Дни рождения - вещь приятная,
но в больших дозах
Марк Твен

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№ 110 (3260)11.07.2006
Notes of a press-secretary
The last President of Tatarstan (10)

Tatarstan’s variant of changing the Soviet economy model to the market one became an economical alchemy. Sovereignty of the Republic had to build a ground for market and democracy. Let`s see what really happened? The regime with distribution and administrative principles was formed in Tatarstan under the cover of beautiful words about our particular way, about inadmissibility of impoverishment of the people. In fact Shaymiyev just preserved a system, which had a lack of vitality, and prolonged the life of the diseased economy with help of petrodollars.

The today’s political and economical system of Tatarstan could be called mercantilism. The authority just makes a show of worries about new workplaces and of creating equal possibilities for the development of business undertakings, for taking a credit, for renting land, offices and materials by private enterprises. Yet the strategic line of authority is saving the dominant state of the officials. The officials control everything, including the possibilities for business undertakings. The authority just thinks how to suppress, to stop the people, it wants everybody to obey and not dare to say anything against it.

Mintimer Shaymiyev likes to repeat that "it is impossible to build strong Russia without strong regions". Yet he does not want to recognize the fact that the entire world has learned: Strong regions do not exist without strong personalities. Tatarstan saved all the sins of Socialistic system like priority of the state’s interests over the society’s and citizens’ interests, like the lack of independent proprietary, like the fact that the most people are not free. These people will never rise and they will ever be slaves, afraid of their own shadow, if this system will continue to exist.

Yegor Gaidar acknowledged that he understood the impending doom of the Soviet economy in 1988, as he was allowed to read the secret articles of the state budget of the Soviet Union for the next year. I felt the same, as I could see the data about the Republic’s development in 2001 on the sitting of the Security Council of Tatarstan. The figures were in a table, where different economical activities from different branches were given in percent for the year 1990. The data were depressing, and made me doubt if Tatarstan`s course were right. May be the changes were mild, yet everything changed not in the right way. Like in song by a famous Russian songwriter Vizbor: "the railroad is over, yet there is no station".

The collapse of industry was not total, like in Russia on the whole, yet we were still falling by 1995, as things started to improve in Russia. The power industry in 1995 produced just 74% of production of the year 1990, the ferrous metallurgy -17,1%, mechanical engineering and metal working – 45%. Paid social services were less than in 1990 on 18,3%. The light industry, which reached 42% of the level of the year 1990 in 1995, had just 29,9% by the year 2000. The investments decreased too, in 1995 they made 31,7%, and in 2000 - just 28,9%.

The cutting down of the building materials production did not slow down even after the after the start of the program of the liquidation of the old houses. In 1995 it made up 67%, and in 2000 – 58,4%.

Even the agricultural complex, treated kindly by the authority, held it out just till the year 1997 (the level of its production made up 110,3% then, comparing with the level of the year 1990), in 2000 the level of agricultural production felt and made up 81,3%. Yet I have suspicions that paper helped to increase the crop capacity of the fields. Upward distortion in farming became common. The heads of districts` administrations made everything to show good yield, so the chairmen of kolkhozes had nothing to do.

During my first trip with Mintimer Shaymiyev as his press-secretary we visited Drozhzhanovsky, Buinsky, Apastovsky, Kaybizky districts of the Republic. I wrote down in my diary on the 16th of June 1999:

"We are back after a two days trip through the districts. There were many meetings. In every district the chairmen of kolkhozes were waiting for us on a seemingly special demonstration field with high corns. Mintimer Sharipovich repeated:

- You are the owners of your life now. The better is the harvest, the better way you are going to live. Pay the credit first, and the rest of the corn belongs to you. You can sell it, or store it. Personally I would not sell it too fast.

In Drozhzhanovsky district we met the farmers not far from the route Ulyanovsk – Nizhny Novgorod. There were many of my acquaintances among the farmers. One of them grumbled aside:

I will see you blowed first. The districts head will not allow us to store something. We just can hide the corn in the wood.

- Why are you so indignant? Did Mintimer Sharipovich say something wrong? - I wondered.

- What he says is all right. Yet astrology is true, but the astrologers cannot find it...

- What do you mean?

- Well, you won’t understand it anyway..."

I really did not understand him. I did not understand why he didn’t want to explain me everything. I was hypnotized by propaganda then, like many other people, I became the part of this propaganda myself. I understood everything later. Then I saw the kernel of many processes in the Republic. Leading the Press Service of Shaymiyev, I was surprised every year in January and February: Where is all the corn, if the harvest is so high? Yet the farms do not have enough forage for their cattle by the middle of the winter. I thought the kolkhoz heads were guilty. I suspected that they sold the rest of the corn privately, getting all the money and dooming the cattle to starving death.

The truth was much more terrible. There never was any grain in the granaries, or less than it was written down. It was all right with the grain for the credit, yet the rest was not controlled by anybody. And it existed only on the paper very often. And record harvest in Tatarstan, which is in the area of risk farming, is a myth. It is not the only one myth, born in our republic. We are very good at myths creation.


Continuation. Read the beginning in № 98, 101, 102, 105, 109.

(To be continued)


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