Ramazan Abdulatipov: a year in Dagestan
By Vestnik Kavkaza
In late January 2013 Ramazan Abdulatipov was appointed the active head of Dagestan, and in autumn the local parliament voted for him in an election.
A year of work as the head of a troublesome republic is not much, but Abdulatipov has already summed up the first achievements. According to him, “Dagestan 2014 is radically different from Dagestan at the beginning of 2013, and I hope it changed for the better. During this time, the most important thing is the restored public confidence in the government.”
During the year an analysis of various sectors of the economy and culture was carried out. “The result is terrifying,” Abdulatipov says. “In fact, there was no functional development institution in the country. The institutions that existed had lost all credit, including the government of the Republic of Dagestan.”
The sources of development had been actually destroyed, gas and oil production reduced drastically. All structures, starting with the fishing port, had been destroyed, the head of Dagestan stated.
He recalled the story with the “Dagestani” USE. “The Universal State Exam was passed in 2012 with thousands of violations, as a result of which I had to fire some heads of departments of public education in municipalities, and dozens of school principals, that is, actually, the field of education was also brought up to scratch. 62 branches of different universities from Moscow, Leningrad, and so on, that operated here, had turned into booths selling diplomas. The prosecutor's office undertook a detailed inspection, and we came to the conclusion that more than 10-12 branches cannot continue to operate in Dagestan.”
Abdulatipov pointed out several achievements of the last year: construction of schools, communications, development of agriculture, and a halt to competition between two Dagestani oligarchs. “Now the work of Suleiman Kerimov with the "Nafta Group," and Ziyavudin Magomedov with the "Summa Group" has been activated. Moreover, for the first time we have managed to sign an agreement between them on the reconstruction of Makhachkala Seaport,” Abdulatipov said.
As for the security sphere, the head of the republic stated that “2013 marked very successful operations to eliminate a number of gangs that for years ruled in Dagestan, starting with the group of Haji Dadaev. And as people said before, these fighters are related to a variety of people, including those who were in power. The work is done to minimize the terrorist threat from Dagestan. But this work should be continued not only in Dagestan, but also throughout the country, because in the meantime a lot of gangs have moved to different regions.”
As for international cooperation there are successes as well. In late December Abdulatipov visited Azerbaijan. He told Vestnik Kavkaza that when he became the head of the republic, he found out that economic and cultural contacts with Azerbaijan were at the ground level. “However, historically we were interrelated, we even repeatedly belonged to the same one empire. So I attached great importance to it. We met a very friendly welcome from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He agreed with our many proposals for cooperation including in the spheres of education and science.” Abdulatipov reminded about his initiative to name one of the streets of Derbent after Heydar Aliyev: “This was not done for political purposes. I believe that Heydar Aliyev was one of my teachers in politics. I communicated with him closely. And Ilham Aliyev knows this too. Therefore, we hope that this cooperation will expand. Currently our government delegation and parliamentary delegation are going to Azerbaijan for the development of specific projects of our interaction. I very much hope that this will be an active economic and cultural cooperation, and I hope for understanding on the part of Moscow, too, I mean the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others, for support of the intensification of these relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan. And not only with Azerbaijan, but also with many other states which are in this region.”