Dmitry Babich: ''I do not see signs of separatism in Tatarstan''

Moscow journalist Dmitry Babich tells about the agreement between the region and Moscow, attributes of responsibility and bureaucratic one-size-fits-all policy

Dmitry Babich: ''I do not see signs of separatism in Tatarstan'' Photo: cont.ws

The treaty on differentiation of powers between Tatarstan and Moscow, as well as the status of the president of the Republic, can be useful for the country, says political commentator at MIA Russia Today Dmitry Babich. In the newspaper column written for Realnoe Vremya, the journalist who works in the national press since 1989 tells about the attribute of responsibility such as the presidency in the national regions. According to the columnist, bureaucratic one-size-fits-all policy carried out by federal officials-liberals will not lead to positive results.

Attributes of responsibility

The treaty between Kazan and Moscow on differentiation of powers is a very important symbolic element in Tatarstan as well as the institution of presidency. We all remember how in the early 1990s the acquisition of the attributes of a federation subject was a great event not only for Tatarstan, but also for each autonomy in Russia. Regions found their face, the republics started to have their own flags, emblems, anthems. People started to have not just some secretary of oblast committee but the president!

In many cases, it was a good idea because the word ''president'' means not only strengething of powers but also great responsibility, responsibility to the people. So now he, as the leader of the republic, becomes not some official assigned by someone from the top and responsible only to those who assigned him. He represents the population, hopes are connected with him, he is a historical figure for his people by the fact that he is elected to this post.

All these things should be preserved. A bit disappointing is the ease with which many constituent entities of the Russian Federation abandoned it. For example, in Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov is now just called the head of the republic. I think this man has deserved to be called president, he has survived several terrible life attacks, was almost crippled, he managed to suppress terrorist activities in the region. Why was Ruslan Aushev, under whom Chechen militants were rampant in Ingushetia, president? And why the man who brought the republic out of this dead end, made it attractive to tourists, should be not president but some head?

''I think, Yunus-bek Yevkurov has deserved to be called president, he has survived several terrible life attacks, was almost crippled, he managed to suppress terrorist activities in the region.'' Photo: Roman Khasaev

The head of what? Of an examination committee, housing office, kindergarten number x? This word is colourless. Where there is colourless, there is no pathos. Meanwhile, in ancient Greece, the word ''pathos'' meant enthusiasm, energy, rush. But where there is no enthusiasm there is no demand: follow the instructions and that's it. If you do not do it, you will be jailed. That's the whole motivation for this head.

If you're the head, so you're just a head of some body, a head of which can be anyone. But the president is another thing. This word translates from Latin as ''sitting in front of everyone during a meeting''. The president is ahead, he presides, he is responsible. I would like to preserve it.

Any one-size-fits-all policy is bad

Therefore, in respect of the Republic of Tatarstan I stand for preservation of many things that the Republic has acquired over the past 25 years. Although I realize that this goes against the bureaucratic logic. Bureaucratic logic boils down to the fact that it is necessary to equalize everything, to standardize, to deprive all people of differences — for example, some benefits. Do not attribute this bureaucratic logic only to the Soviet Union. This logic is quite liberal because our liberals are, in fact, accountants, what is more — they are soulless. When it was monetization of benefits, when all the differences between service people from not service ones were eliminated, this bureaucratic logic was imposed by then deputy Prime Ministers — Kudrin and Gref. But it was people who did not care about Russia at call, as can be seen from their current speeches, and it is they who require most of all lifting hands before superior forces of the West.

The ideal of the modern computer manager – it is a system that operates without personalities. In such system, personalities are not needed, there is no difference whether you sell wine or books, you pay the same taxes. In these circumstances, of course, it is more profitable to sell vodka.

One should understand: any one-size-fits-all policy is bad. We remember that there was Soviet, Communist. The current is liberal, but such equalization will not lead to positive results.

''When it was monetization of benefits, when all the differences between service people from not service ones were eliminated, this bureaucratic logic was imposed by then deputy Prime Ministers — Kudrin and Gref.'' Photo: politrussia.com

The point is not in external symbols

Attributes of the republics such as inauguration, constitution, government, president and others, do not hurt anyone. The main thing that they should not lead to tyranny, but to a greater accountability, greater independence. These things can be bad only in those cases when they are puppet and lead to destruction of the country, i.e. associated with separatism (I think, many still remember the parade of sovereignties in the Soviet Union). But when they are connected with responsibility and obligations, it will get only better for everyone.

In order to not be afraid of the attributes of the statehood of Tatarstan, it is enough to see what vector of development chosen by the republic. I see no signs of separatism in Tatarstan. In any case, they are considerably less than they were in the 1990s.

It is unlikely that we will find someday a perfect balance between national identity and the need to be in a multinational state, recognizing its value. But we should strive for this. I think we have reached this balance in some extent by trial and error, pendulum swinging from one side to the other.

If there is no threat of collapse of the country, then let them be — flag and anthem, presidency. Let it be the inauguration of mayors – not only the mayor of Moscow or St. Petersburg. Let there be the treaty between Tatarstan and the federal centre. Today, the good secondary schools have anthems, the notorious Republic SHKID taught children to feel themselves masters of their own destiny.

If there is no threat of collapse of the country, then let them be — flag and anthem, presidency

The point is not in external symbols but in what these symbols mean. If all of this help people to feel their responsibility, why not give them such symbolic things? Let them be.

By Dmitry Babich