''I’ve not met a person who was more prepared to work with people than Mr Tabeyev''
7 Days: from pre-election debates to powder milk ban
How is the preparation for the elections going on at Kazan headquarters? How did the US ambassador to Russia remember Kazan during his two-day visit to the capital of Tatarstan? What will change with banning the import of powdered milk from Belarus? How did Olympic champion Alina Zagitova start her sports career? These and other topics were the basis of pieces of 7 Days weekly information and analytical programme on TNV channel.
What was discussed in the pre-election debates?
Last week was remembered for bright pre-election debates on federal channels that are becoming similar to a show. Meanwhile, the organisers of these TV programmes allegedly didn't plan any shows. For instance, candidate for the presidency of Russia TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak poured water on LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Political experts, PR workers, experts are at their wits' end. It's either just the presidential candidates' low political culture or a deliberate step.
''Splashing water by Sobchak is, of course, an allusion to a meme in the 90s when Zhirinovsky splashed juice on Nemtsov's face. But this meme doesn't work for a huge number of people who forgot this stage a long time ago,'' thinks Kazan Federal University's rector's adviser Yury Alayev.
He also remembers here presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky's pre-election video. The technique used by Yabloko PR workers resembles a scene from one famous British film in which a young man approaches his beloved but already married woman and leafs through letterings with a declaration of love while standing at the door in silence, so that the woman's husband won't hear. Yavlinsky's video is sadder and somehow hopeless, states the expert.
Unlike the candidates, their trusted confidants demonstrated the highest tolerance to others' opinion on regional channels and only friendly communication in the back room between both TV shooting and political opponents.
Last week, the debates continued on TNV channel and Bolgar Radio and started in All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company's Tatarstan office and on Tatarstan Radio. The topics coincide with that of raised on federal platforms. For instance, the trusted confidants were offered to discuss how to develop human capital, maintain the country's defence potential, design social policy wisely.
Speaking of the army and navy, many experts say the opinions completely divided. Yabloko representative Ruslan Zinatullin offered to reduce the call-up, end all wars, which Russia is allegedly leading in Donbass and Syria. In general, the army in Russia needs to be mobile, compact, small but able to fight.
''Why do we put an example of the army of Switzerland? Is it mobile? Or even the army of FRG. And we try to shift units to mobility, compactness in Russia – the biggest country in the world,'' Alayev asks the question.
Ksenia Sobchak's representatives also support the views on foreign affairs and improvement of the defence potential of the country that are similar with Yabloko.
''We need to stop hybrid wars in Ukraine and Syria. Consequently, we will have money. And if we also win corruption, there will be more money. Then we'll be able to spend them for good purposes,'' thinks Ksenia Sobchak's trusted confidant Elza Nisanbekova.
It will be easier to criticise the current government in economic and social policy. Anyway, Russia objectively has many problems, and there are things to work on. The question is what candidates-opponents offer. In experts' opinion, there is a big number of simple solutions. There are few deep and thought out offers.
Many experts in Tatarstan don't expect an aggravation of the political fight on air of regional television and radio. There aren't reasons for it. Firstly, people are decent and cultured, unlike some federal politicians. Secondly, they probably understand the real power balance here on the spot.
''They do absolutely correctly. They assess the situation in sound mind,'' Yury Alayev supposes.
Last Friday Mintimer Shaimiev, presidential candidate Vladimir Putin's trusted confidant, state adviser of Tatarstan met with activists of Putin's regional campaign headquarters. The headquarters of the other presidential candidates aren't lying dormant too.
Last week Maksim Suraykin's regional headquarters got a flow of human and material resources. Here they approved additional trusted confidants of the candidate and purchased agitation products.
''We will hand newspapers out everywhere. And we will send agitation material to our municipal committees – to Naberezhnye Chelny, Chistopol, Zelenodolsk – and distribute from there,'' head of the Tatarstan pre-election headquarters and trusted confidant of Russian presidential candidate Maksim Suraykin Alfred Valiyev defines plans.
At the regional headquarters of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, people answered one of two eternal questions: ''What to do?'' Here the boundaries of the work were coordinated, and they prepared for away meetings of their trusted confidants.
''Our regional coordinators organise meetings with trusted confidants, our activists, they meet with voters, tell about our candidate, hand agitation products out,'' says trusted confidant of Russian presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky Marsel Gabdrakhmanov.
The work of the Tatarstan headquarters of Pavel Grudinin and Sergey Baburin was outside the coverage last week. Nevertheless, now pre-election acts, in fact, come to two verbs: to get and distribute. For instance, Grigory Yavlinsky's Kazan headquarters are putting the material that arrived again on shelves and other flat surfaces.
''Bags for agitators also come to us from Moscow, they will have the agitation material, volunteers will distribute it to houses,'' tells about the work Ruslan Zinnatullin, the head of the pre-election headquarters and trusted confidant of Russian presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky.
The main work at Ksenia Sobchak's Kazan headquarters left its borders. People in white handed out something written in black and white – agitation newspapers.
Boris Titov's Kazan headquarters have different agitation products. They will be handed out to voters only in the republic's capital.
''Our party is young. The office opened only on 28 December. We're doing an organisational job only now, we're trying to work only in Kazan, we'll be working in Kazan,'' explains head of the Tatarstan pre-election headquarters and trusted confidant of Russian presidential candidate Boris Titov Aleksandra Yumanova.
Last week, Vladimir Putin's regional headquarters had meetings with trusted confidants from different cities of the country. Andrey Lysenko, Ekaterina Krasikova and Vyacheslav Bocharov also met with volunteers and gave them instructions. They talked with the volunteers about a strong army and patriotism.
Mintimer Shaimiev's visit drew more careful and mass attention of not only volunteers but also the regional and federal mass media.
Together with other trusted confidants, they discussed the programmes fulfilled in our country and goals that Vladimir Putin sets. Mintimer Shaimiev also told what qualities the country's leader should have, in his opinion, and what responsibility he assumes.
''How is it to work as president? You dedicated yourself to serve people. You voluntarily agreed and accepted this job. I know it first-hand. If you chose this job, you doomed yourself, you serve. He needs to be thanked for running,'' trusted confidant of Russian presidential candidate Vladimir Putin Mintimer Shaimiev expressed his opinion.
The candidates for the presidency and their supporters have less than two weeks for agitation. It will be known after 18 March what all efforts of the election campaign will lead to when voters have their say.
New US ambassador's first visit to Tatarstan
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman's two-day visit to Kazan was among important events last week. The ambassador acquainted with the historical and architectural heritage of Kazan, rich scientific and educational potential: Huntsman visited the Kazan Federal University and medical university, went to scientific city Innopolis. And, of course, he appreciated the hospitality of Tatarstan, Tatar cuisine, openness and kindliness of young people. Jon Huntsman even performed a blues composition together with the musicians of a Kazan group.
The business part of the programme had a trip to the Kazan CHPP-3. It's not only one of the most effective energy facilities in Russia equipped with a gas turbine unit on the basis of one of the most powerful turbines in the world. It's also an amazing example of business cooperation, in this case, TAIF Group of Company and American General Electric. It's known that the Americans invested $2 billion to create a new class of turbines. The effect lived up to the expectations – after the update and reconstruction, the plant doubled its installed capacity and tripled energy generation, energy effectiveness indicators improved by 30%. Director General of TGC-16 Eduard Galeyev gave another number:
''We've achieved unachievable results in brake specific fuel consumption, we suddenly enhanced the economy, provided the reliability of energy supply of Kazan. The plant can confidently look ahead in the next 30 years. If average brake specific fuel consumption is about 300 grams, now it's below 200 grams in the Kazan CHPP-3,'' tells Eduard Galeyev.
They all are indicators and advantages that not only business but also all citizens of Kazan can take advantage of. The CHPP-3 can supply heat and hot water for the needs of the city at favourable tariffs.
''It influences, first of all, the price of heat energy, electricity, hot water supply. In other words, we're able to give a very big amount of heat to Kazan at lower tariffs,'' explains the TGC-16 PJSC director general.
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman shared his impressions of the visit to the plant and said it was a great example of success, an ideal example of how American technologies and equipment worked in a Tatarstan facility. It was a message to American companies that the road to entrepreneurs was open. And one could succeed here, moreover, on a serious scale. The ambassador said they looked the huge enterprise over and emphasised once again it was an example of cooperation of big TAIF company with American partners, which was very important.
Powdered milk instead of natural
The Russian Statistics Service has recently published a report on foreign trade. According to the document, almost a million tonnes of powdered milk was brought in 2017, it's official data. Meanwhile, natural milk prices continue falling. All agricultural producers of Russia have been affected. Natural milk purchasing price in Tatarstan fell to 14 rubles per litre. Russia bans the import of dried milk from Belarus from 6 March. Correspondents of 7 Days found out what changed.
10 years have passed since the technical regulation for milk and dairy was adopted. It was decided as early as 2008 that a product made naturally, not from powdered milk, would be called milk legally. The product made by the second method would be called a ''milk product''. All included in milk product's composition must be written on the pack. By calculation of economists, prices for products with powdered milk must go down in comparison with real unskimmed raw milk, which Russian producers were glad about. In the end, everything was on the contrary.
Who are they – these dishonest producers who breach laws, use dried feedstock in production, confuse purchasers? Neither Russia nor Tatarstan has such. Now it's just noisy accusations. Nobody hasn't been caught doing this yet. It's a big question whether somebody will be.
It's almost possible to distinguish the taste of dried milk from natural in bottles is impossible. One needs to have exceptional taste receptors or do laboratory research, which is quite an expensive pleasure. Many people probably already don't remember the melamine scandal in 2007 linked with dried milk from China. Then Russian sanitary services banned the import of this product only after it became known about thousands of victims around the world. The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has frequently expressed its concern about the detection of dangerous substances and antibiotics in the dairy supplied from Belarus. 723 cases of breach of veterinary and sanitary rules by Belarusian enterprises were detected in 2016. The remains of banned and dangerous substances were found in ten cases. There were 596 breaches in 2017. As from 20 February 2018, there have been detected 32 breaches in milk and dairy, including 21 cases in which the remains of banned and dangerous substances were found.
A paradoxical situation seems to arise. Our agricultural producers have natural and inexpensive products, the products that don't have free access to the market, the products that have to survive amid dishonest competition, unequal fight for consumers who don't have a possibility to make a right choice yet.
Alina Zagitova's sports career
Last week Russian Olympians were awarded medals and orders by Vladimir Putin. 46 athletes who won medals at the Olympic Games in South Korean Pyeongchang were awarded in the Kremlin.
Olympian figure skating champion Alina Zagitova got ''Friendship Order''. It should be noted the number of people who wanted their kids to do figure skating suddenly rose after Alina's victory in her native ice palace in Almetyevsk where she started to make her first steps on the ice. The coaches say the last time they saw such a flow of pupils was a long time ago. Right Alina became a real example to follow for hundreds of girls and boys in our country.
The youngest champion in the history of figure skating has already won hearts of millions of spectators around the world. Olympic Pyeongchang medal, ''Friendship Order'' given by the president, BMW and an Akita puppy that her fans from Japan want to give her soon.
Alina's father, Ilnaz Zagitov, admits that he never watches his daughter's performances. He says he still fails to realise what has happened. He also knows the taste of victory. The coach of Izhstal Hockey Club also started his professional career aged 15. He played for Avangard, Neftekhimik and Neftyanik. His colleagues say today that Alina is daddy's daughter.
It turned out that Yubileyny ice palace in Almetyevsk, in which Alina's father Ilnaz played in the past, became the first training arena for the Olympian champion. She was just 4,5 years when she learnt how to skate. The girl's first coach Damira Pichugina remembers today that they started with Alina with the basics on this ice.
Then the group had 160 people. It's almost twice more than today. But it was not possible not to notice Zagitova among these 160 kids. After moving to Izhevsk, Alina started to train under Natalia Antipina who also notes unique physical abilities of the young champion today.
Loop jump has been her favourite jump since childhood. Thanks to her prepared cascades, she easily leaves many rivals behind from a perspective of technique. Apart from Zagitova, nobody is performing triple loop jumps in the world.
Olympic champion in the women's singles and silver medallist in team event Alina Zagitova is a role model for both kids and her parents. After the Olympic gold of Alina, the figure skating class in Almetyevsk is receiving a real flow of people who want to join elite and such beautiful sport.
Fikryat Tabeyev would be 90 years on 4 March. The name of this legendary person, director, state and party activist was lettered in the history of not only Tatarstan but also all country in gold. Tabeyev is a legendary person, director who was almost one of the originators of the creation of modern industry of Tatarstan.
Today KAMAZ is a symbol of Naberezhnye Chelny and one of the main brands of all Tatarstan. Few people know that the famous factory could not have existed on the River Kama. We mean that it was planned to build the car making giant in Krasnoyarsk Krai. And the most surprising thing is that the party decided the fate of KAMAZ. But not a political party, a party in domino.
''I was invited to Belarus to celebrate the 40 th anniversary of the republic. And Mr Brezhnev offered to go in one wagon with him. We were playing domino there. And then I said to him, ''Mr Brezhnev, nobody will build the first stage in Krasnoyarsk Krai for 20 years. While we can build for 5,'' Tabeyev remembered.
Sketchy lines of his biography say that Fikryat Tabeyev was born to the family of hero of the Civilian War Akhmedzhan Tabeyev and was the eldest of four brothers. The father died on the front. And Fikryat's road to the party work was very unusual for those years. He almost became a party leader as a scientist. He remained head of Soviet Tataria for almost 20 years.
''Highly-educated, young, tall, 32-year-old – the youngest first secretary of the regional committee of the party. I've not met a person who was more prepared to work with people than Mr Tabeyev,'' ex-President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev remembers Tabeyev.
Mr Tabeyev got used to persuading the supreme authority with digits, cited words of genius Mendeleyev that ''the furnace can't be stoked with assignation rubles''. He proved that transportation of hydrocarbon crude to other regions would be incomparably more expensive than its conversion on the spot. So another industrial giant – Nizhnekamskneftekhim – appeared on the map of Tatarstan, and the oil sector got a new impulse to develop.
Fikryat Tabeyev learnt everything new like a sponge. The scientific past and teaching activity at the Kazan university made their impact.
''Mr Tabeyev often said that he loved agriculture. It is strange to hear such a thing from a historian, a philologist. But the republic's interests required this, it was necessary to feed people with the staff of life. And this problem was solved under him,'' notes Mintimer Shaimiev.