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"Stolypin is not on us"
"A sensible policy of state support can turn the harsh conditions of Siberia and the Far East into dignity"
- Arnold Kirillovich, you recently published a book, where you dwell on aspects of the political geography of the countries of North Asia - and Russia in the first place. A special chapter is about Stolypin and his reforms. About Stolypin, by the way, recently started talking, when the idea appeared to give people land in the Far East. How do you feel about this idea? Is it worthy to be called the successor of the Stolypin reform?
- I am very negative about this idea. It is a pity that this proposal was hastily offered for signature and secured by the approval of the top officials of the state. Nothing good, except undermining the authority of the authorities, the implementation of such projects will not turn. This is a kind of nonsense, a caricature of the ideas of the great Peter Stolypin. But his experience to our reformers should be studied very, very carefully.
Stolypin was able to really move the economic processes from the dead point, acting in a fierce battle with powerful persons and tragic circumstances. The fruits of the Stolypin reforms could not completely be brought to naught even by the Bolsheviks and their successors who came after him. In the book I quote an article by Alexander Yakovlev, one of the ideologists of perestroika reforms. He recalls how during the events on Damansky he talked with the old-timers of those places, and they explained: Stolypin we love. He gave us the land. And the Soviet government took it away. That's why we do not like her ...
- What measures do you consider to be the most important first steps?
- If we talk about agriculture, a reasonable policy of state support can turn the harsh conditions of Siberia and the Far East into advantages. For example, in the agrarian policy of European countries since 1975, there is a system of financial support for regions with unfavorable climatic conditions. If farmers use the natural area of such lands for at least five years and at the same time apply environmentally safe technologies, they are compensated (up to 200 euros per hectare). In 1995, an agreement was signed under which WTO members are obliged to guarantee the quality of agri-food products that have a special label of geographical origin (Parma ham, Irish whiskey, champagne, etc.) And in our Siberia and the Far East because of financial, environmental and for other reasons, genetically modified feed and chemical fertilizers are used very little in the household. There are well-known "brands" - northern fish, caviar, deer products and much more. That same organic food, the very products of "geographical origin", for which consumers are now ready to pay much more than for mass food. The same applies to the purest, unique Baikal water. In general, it may turn out to be our invaluable capital in the most populated Asian continent, where the water crisis threatens to become much more urgent than financial or oil. These features need to be used wisely. But another thing is that aggressive marketing of products, changes in legislation, the granting of new rights to local and regional authorities, and business - privileges and opportunities are required ... And if the aircraft factory, by and large, no matter where to build, agriculture requires different approaches. In Buryatia, such programs at the regional level already exist - for example, in the development of small villages and farms. But this is a drop in the ocean.
The same approaches are possible to many other aspects of life in the eastern regions of Russia. Practically in any field, one should start with the main thing - with people, so that their life is as comfortable as possible. It is necessary to tie them to the land on which they live. To make attractive what you do not take away with you is to increase salaries, sell gasoline for personal needs to residents of the territories cheaper one and a half to two times, and introduce some other benefits. To build roads and scientific centers, to open schools or universities, theaters, libraries.
"But in the East it's not a clean field." Large cities, powerful plants, BAM and Transsib, scientific centers ...
In 1943, the Russian Academy of Education is being created, at 1945, the largest opera and ballet theater opens in Novosibirsk on Stalin's order, in 1949 the same theater is being built in Ulan-Ude by captured Japanese. Stalin did not care deeply about the opinion of the public, the people for him was not an edict. But he understood that when the war is over, people need to unite and raise something. The new era is the 1957 year. The illiterate Khrushchev creates the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences - also realizing that without science Siberia can not be raised. And what do our literate and educated people do now? Strictly the opposite is true. They pump out resources, hold summits and sports, build gas pipelines, and medicine, education, cultural life - according to the residual principle. Suffice it to recall what is happening with our science and culture now, what spears break around the RAS, what editions books are published and what school textbooks teach ...
- Now Russia is in a difficult international situation and in many respects has to rely only on its own forces. Turning to the East instead of the West - how much do you think it is possible and what can it give?
- I will again recall Stolypin, who said that Russia does not have colonies, but the way to the East can have far-reaching strategic consequences. The Russian-Japanese war Russia lost largely due to the lack of a railway communication with the center of the country - and "we can not win over the fortresses in the East." Stolypin incomplete five years ruled the Russian economy in the face of the struggle with the royal family, with the Duma, with opponents, with the threat of terrorism - and yet the results were colossal. He was told that the Trans-Siberian Railway (the Amur Railway) was going "to nowhere" - just as many people were skeptical about BAM. If Pyotr Stolypin did not defend his point of view, we would not have much now. The road does not have to go "somewhere", sometimes it's the other way around: there is a road - and then strategically important objects appear around it. In this respect, we are now losing to other Asian countries, and especially to China. The Chinese are now moving to the South of Asia, bypassing Russia - through Kazakhstan, Pakistan, etc. If these pipelines, gas pipelines, railways and highways continue to break through like this, we will simply lose the Transsib, it will become useless to nobody. At the BAM, the money is now allocated, but the business is not too shaky. The gas pipe goes along uninhabited places, bypasses all southern regions - Irkutsk, Chita, Buryatia and further goes to the south to China. Otherwise our gas monopolist is "unprofitable" (I myself heard these words from a high-ranking official). And people from all ten of our eastern provinces "flow" to the west. And this is actually a disaster. "In the presence of a state densely populated, neighboring to us," Peter Stolypin wrote more than a hundred years ago, "this outskirts will not remain deserted. A foreigner will penetrate into it if the Russian does not come there ... If we sleep with a lethargic sleep, this edge will be saturated with other people's juices and, when we wake up, maybe he will turn out to be Russian only by name. " I would not want his sad forecast to come true. But while we have to state: we economize on everything, even Selenga pulp and paper mill have ruined us, there are very few positive examples. And in the PRC there is a program for the development of Northeast China, which is aimed at specific cases - the construction of 100 new cities along the border, the creation of the largest grain base in the country, the search and training of talented children, the link of the village and the city ... By the way, back in the 80 I saw, as in the Chinese Heihe, across the river from our Blagoveshchensk, cars ZIS-5 walked along the shore. Now they were shooting a historical film, but for the scenery they could not find there any old fanzes ...
- In the Federation Council you represent the Republic of Buryatia. The golden rain on this region is clearly not spilled - even though Siberia and the Far East are now officially considered "the priorities of state development." And what is the priority for you as a senator and as a scientist when you defend the interests of Buryatia in the upper house of the federal parliament, and not only in it?
Yes, Buryatia is not the richest region. But in Russia the situation is strange, if not absurd: we have only 10 donor regions. The rest have to stand with an outstretched hand. Allegedly, they dependents and can live only through subsidies from the center. In fact, the system is constructed in this way: an official is sitting in Moscow, who, figuratively speaking, "turns the tap" and gives money: he gave it, and no, let him "deserve". These things are administrative-political, they have no relation to the real potential and capabilities of the subjects of the federation. And I always said this, but now I repeat once again: while the management system in Russia remains centripetal, we will not have to speak about any development of the economy. Among other things, it is also because not everything is so clearly seen "from above" and from the center. For example, we are now fighting with the Ministry of Regional Development on the implementation of the federal target program "The Far East and the Baikal Region". The name is left, and we are essentially struck from it. After appeals to the government, representatives of the republic seem to have been included in the relevant council, but there is still no big deal. First of all, because this program is only a list of activities that have no scientific justification. And everything depends not only on money, what we have to complain about. Money by and large is. But very often there is no clear understanding of what to spend them first of all.
- And what place in the all-Russian geopolitical strategy can Buryatia play?
- Buryatia is the easternmost national republic on the border with the Buddhist world. Our mission is to conduct the eastern ideas to the west and the western ideas to the east. We are just born there, because the great world of the APR countries is beginning to follow us.
In my opinion, it is better not to touch national formations, especially in the east. It is not from the Ryazan region to transfer any area to Tula, for 20 km. Other distances, another course of time - and now the grandmother, due to the fact that the Evenk district was removed from the map, is forced to go for help a thousand miles further. Or fly a helicopter, because any transport we strive to move "through Moscow." Gradually, villages and villages are dying, the connection of generations is lost, the traditional Buddhist peacefulness and many other vital things are leaving the value system. Communication collapses, traditional crafts come to decline, the land is left without owners. Why? Yes, only because officials are so "easier to manage." Neighboring countries do not make such a mistake.
- The last 2014 was the Year of Culture. You have used this opportunity quite actively to draw attention to the culture of Buryatia. But the year is over. What's next? And one more question that connects with the first. Does the inevitable translation into Russian greatly impoverish Buryat literature, without which its "presentation" for a wide range simply does not work out?
- The answer is simple: you have to pay for everything. The downside of the fact that Buryatia has science, culture and education, mostly in Russian, is largely a loss of national specifics. But in this case it is necessary to make a choice. Due to the loss of this part of our "I" we have the highest level of education, in the Soviet Union the Buryats were the third ethnos after Jews and Georgians by the number of candidates of sciences, etc. But that's what's important. For some reason, it is believed that national culture, especially when it comes to Asian, eastern, northern peoples, is only "songs and dances", "tambourines and shamans". But folklore is only a small part of the entire cultural "archipelago", which very easily goes under the water during general storms. Of course, it must be preserved and I consider the present attitude to these problems to be unacceptable. Compare: in 1990, the Institute of Philology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences published the first book from the series "Folklore of the Peoples of Siberia and the Far East" in a dust jacket with nested disks. 10-thousandth edition - "Fairy tales and legends of Evenks." The year before last, "The Tales of the Shorets" came out. Circulation of 300 copies. This is the level of funding and the status of the relationship. My Minister of Culture did not even reply to my indignant letter - his assistant just assured that they could "allocate experts" to us, but there was, alas, no money.
It should be vice versa - it is necessary not only to strengthen the system of universities and scientific institutes in the eastern regions of Russia, but also to create centers for the training of foreign students from Asia and the Far East. For them, the same Ulan-Ude by mentality is much closer than Moscow or St. Petersburg. Then they, naturally, can go where they want. But the student's years are not forgotten ... By the way, the current Vietnamese ambassador to Russia studied in Buryatia and in conversation with me with obvious pleasure remembered it.
- By the way, do you yourself think in what language - in Buryat or in Russian?
- In Russian, long time ago. Because he was in this environment all the time. Just to our conversation about what and what you have to pay for.
- Do you have to translate from Russian to bureaucrat when you are performing your official duties? You are still a scientist, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor. Politicians and managers have a different vocabulary, much leaner, and a way of thinking. Do you feel such translation difficulties in your daily work?
- Sometimes, I will not dissemble, - yes. Especially when it comes to the vital issues of science, the fate of the nuclear fleet, scientific courts, the reorganization of the Russian Academy of Sciences, etc. I am one representative of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Federation Council. We fight, proving that we can not keep the deep-water Mir machines, which are now in Kaliningrad without work, without work. I myself immigrated to the bottom of Baikal 12 times, managed to make discoveries of world significance - and now there is no money for all ... The ship "Akademik Keldysh" carries tourists. The age of the directors of scientific institutes (people who founded scientific schools and whole directions) suggest limiting and thereby decapitating a fundamental science, where the price is not young "managers", namely coryphaeus, founding fathers. There are too many such spheres on the verge of a catastrophe, where managerial decisions are made by incompetent people. You feel the same bitterness when there is a discussion of strategically important problems - for example, related to Lake Baikal, the development of the Northern Sea Route and many others. Recently we held a meeting on the problems of the Arctic. I ask the question: "Where do you think the southern borders of the Arctic are?" Some respectable figures conduct them along the Arctic Circle, the other - along the border of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Yakutia, the third ... in general, and laughter and sin. Another question: Yakutia and Chukotka - is the Far East or the Arctic? Scales in the back of the head, they think ...
All this, as you know, I have said many times, argued, tried to reach out to the authorities. But all the same I object when I hear: "You will never break it." Experience teaches me that any effort will someday necessarily bear fruit. Just have to repeat them again and again and do not give up.
- And what are you directing your efforts right now?
- I am preparing four bills. One concerns the reorganization of the RAS and the election system of the director of a scientific institution. I believe that it should not be elected by the collective, including watchmen and security guards, namely scientific employees. The second law is on environmental education. I insist that for leaders of all levels it is a mandatory minimum, for which it is necessary to pass an exam - a sort of "illiteracy". The third project relates to the problems of Lake Baikal and its status as a specially protected natural area, the fourth relates to the types of permitted economic activities in such places. At present, Baikal has actually become a hostage to its status - it is impossible to build roads, expand cemeteries, sell your house - in fact people can not live there. And what should they do? They were born here, it's their homeland ... I give an example of Lake Geneva or the Great American Lakes, where nobody formally forbids to build even metallurgical or chemical plants. But there are such norms of ecological safety of production that they protect these reserved places and their unique world better than any direct prohibitions.
Arnold Tulokhonov is a member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, a representative of the executive body of state power of the Republic of Buryatia, a member of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy.
Doctor of Geography, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation. He was director of the Baikal Institute of Environmental Management of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, deputy of the People’s Khural of the Republic of Buryatia of the fourth convocation on a non-permanent basis. From 1998 to the present he heads the branch of the Russian Geographical Society in the Republic of Buryatia. Member of the Supervisory Board of the Fund for the Conservation of Lake Baikal, the problems of which are devoted to many of his scientific works and reports at public and political events.Tulokhonov is the author of the book "Political geography of North Asia in the context of globalization, or How to equip the Russian periphery" (Ulan-Ude, ECOS, 2014), which deals in detail with the political geography of the countries of North Asia, including Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China in within the territory, called the Great Steppe. The history and future of Russia in this work is viewed from the standpoint of the territorial integrity of the state determined by the attitude to economic priorities and structural reforms