Ramazan Abdulatipov: "Man should see sky above his head and stones under his feet"

The head of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the development of the republic in the economic and the humanitarian spheres.

- It will soon be three years since the start of the import substitution campaign. What successes has Dagestan achieved in the sphere of production during this time?

- The production of more than 70 types of products have been started in Dagestan under the import substitution program. The Kizlyar Electromechanical Plant (KMP), which has increased its output 1.5-2 times in recent years, works very good. The plant of the Dagdizel military-industrial complex and the agricultural production enterprises work actively as well. Over the past three years, we increased production of vegetables in a closed ground by 38 times, about the same situation with the cultivation of fish in pond farms. From the very beginning, my position, like the position of the Prime Minister, was as follows: import substitution is not the release of old, useless products, but the production of competitive products which can be used in our country and in the future be exported. Dagdizel produced torpedoes, more than 80 components for torpedoes were produced in different republics of the former USSR, primarily in Ukraine. When Ukraine closed everything to us, we resumed old, very promising projects, and today there is a production of torpedoes, which are assembled from only Russian components: a great work has been done.

It is still important to understand, and this issue has not yet been resolved, that there is no successful import substitution without capital substitution. We want to attack another hump, but we cannot do it this way, we must use the latest technology. And it requires the reconstruction of enterprises, which implement import substitution programs. We carry out such work at the Kizlyar Electromechanical Plant and Dagdizel. The KMP has built a branch of its plant in Kaspiysk with the most modern equipment. In early 2013, we were supported by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, and military orders for Dagestan increased significantly, which made it possible to hire highly skilled workers, and to restore the design bureau, and so on. If you pass through Dagestan now, you will see that people have began working more actively. It is one of the signs that Russia is reborn.

- Today, very often you can hear voices talking about problems in Islamic education. Young people prefer to travel abroad in search of better education. What measures need to be taken to develop the system of Islamic education in Dagestan and in the region as a whole?

- From the very beginning it was clear that Islamic education should be developed, since the revival of religion has began in the country. For this purpose, I created a spiritual academy in Kaspiysk in 1992 to give people secular and religious education. I went to Egypt, to the famous Islamic University of Al-Azhar, to the University of Alexandria. But, alas, after a year and a half, we ran out of money and we had to dissolve all our students. We did not have any support. There is a reducing number of students-theologians abroad, rather than directly in the Muslim regions. When I arrived in Dagestan, we had 13 Islamic universities, they were even in several large auls, which indicated the rather low quality of the preparation of these people who allegedly received higher education. Together with the Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad-Hadji Abdulaev, we took this issue seriously, revived the spiritual academy, and now it unites seven Muslim universities. We plan to completely unite all the small educational institutions of the republic under its roof. We are ready to train annually about 5 thousand people - it is sufficient potential for Dagestan.

I emphasize: we should simultaneously train people for civil service as well. A big meeting took place recently, and I said to one of the chiefs who conducted it: "We have been talking about this for 20 years. The most important thing is that we are not bothered to talk about this yet. It is high time for us to move from words to deeds. At one time, being a minister of the Russian Federation, I was engaged in the preparation of the concept of the program for the creation of the Russian Islamic University, on the instructions of the chairman of the government Evgeny Primakov. Everything was prepared, but Yevgeny Maksimovich and me resigned, and the project remained on paper. Why do not we deal with our own issues? Who should establish a normal Islamic education, and not only Islamic one? We ourselves must do it: the government, the state, spiritual leaders. There is no solid level and a state approach in this sphere yet. I hope that after this interview we will radically change the attitude towards Islamic education. If we do not pay attention to this issue, the problems will be of long-term nature. The Muslim population is growing at different pace, not the same as in Europe, and we cannot copy Western experience, where Muslims form peculiar enclaves within countries where they are left to themselves and in fact separated from the state. All these aspects must be considered in detail, there is a need to integrate Muslims into Russian society together with Christians and create a single nation, being representatives of different faiths. The work should be conducted at a qualitatively different level - we talk about this, but fundamental changes are not yet taking place. What has been done by the president and all specialists in building national and cultural policy does not find its embodiment in religious matters, and it is very important for the prospects of Russia's development, we should do it.

- In late May, there will be the Congress of the Assembly of Peoples of Eurasia, which will include the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia, which origin was put by you. For what purpose will the new assembly be held, do you plan to participate in it?

- The Assembly of the Peoples of Russia has become quite a powerful organization. Today I am leaving for a meeting of the Assembly of Peoples of Tatarstan, which was created by Mintimer Shaimiev, Farid Mukhametshin and Rustam Minnikhanov; I also took part in its creation. It was not easy. When I arrived in Bashkortostan, Murtaza Gubaidullovich Rakhimov responded with regard to my proposal to create a people's assembly: "Leave, do not raise these issues, we have enough problems without it." I left. After a while he calls me: "We are waiting for the President, let's realize you idea." We urgently organized the Assembly of Peoples of Bashkortostan, and one of the first meetings of the President was in Ufa, with representatives of this organization. That is, the President showed that it is important and necessary. Nursultan Nazarbayev became the head of such an organization in Kazakhstan, Askar Akayev - in Kyrgyzstan, and they made very good progress along this path. At a certain stage, when we were left without the Ministry for Nationalities, the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia, in fact, performed the functions of this state body. We have launched many programs, the famous poet David Nikitich Kugultinov was our commissioner for the affairs of nationalities of the Russian Federation. This state institution developed quite actively.

The fact that it is necessary to expand the space of peoples and communities does not cause any doubts - but I would categorically oppose if the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia was fully integrated, disappearing and merging with the Assemblies of Eurasia and Europe. In this case they could replace the Assembly of Nations of the World with the UN General Assembly. After all, everyone need to deal with his own issues. I had hundreds of temptations about the General Assembly, about its name, about uniting it, but I resisted, and we saved our face. In general, I support this movement, but it should not lose its face, should lose its main course, the tasks that we must solve, while at the same time promoting these issues at a higher level. I am one of the leaders of the Spiritual Peace Forum, together with Iosif Davidovich Kobzon. We jointly held events, now Joseph Davidovich needs to go somewhere, and I was asked to address the forum. I do not even know in what role I should do it: as an honorary chairman of the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia, or as a head of a multinational Dagestan, or as one of the leaders of the Spiritual Forum? It is a difficult task, and the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia has the same task. Therefore, I am against merging with someone, another thing is to be one of the founders and organizers. First of all, we need to strengthen peace and tranquility in our family, our region, our country. When we solve all the problems at this level, we can move on to solving problems of a different order - Eurasia, the CIS, the post-Soviet space, and so on. I am a philosopher, I love the old truth, which reads: "A man should see starry skies, but also feel and see the stones under his feet."

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