''We start thinking that it is a large-scale planned action against the Institute of History''

Radik Salikhov, the deputy director of the Institute of History named after Mardzhani – about the unscheduled inspections at the institution and a wave of anonymous complaints

''We start thinking that it is a large-scale planned action against the Institute of History'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The Institute of History named after Mardzhani at the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences is being shaken by scandals. The science and research institute has been raided by troops from the commission. The reason, according to the staff, was the statement to the press made by recently dismissed from the institute Doctor of History Damir Iskhakov and a series of anonymous letters, which overwhelmed both the institution and the leadership of the republic. Telegram channels report that the institute was producing books with a circulation less than officially stated, and the money from sponsors was ''disbursed and embezzled''. Deputy director of the Institute Radik Salikhov expressed his point of view on the situation to Realnoe Vremya.

''It is an information attack''

Mr Salikhov, is it true that the Institute of History is being inspected? There are rumours, however, the Tatarstan ministry of internal affairs has denied this information today.

There are inspections, but I don't know where the rumours originate from, it's an information attack, fake news. Because the inspection is still underway, people are still working, there are no results yet, nothing has been announced, no one knows anything.

We are aware of these negative assessments, we know what they say — one thing is revealed, another is revealed… but again, in fact, there are no results yet. The relevant structures are inspecting our activity. This is normal for all budget organisations, they are all checked. Especially as in the press there have been materials in which the Institute of History was accused of illegal things.

Do you mean the statements by Damir Iskhakov?

Yes, of course. Naturally, after such publications there will be inspections. Such complex inspections are usually planned. Budgetary institutions are always under control.

As for this information attack — I don't know why there is such a fuss about these anonymous messages because one should always wait for conclusion of official bodies. We ourselves, when were read, we were very surprised, colleagues and journalists are still disturbing us. But what can we say? We don't know anything. When they have results of the inspection, they will be brought to the right place.

''We reacted to neither any article by Iskhakov nor anonymous letters. We believe that the results of the inspection will speak for themselves. If we have violations, they will be indicated.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

Who is inspecting? The Prosecutor's office? The office for combating economic crimes (UBEP)?

These are joint inspections of several institutions.

You have said that the routine inspections are also carried out. Is there some kind of schedule? Is the current inspection planned or not?

It is unscheduled, but we also expect a planned one because the institute has not been inspected for a while already. We were expecting it [a planned inspection]. And after such publications, there will definitely be inspections – it is obvious.

''We are accused of all mortal sins''

Meanwhile, the information attack, you are talking about, points at very specific things. The employees are allegedly taken signatures to confirm that certain books are at their hands. The management is accused of fraud with copies…

You know, there is a massive attack on the Institute of History taking place, mainly through anonymous and unfounded accusations. Iskhakov's article itself is full of these unfounded accusations, which are not based on anything. Okay, that's not so important. But we also receive other letters, as well as higher authorities do, where we are accused of all mortal sins, and we are already beginning to think that this is a large-scale planned action.

But I think that anonymous letters have always existed and they will exist and it would be wrong to respond to them. We reacted to neither any article by Iskhakov nor anonymous letters. We believe that the results of the inspection will speak for themselves. If we have violations, they will be indicated. But this should be done by specialists, appropriate structures.

''The institute successfully operates and implements all programmes. But they are creating some negative background...'' photo: Maksim Platonov

Don't you want to know who is the author of these messages, in order to counter this?

We won't be able to resist a wave of anonymous information attacks. Someone made up something, and they write this. Sometimes it comes to absurdity, they tell some absurd things because people who know the budget institution from the inside will understand that it is simply impossible.

But, unfortunately, we have found ourselves in a not very pleasant situation. Especially that the institute successfully operates and implements all programmes. But they are creating some negative background.

''The whole team feels itself slandered''

For strangers, it must be an extraordinary situation – there is a scientific organization, academicians, intelligent people, and suddenly such intrigues…

It is a very unpleasant situation, I have faced such a situation for the first time. It is unclear what forces have joined. It is clear that everything has begun with Iskhakov's statement. He expressed here just amazing things that it is uncomfortable even to comment on.

What grudges have prompted Damir Mavlyaveyevich to do this? Dismissal?

He was not fired — the director did not extend the contract. It is a different situation. Of course, he has a grudge. But does this give the right to evaluate all his colleagues and the institute from a very negative side?

And then, I do not know why he, having worked for many years at our institute, kept silent until the last, but did not open these ''ulcers'' earlier — a year or two ago? He tormented watching all these ''black sides'' of our life.

''It's business as usual in the institute. The inspection is not hindering absolutely, we perform our tasks, they perform their own. But, nevertheless, our whole team is feeling itself slandered.'' Photo: татаровед.рф

When will the inspection be completed? Isn't it hindering the work of the institute?

I do not know when the inspection is to be completed — it's all within the competence of inspectors. It's business as usual in the institute. The inspection is not hindering absolutely, we perform our tasks, they perform their own. But, nevertheless, our whole team is feeling itself slandered.

By Daria Turtseva