tribunes at national holidays. Yet no one expected generating original ideas and making non-standard decisions from the Minister of all other Ministers. The Republic had the one and only center of decisions making ЁC the office of the first secretary of the District Committee. All the others had just to be diligent. And Shaymiyev was the soldier of the Party: industrious, laconic, knowingly showing his devotion to the Lenin`s course and loyalty to the authorities, in general, he was a typical career official, grown by the Soviet system and devoted to it.
Mintimer Shaymiyev became a leader of Tatarstan for it was his professional duty; there were no objective reasons for it like an innate instinct of power or knowing the requirement of his historical mission. The leadership by vocation never dominated in his character. It seems that Khalyaf Nizamov always understood it very well. So understanding it, he created such a powerful structure as the Presidential Service. The main goal of it became turning the authorities of Republic into the myth. It was very important for Nizamov that not only the people of the Republic but Mintimer Shaymiyev himself would believe in the singularity of Tatarstan`s leader, adjoining the genius. This strategic goal defined everything: from the President`s standart over his residence till the clearly adjusted rituals of visitors` reception, documents circulation, public events, Shaymiyev`s visits to the other cities and villages of the Republic.
President`s trips were then (and stay now) absolutely useless as for getting real information about the state in the land so for functionality of power mechanisms. Yet these trips were and stay the main element of the myth construction, of showing the sanctity of the President. There are no impromptus. Everything to the trifles is prepared and controlled religiously, beginning from the route of President`s motorcade till rehearsed speeches and "unexpected" remarks from the crowd of people.
Officials from the Organization department, from the Protocol service, officers of the President`s Security Service (about 30 persons) precede every President`s visit "to the people". A district or a city moves heaven and earth, decorating everything, the atmosphere becomes tense, exertion is near to critical. And Shaymiyev`s arrival especially his arrival by air, looks like apparition of a demigod from the Olympus.
The system of turning the authorities into a myth, created by Nizamov, worked very well. Most likely that it still works. In spite of the fact, that when Shaymiyev is not on a trip the collective of the President`s Service looks like Brezhnev. It is Shaymiyev`s sluggish, hardly noticeable technical secretariat. Egzam Gubaydullin, who took up Nizamov`s post in 1998, turned the Service into such amorphous structure.
In 1999, as I became President`s Press Secretary, the Service mechanically continued to work according the plan of Nizamov and brain-storming and generating ideas were not forbidden in Kremlin. Yet the realization of these ideas was not ideal. After an endless matching procedure some ideas transformed into something unrecognizable and their results often differed from the planned ones. Yet an already made decision could be corrected or cancelled if it contradicted to somebody`s interests. And if there were a possibility complain to Shaymiyev.
And what is the result? The result is a terrible quality of the decisions. For the only one person, who has the right to say the last word in the bounds of Tatarstan, realizes this right according unclear criteria, relying on unknown source data. No doubt, you can not blame Shaymiyev only for it. It is not his fault, but his misfortune. In principle Mintimer Sharipovich is a good man, a nod bed conversation partner, who can keep up the conversation about the disappeared AtlЁўntida or about the repertoire of a vanguard theatre, who can joke appropriately. Yet President Shaymiyev became a hostage of circumstances, a hostage of his ordinal character.
Continuation. Read the beginning in №98.
(To be continued)