Еще ни одна революция в России
ничего хорошего не принесла,
зато каждая много вынесла.

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№ 114 (3264)18.07.2006
Notes of a press-secretary
The last President of Tatarstan (13)

Mintimer Shaymiyev visited Germany at the end of 2001. On the 26th of November Rudolf Kerning met us at the Dusseldorf airport. The German businessman owns and rules Mineralol-Rohstoff-Handel and is an old friend of the Republic, he is the co-founder of Tatar-German joints, such as Tatoilgas and Petrokam, which were founded at the beginning of 1990s. Rudolf Krening organized our trip through Germany. The corporate headquarters of Mineralol-Rohstoff-Handel are in Muhlheim, so we stopped at this wonderful town with about 200 thousands population.

On the 28th of November Rudolf Krening invited Mintimer Shaymiyev and all the members of our delegation for a supper in the ancient castle, called Hugenpot. As we returned into the cozy Noah Hotel late in the evening, we suddenly turned off our route and drove into some kind of a forest or park. It turned out that Rudolf Krening’s son – Frank decided to show us the house, he had been building. Just coming closer we could recognize an ancient house behind the great trees, it seemed to come from fairy-tales. Yet there were no sign inside the building that it was old, only the most modern materials and up-to-date technologies were applied there. Frank Krening complained that the process would be much faster if he would build an absolutely new house on the empty land at the outskirts. For he had to take care abut historical look of the 300 year old house. One cannot even place floors on joisting; new engineering ideas are needed, so that the bearing wall would stay as it is.

- Could you demolish the house and rebuild a similar one, a copy of the ancient? - I wondered.

- But how? - Frank did not understand my question.

- What of it! In Kazan for example different things happen: old houses burn sometimes, sometimes they are demolished by strangers. Sometimes it happens at night, sometimes by the daylight. No one wants to have anything with lumber.

- But it is history! - It was Franks turn to wonder. He continued a little grandiloquently: - To destroy things, that belong you on the paper only, is vandalism, for not even the city owns them, but its history!

I remember this episode of our trip best of all, though it was not important, the main goal of Mintimer Shaymiyev`s visit to Germany were the negotiation with the leaders of BASF concern about founding a joint venture for polystyrene production by German technology on the base of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Yet this talk has literally engraved in my mind. "Frank’s house" is symbolic for me, it is a symbol of touching relation to the history of a city, a kind of test which showed a difference between the civilized saving the spirit of the city and barbarian relation to it, which is common for newcomers, for guest workers, who hate everything among them because the city did not become their real home.

Only an expert in the ancient history could call the names of military leaders, who commanded Roman legionaries during the Carthage occupation. Yet even a senior pupil could know the name of a frantic senator Marcus Porcius Cato, who always ended his speeches with the same sentence: "Carthaginem esse delendam!" - "Carthage must be destroyed!" In 146 B.C. the prosperous state city was destroyed after all. Senator Cato is concerned to be the ideologist of this barbarity. Yet Carthage, one of the most peaceful states of the Mediterranean, was destroyed by alien Romans, modern Kazan is destroyed by home-bred legionaries. It may happen that in twenty or thirty years teachers will tell at school that Kazan has lost its originality at the turn of two millenniums. That the Old City was demolished and architectural wretchedness appeared on its place.

I wonder why no one wrote a kind of the Red Book of disappearing buildings.

The restored provision shops, built in the second half of the 18th – the first half of the 19th century vanished in one night, for they covered the majestic view of the Kul-Sharif mosque.

A.V.Gerken’s house (Baumana str., 8), a one-storey building, built during the second half of the 19th century disappeared.

Fuchs`s house, where Pushkin stayed once, is almost demolished (just one wall is left).

Lebedevskiye caserns disappeared (second half of the 19th century), as well as an alms-house, built in 1786.

N.F.Andreyanov’s house (Baumana str., 10) does not exist anymore; it was built in the middle of the 19th century.

Whole streets are destroyed. Shapov, Nekrasov, Fedoseyevskaya, Telmana streets, some romantics dreamed to create a wooden architecture museum.

Such book could enlist more than 300 graves – graves of historical and cultural memorials, which vanished from the face of the city in the last ten years. All this houses had tablets "A monument of culture and history, protected by state". What for a state is it, if it could not or did not want to save protected memorials?

I cannot remember that Mintimer Shaymiyev asked to find people guilty of a destroyed or burnt memorial, and I worked three years with him. Of course, the President did not instruct anyone to destroy these buildings. Yet his demand to speed up the liquidation of slums and building of new houses looked like a pardon for vandalism. Little problems are not visible before a big aim.

On the 12 of Mintimer Shaymiyev appointed me to be the head of his Press Service and on the 14th of July a big event with his presence took place. I organized it for the first time. It was a meeting concerning central city part reconstruction in a Main department of architecture and building.

I wrote in my diary about the closed part of the meeting then: "The President excoriated the officials for low temp of realizing the Program of liquidation of tumbledown dwellings. Three years long the building of new houses was the main aim. 10242 have already got new apartments, 7201 of them lived in the central Vakhitovsky district. They all live in 89 new multistory houses now, most of them in the Azino district. People were away, yet nothing was done. The main architect of the city Askhat Gilyazetdinov spoke about some problems with reconstruction of the center. For the main plan was not ready. No infrastructure was planned. It scares potential investors. Besides, 232 of all tumbledown dwellings in the center were architectural memorials, which were to restore, and 661 of them were to save and reconstructed. Yet restoring and reconstruction are expensive and not profitable.

Gilyazedtinov spoke more confidently about "territories of business and commercial use along main transportation and pedestrian streets", and "new parks along the banks of Kazanka river and Nizhni Kaban lakes".

Then they spoke about investments again, which were not many then. The decision was: We don’t need them. We can do everything ourselves. It was decided that the Found of tumbledown dwelling liquidation can support building and reconstruction in the center. Then the buildings would be sold, and the Found would get its money back".

In some years I understood that the meeting on the 14th of July 1999 was strange. Its nominal aim was to discuss the center reconstruction, yet Askhat Gilyazetdinov alone spoke about restoring buildings. All the others spoke only about new buildings in the center. The result is a city without any face - without past and with dim future.


Continuation. Read the beginning № 98, 101 - 103, 105 - 111, 113.

(To be continued)


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