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№ 109 (3259)08.07.2006
Notes of a press-secretary
The last president of Tatarstan (9)

Good memory and ability to remember great amount of facts helped Mintimer Shaymiyev to write a composition on the entrance examination in the agricultural college. These features allow him to look well before different audiences and to demonstrate a special "Shaymiyev`s opinion" about different topics. Yet the results of analyzing of Shaymiyev`s public speeches are discouraging in some ways.

The matter does not concern President`s interviews in newspapers and magazines. The written text is usually seriously edited by journalists, Press Service and Shaymiyev himself before publication. Sure, there are some exceptions. Andrey Kolesnikov, the reporter of a Kommersant newspaper, known for his sense of humor, had never esteemed our President, and on the 27th of June 2000 published a report about the participation of the Russian President Vladimir Putin in the national fest Sabantui in Kazan. He just reproduced Shaymiyev`s speech, recorded on his Dictaphone: "You coming to our people, it will speak good wishes in your work, aimed to better conditions of people". The correspondent of Kommersant was sincerely surprised: "I could not recognize him. This man masterly stated his ideas in a good Russian yesterday on the sitting, and here before his people he seemed to forget it as if on purpose.

Yet there was nothing to wonder about. "Yesterday" Shaymiyev was well prepared for the sitting, he studied many documents, remembered many things from notes, which were made by his assistants, by the Presidential Service and Government, and "today" on the fest Tatarstan`s President extemporized.

Like any politician, Shaymiyev can speak about subjects common to all mankind, like morals, extempore, and demonstrates broad outlook and erudition. Yet analyzing prepared speeches by Mintimer Shaymiyev about economy, you could think that he sometimes does not understand the meaning of his own words. His "economical" stock phrases travel from one speech into another through different interviews, repeating at the press-conferences. He articulates the words clearly, giving the impression that Shaymiyev is sure of what he`s saying. Yet this impression is wrong.

On the press-conference about the results of the year 2005 Mintimer Shaymiyev stated that "inflation is lower then in Russia on the whole". Local TV channels and newspapers propagated this achievement of the Republic. In one and half weeks Shaymiyev repeated his idea about a special Tatar inflation. No one prompted to the President that inflation is an increase in the price of a basket of goods and services that is representative of the economy as a whole. There can not be different inflations in Ulyanovsk, in Vorkuta and in Kazan. For Ulyanovsk, Vorkuta and Kazan do not print their own money, for these cities are in the common Ruble zone of Russia. And the level of inflation depends only on those, who try to lower the prices by regulations of mint`s activity.

The theme of inflation is one of the key themes in another Shaymiyev`s thesis, which he repeats during fifteen years. Explaining the reasons of the refusal of so called "shock therapy", proposed by Yegor Gaidar, Mintimer Sharipovich usually says: "How could we sell the state property, when the year`s inflation was higher than 1000%? We said that it was not the right time to get rid of the state property. We explained to the people, that we will declare the moratorium off, when we will be able to lower the inflation. And we really did it".

Shaymiyev presents this fact as a self-evident one. Yet if you obtain further insight into the sense of these words, you will see that Mintimer Sharipovich just did not understand the main idea of Gaidar`s reforms, that he saw simple sale of the state property in privatization. The empty counters in the shops and coupons for all goods were not connected with the crisis of the Soviet planned economy. Mintimer Sharipovich did not understand that the economy system, based on the total control of production and distribution of goods, did not work anymore. The situation was despairing. Boris Yeltsin also did not understand the reformer right by the way. Anatoly Chubais confessed that Gaidar and his team were mentally strange for Boris Yeltsin. Korzhakov was "the right guy", and Gaidar was strange. Yet Yeltsin trusted Yegor Timurivich, for he saw or had a presentiment of economical chaos and understood that anything should be done.

The main goal of the privatization was not to sell the state property, but to change inefficient enterprises` owners (the state) by efficient ones - by the private persons. The economist Vladimir Naidshul, who invented vouchers, let it out that these securities could be just thrown out of a plane and not given to every person. The vouchers would anyway collect there, where they are now.

Shaymiyev seemingly did not understand the sense of privatization, yet the sovereignty of the Republic was already proclaimed, and it could not just follow Russian mainstream. Yet it was impossible to leave everything as it was too. Sovereignty ruled, yet people can not eat slogans, economy is always primary. So they started to search for their own way.

The government of the Republic was not homogeneous. A conservative wing of Muhammat Sabirov, who was the head of the Ministers Cabinet, followed the concept of reforms by Kosygin. The reformatory wing, lead by vice prime-ministers Farit Gazizullin and Ravil Muratov, insisted on more radical changes.

In principle both conceptions were viable under some conditions. One of them just had to be realized. The member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin worked out a program of Soviet economy reforms, which was planned on twenty or thirty years. The plan provided for gradual privatization of the state property. The private capital had to be applied at first in the services and trade sector. Step by step reforms had do be applied to industry. Kosygin supposed to prohibit the Party to interference in the economy. Only the military-industrial complex, fuel and energy complex, aircraft building and engineering industry had to stay under the state control. Yet Kosygin`s plans were not realized.

In 1973 oil prices in the world became abruptly higher. Soviet economy, which was at the death`s door, became a strong injection of petrodollars, and the Soviet Union found money for the military-industrial complex and for import of food and consumer`s goods. Brezhnev interposed a veto on Kosygin`s reforms. Yet Muhammat Sabirov did not forget this concept, he considered Kosygin to be one of the most progressive leaders of the USSR of the Brezhnev`s time. Muhammat Galyamovich is convinced that privatization of Tatar heat-and-power engineering complexes was a mistake.

Ideas of Gazizullin and Muratov were reflected in the Program of social and economical progresses, which was called "Life after oil" by journalists. This program was never connected with oil, yet it was buried by the oil industry. Just like Kosygin`s reform, the Program was forgotten for petrodollars came into the land after the rapid growth of oil prices at the end of the last century.

Yet it happened later, and in 1992, as privatization started in Russia, Tatarsatn chose another way. Shaymiyev belonged to the old system, he was a part of it, so he stayed a centrist, and both ways of Sabirov and of Muratov and Gazizullin were not right for him. He acted the following way: Sabirov came and convinced the President to do something. Then Gazizullin came and some things were done his way. We all can see the result - neither of plans was realized. For changing the rules or playing without any rules at all it is not allowed even in football or in chess, let alone economy.


Continuation. Read the beginning in № 98, 101, 102, 103, 105, 106, 107, 108.

(To be continued)


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