|№ 102 (3252)||27.06.2006|
Notes of a press secretary
The last president of Tatarstan (3)
I used to play chess with Mintimer Sharipovich. He plays leisurely, stable without fine combinations. He rarely moved the king`s pawn at the beginning of the game, the way which allows leaping forward the pieces and getting the better position. Shaymiyev preferred not to force the events, waiting for the mistakes of the rival. Playing "his" game, one has no chances to win: he starved me out. Yet I had only to strain the situation, play uncommonly, make a combination, and Shaymiyev began to feel nervous and usually lost. He is such an overcautious person in the real life too. This feature of Shaymiyev was reflected also in encomiastic materials about the first President of the Republic. In their book "The first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaymiyev" Rafael Mustafin and Anas Khasanov write: "Shaymiyev is not a rebel in his character, but a rational conservative. He does not aim at the changes just for changes themselves. He keeps the old things till they are viable and useful". Ramil Mingazov and Ilgam Kiyamov write more for that matter in the book "President Shaymiyev: social and psychological portrait": "For example, it feels like he "hides" himself for a short time as the political events become hard predictable, and does not show himself in any way". It is all true, except a small thing: his "hiding" is not a "feeling", but a reality, the synonym of confusion, inability to make a serious decision in time.
It sounds paradoxically, yet this way to "hide" was the welfare for the republic in the firs period of Shaymiyev`s being a President. Delaying making decisions, manipulating social and political forces, he was able to keep the balance between opposite sides and to be a considered (even if not a real one) exponent of hopes of absolutely different groups of interests just for he did not make any superfluous steps, but just followed the main stream of social and political life. Remember, what a stormy time it was! In the Russian Federation on the whole the main split became the line between communists and anticommunists, but in Tatarstan like in many others autonomies in Russia it was not dominating. Much more serious was the forcing threat of a nationality split. In Shaymiyev, who acted very calmly, many people have seen a man, who is able to become the head of Tatarstan. Not the leaders of radical political parties and movements are meant here but the people and moderate political formations.
People with liberal views suffered from the lack of freedom and perspectives, for them Shaymiyev was the "right guy" because he, just like Yeltsin, "resolutely struggled" with the privileges of the Communists` Party. He showed it by retiring Rodygin and Bulatov for instance. One can not except the thought that Shaymiyev just used his chance to get rid of the unsympathetic people, and the press secretaries of the district committee became a sacrifice to the crowd, extinguishing a fire of the mass meetings in Kazan in February 1990, where people demanded the retirement of the whole District Committee of C.P.S.U.
For the conservative part of people Shaymiyev was the "right guy" because of his post and Party membership. For Tatar chauvinists he was a man who supported the declaration about the sovereignty and who keeps up the hopes for a total independence of the Republic. Russian-speaking people saw his ability to prevent mass slaughter which was widely discussed after bloody events in Sumgait and Tbilisi from the high tribunes, for example, on the Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.
There is nothing to tell about Party`s political executive establishment. These people were so scared with the wind of changes, which seemed a typhoon to them, so they were ready to pray for everyone who could keep their position stable.
During the first President`s term Shaymiyev was neutral and there were not many disappointed people. Yet if we throw off conjectures and interpretations of propaganda, and leave pure facts, we can state: Shaymiyev`s merits are overestimated, to put it mildly. Let`s take the sovereignty declaration. Making the status of the republic higher was a goal of many generations of Tatar politics. At the beginning of May 1920 Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the All-union Communists` Party of Bolshevists (P.B.C.C.) and the Council of People`s Commissioners (Soviet Narodnyh Komissarov, SNK) together established a governmental commission for working on the question about Tatar republic and its boundaries. Yet the suggestions of Tatar commissioners were ignored and on the 27th of May 1920 the decree of P.B.C.C. and S.N.K. about establishing the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (TASSR) in the Russian Federation appeared. The next unsuccessful try to make the state of TASSR higher was made in 1936, as the Stalin`s constitution was passed. In 1967 Fikryat Tabeyev raised this question.
The harbinger of the realization of this idea about sovereignty of our Republic became... Andrei Sakharov. I remember his speech on the first congress of people`s deputies of the USSR abut the absolute necessity of equal rights for all the national territorial subdivisions. On the 12th of June 1990 Russia declared its sovereignty. Many people were talking about the need of a similar declaration in Tataria, for example, the people`s deputy of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Rinat Mukhamadiev. Shaymiyev did not. He probably waited for the reaction of the Central Committee. In 1990 the sovereignty of Tatarstan was not the most important question for Shaymiyev. Being a candidate for the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of TASSR in April 1990, he paid attention on the need to give the real power to Soviets, speeding up political and economical reforms in his program speech; he just retold the theses of Mikhail Gorbachev. The higher status of TASSR was the main goal of Shaymiyev`s opponent the head of Tatar Social Center Marat Mulyukov.
The result of this "hiding away" was the fact that the sovereignty of the Republic was declared only in the last turn. Visiting the Republic, Boris Yeltsin on the 6 – 8th August in 1990 gave public instructions to take as much sovereignty "as you can eat ". It was taken. Yet seemingly Shaymiyev`s environment did not realize what social and political processes are going on in the country. They left some bridges to go back. Though the name of the declaration was "About state sovereignty", so it declared the establishing of a new state, it was identical to the declarations which were accepted in Lithuania on the 11 of March 1990, Estonia – on the 30th of March and Latvia on the 4th of May, yet the second part of the title the sovereignty of the "Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic" and its contents made it just a document about higher Union status of the republic.
The first term of the presidentship of Mintimer Shaymiyev became the "golden century" of Tatarstan. In this years the dialectic law about a necessary condition of evolution - law of the struggle of opposites - found a brilliant confirmation. Politicalisation of the society was the highest then and there were enough struggles. A Constitution was passed, a referendum took place, the all-world congress of Tatars was organized, and the treaty about delimitation of authority was signed with some very important preferences.
And in 1994, as Mintimer Shaymiyev visited the USA and the term "Tatarstan`s model" was made public in the walls of Harvard, all the world got to know about the Republic. Shaymiyev became carte blanche for political reforms, for formatting self-government, for supporting the institutions of the civil society, for turning socialistic command-administrative system of economy into a market system, free from bureaucratic dictation. The time has shown that this carte blanche was used fully just in the sphere of redistribution of property.
Continuation. Read the beginning in №98, 101.
(To be continued)