Elvira Agurbash: ''Certainly, Navalny is not exactly a president''
How Realnoe Vremya’s columnist decided to become a sparring partner in the upcoming Russian presidential elections
Against a background of rumours that the Kremlin decided to find a female candidate for the upcoming elections, it became known that First Vice-President of Mortadel agricultural complex in Moscow Elvira Agurbash is going to declare her candidacy in the presidential elections in 2018. Realnoe Vremya reached out to Agurbash and knew what points her programme had if she came to power and whether the bureaucracy that has increased a lot would reduce.
''Women will think twice before taking the sabre out''
Mrs Agurbash, you are going to declare your candidacy in the presidential elections. What dictated such a decision?
It is a conscientious decision that I have been on the way to in the last year. I am a purposeful, public person but I constantly go through serious difficulties because of the indifference and inactivity of functionaries and state workers at all the levels. I imagine how ordinary people feel – peasants, workers, business. So I made this decision on the basis of my personal experience, and it is not a spontaneous decision.
Haven't the small scandal with Ksenia Sobchak and the news that the Kremlin decided to find a female rival for Putin in the presidential elections affected your decision?
I did not know about this situation. I don't divide politics into ''female'' and ''male''. I decided to declare my candidacy as a person who deals with production, as a businesswoman who went through all the formation stages and sees industrial relations in Russia and all the laws adopted in our country. In addition, at work, I talk to not only our top management – I keep in touch with every worker, I know what the people breathe and how they live.
''I did not know about this situation. I don't divide politics into ''female'' and ''male''. I decided to declare my candidacy as a person who deals with production, as a businesswoman who went through all the formation stages and sees production relations in Russia and all the laws adopted in our country.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov
Why do you think Russian politics has so few women now despite talks about equality?
Women are creators. Another difference is that a female politician is always oriented to the future generation, family values, young orphans, disabled people, pensioners concern them. She will think twice before taking the sabre out.
''I want to fix the lowest pension at 15,000 rubles''
What stage is the process of your declaration at? What procedures have you already gone through?
At this moment, an initiative group is created and the programme is about to end.
I understand it is still early to ask. But could you tell about the programme?
In my opinion, we just need to establish industrial relations and labour forces of the society with the highest efficiency on the basis of the historical experience of our country and other successful countries. I want to offer the idea to recover the state plane and state committee for science and engineering for consideration as well as the location of all the labour forces based on computer technologies – with a complete control of the country's costs and private investments. It will enable to control every penny of the state budget every day and distribute to really necessary needs.
In addition, the president is responsible for numerous social issues…
Again, here everything comes from the idea of a state plan and control. According to my programme, the whole army of state workers (who, as a rule, are smart and educated people representing great potential) will always be in the limelight. And they will really follow the budget they will have in their hands. All the facilities of industrial and social life will be rationally located on the basis of clear norms. Kindergartens, schools, polyclinics, sports establishments will be built where they are needed. And uncontrolled construction of shopping centres and sales points will stop.
''The real growth of the population's salary, higher workforce productivity in enterprises and low unemployment and criminality indicators must be a criterion to evaluate the work of the heads of districts, oblasts and regions.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov
From my point of view, the real growth of the population's salary, higher workforce productivity in enterprises and low unemployment and criminality indicators must be a criterion to evaluate the work of the heads of districts, oblasts and regions.
We need to adapt young orphans in society – to send them from secondary school to specialised colleges, vocational training schools, so that they will leave orphanages with vocational training and job placement to qualified working places. I offer to establish a unified standard for all the tools to improve the quality of life of disabled people and calculate the real social living wage for them considering prices of medicine and rehabilitation as well as compulsory employment with social services.
I am for a unified school kit, and it must have one price. A free afterschool group with free meals needs to be implemented at schools. In addition, we need to exclude the homeowner associations and introduce state managing companies – it will enable to reduce utility bills and fix the lowest pension at 15,000 rubles.
''I think I would abolish about 60% of ministries''
By the way, how to fight against ignorance of presidential instructions at a lower power level?
By controlling: there must be a complete transparency in the report of results of the work at different levels. To tighten the control of state workers by applying criminal and administrative responsibility. To ban directors of state services and their close relatives to have property and accounts abroad.
''Part of the ministries just needs to be abolished and leave establishments that are under the authority of the state plan where they will follow the norms.'' Photo: yuga.ru
People have talked a lot in the recent time that the bureaucracy in Russia has increased a lot. Are you going to do anything with it?
My personal experience showed that some ministries are not needed at all. There must be created a unified body – a state plan that will distribute the money of the country and control all the enterprises and investments online. What is more, the distribution will be performed according to norms, not because this body wanted so. Part of the ministries just needs to be abolished and leave establishments that are under the authority of the state plan where they will follow the norms.
Which ministries would you get rid of?
I won't call specific ministries now. But I think I would abolish about 60%.
''Certainly, Navalny is not exactly a president''
Mrs Agurbash, what will happen to the foreign policy? Now Russia is quite in an uneasy situation. At least sanctions come to my mind.
Of course, we also prepare the foreign policy. Its foundation is that Russia was, is and will be the main player on the political stage. The country will have the status of a strong and fair power. And if needed, it will offer peace-support missions at points where wars take place and the population suffers.
I can't help but ask about Crimea. What will happen to it?
Crimea is a Russian territory that will develop like other regions of Russia.
Who is your major rival?
Nowadays I don't know who is going to declare candidacies for the presidential elections. As for Navalny… I don't know who he is, what he did, what he does, what he did for the country and society at all. Certainly, he is not exactly a president. I see nothing behind him but criticism and provocations.
''I don't know who he is, what he did, what he does, what he did for the country and society at all. Certainly, he is not exactly president.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov
Elections are costly. Have you already counted your budget? How much are you going to invest in this business?
I won't call you a specific sum – the budget is created.
Mrs Agurbash, are not you afraid that such a decision can hit your business?
I am a person who has missed the feeling of real patriotism, you know. I want schoolchildren's notebooks to have songs From Where the Motherland Begins and the country's anthem like me. I want my children to understand they grow up in a great country, I want our old people to have a decent life, I don't want them to count the last coins standing in a shop and collecting money for bread. I can't look at the aggravating social inequality. Maybe I am a super activist. If I am driven by the instinct of self-preservation only, why do I need to start it all? My social responsibility and feeling of justice are very developed. I can't ignore such things. There is a great deal of unnecessary things in many spheres. Instead, we need to invest in our kids and young and pay tribute to the older generation.