Ramazan Abdulatipov: "One should never seek revenge on history"

Ramazan Abdulatipov: "One should never seek revenge on history"

The head of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about understanding the nature of a nation as a whole and the Russian nation in particular, as well as about those factors ensuring its unity, in the first place - the preservation of historical memory.

- Hello, Ramazan Gadzhimuradovich! Just yesterday the scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences formulated the definition of the 'Russian nation'. You are a major specialist in the field of interethnic relations. What do you think about this term?

- Is it necessary to define the concept of 'Russian nation' in general? We already have the concepts of a nation: an ethnic nation and a civil nation, many scientists, experts and politicians have written about this since the 19th century. In 2003, I published a monograph in 30 printed sheets, which was my first work devoted to the problems of the Russian nation. The title given in parentheses said: the ethnic and civic identity of Russians - as for the Russian nation, it is very important that it is not just a civil nation, but at the same time it combines the ethnic diversity of different peoples - Russian and many others, who have historically made up the multinational people of the Russian Federation. The article by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin published in 2012 and entitled 'Russia: The National Question' was also the good basis for answering the question - the first publication of such a level for the whole century after Stalin's theoretical work 'Marxism and the National Question', published back in 1913. Since then, no one of the leaders of this rank have published a work devoted to the national question, because, as a rule, they are afraid of this question, since they have a question, but they could not give a normal answer to satisfy both the most numerous people and the smallest one.

Regardless of the size, each of the peoples is a historical and cultural phenomenon, a bearer of traditions. A nation is an experience of social, political, cultural life of citizens, people. Consequently, in modern conditions, if we talk about the Russian nation, first of all, it is a civil nation. According to the article of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, however, for some reason few people drew attention to it, although it was the basic point of his article, the modern national policy should be based on the principles of civil patriotism - not ethnic or even multinational, but civil, because a civil nation is the highest level of the formation of the socio-political community. In this case, the cultural basis for such a nation is mainly created by ethnic nations - historically, it's the Russian people, the Tatar people, the peoples of the Caucasus and so on. A civil nation presupposes a common territory, a common statehood, a common citizenship, a common culture and state language, common symbols and common meanings of social, political and cultural life.

That is, a nation is a three-dimensional concept. Of course, you can define a separate concept to specify what I'm talking about, but in this case the Russian nation is a complex understanding of the history of our country and our homeland, and not just a term. From the very beginning, I was surprised by the offer of my friend and teacher Vyacheslav Aleksandrovich Mikhailov, who proposed to create a law on the Russian nation. Nobody creates laws about love, about happiness, about truth, and the nation term combines all these concepts, building the social and cultural being of people and societies at the same time. I think it is not necessary - we need to develop themselves, strengthen civil and cultural identity, find our ideals and common meanings in joint activities, be very careful in relation to each other, towards our compatriots, not to insult or humiliate people, but strengthen our community. The process of nation-building historically continues.

One interesting person of the 20th century wrote: a nation is a complimentary community. That is, when you are talking to another person in one language, you compliment each other. When you both observe the same rites and traditions, you make compliments to each other. When you admire the common heroes, you compliment each other. Therefore, all Russians, regardless of nationality and population, must learn to compliment each other. Then others will compliment the Russian nation as representatives of one civil nation - Russian citizens.

- A nation is also a common history. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the falsification of history, noting the negative impact of such attempts on youth. Given your tremendous managerial experience, what methods should be used to promote an adequate perception of historical events, in particular, such an important and memorable date for us as May 9?

- Historians say that an eyewitness lies the most. I was a direct participant in the events of the early 1990s in Moscow, shooting at the parliament building, various coups that we had, and when I read how it is described in different books, textbooks, then I see that everyone writes about itin his own way. At what point did he see this, what was his role in it? Even if a person played an inferior role in one or another event, he will never write in his memoirs that he was the worst, he will write that he was the center of the movement to progress and so on. Preserving the historical past in undistorted form is a very difficult task, and I believe that representatives of one nation simply have to negotiate with each other. There is no need for endless mutual overthrows and accusations. We will not have another story, it is as it is. There must be a collective responsibility, without which the nation does not exist, and if there is one, then there will be common meanings, and we will learn to accept our history.

Every time we torture our history, we seek revenge on history. It is silly. In the history of Russia there are almost no statesmen who would not have been humiliated or insulted. This is no way to treat history. In Dagestan, we try not to overthrow the figures of the past. Of course, these are difficult issues, but one must be wiser and tolerant, including in relation to history. Just think: 177 years have passed after one of the main battles of the Caucasian war - on Mount Akhulgo, 155 years - after the end of the Caucasian War. We used to live in different states, but now we live together for already 200 years. We forgave the Tatar-Mongols, both Iranian Shahs and the Ottoman Sultans, forgave all of them - but we did not forgive each other, and we are still excelling, overthrowing each other, asking what role was played by Yermolov, what role was played by Imam Shamil, what role was played by Vorontsov, Baryatinsky. Each played its historical role. Are we allowed to brand a Russian soldier sent to the Caucasus by a tsar who fought and died on these stone slopes? He fought for his truth. Are we allowed to blame the mountaineers who defended their rocky peaks? They had their own truth. Since we have been living together for 200 years, we should have a common truth, which would be respectful to those who died then on both sides. How can we say that we are civilized and cultured people, if we have not put a single memorial dedicated to the victims of the Caucasian war for 155 years? Some boast that Muslims, the latter - that Christians, but no one did it. And memory is a culture, first of all.

After consultations with authoritative people, spiritual leaders and public figures, we built in our mountains a 'Memorial of a common memory and a common destiny' - it is difficult to find a better name. At the same time, there were people in Dagestan and Moscow who named me almost an enemy of the people. When I came to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and started proving him the necessity of such work, the president stopped me, asking: "Ramazan Gadzhimuradovich, why are you trying to convince me?" I say: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, a lot of people do not want to understand these things, they do not want to engage in reconciliation." He replies: "You should not convince me, you did what had to be done a long time ago." We need to open memorials and continue the reconciliation process, so it could become part of our culture. Otherwise, we have what we have: there is another 'revolution', another 'coup' in Moscow or on the ground, and in parallel they start  a new Caucasian war in their heads. It was in the 90s. We should avoid it. One should never seek revenge on history. A cultural man differs from an ignorant one because he respects his past and the past of other nations. I graduated from the Faculty of History and always wondered why the great conquerors are considered the greatest heroes? The more a person captured, the more he is a hero: Genghis Khan is a hero, Tamerlane is a hero, Nader Shah is a hero, Napoleon is a hero ... What is this logic about? We need to move from the history of wars to the history of culture, the history of reconciliation, decency and mutual respect. We still teach our children the history of wars in a greater degree than the history of the world, and we are almost standing on the verge of the Third World War.

- What is your attitude to the public initiative 'Immortal Regiment'? How does it resonate with your personal family history?

- The idea of ​'Immortal Regiment' was born in the very first days after the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. It existed in the Soviet Union in different versions, starting from the 'Young Pathfinders' and ending with the Zarnitsa game for children. Because the main law of development of a mankind, a country, a nation is the law of succession. The people exist if the present generation is able to convey the heritage of their ancestors to after them. Our generation is very bad in this task. I often thought about it. When in 1995 I came to Sevastopol to meet with my father's brother-soldiers on the occasion of the the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War (my father was on those hills, defended Sevastopol, was wounded twice and commissated), I went on stage and told the veterans: "I will tell you the thing which a son has no right to speak. I am glad that my father is not alive today." My father died in 1991, and if he was alive, as a statesman I could not explain to him why the land for which he shed his blood is not ours anymore. When I became the rector of the university, on May 9 I "revived" my old idea that we should go out with portraits of our fathers and grandfathers. We went out with students, my children and nephews all together - as heirs of the Great Victory. It became clear that with the number of bearers of the ideas of the Great Victory and the memory of should be less every year, but on the contrary - rise. A year later we held the same parade in Khimki. Next year, I already had to go "to Moscow" with this campaign, there were agreements with Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov, but since I became a deputy, the actions stopped, but the 'Immortal Regiment' movement was born, in which dozens and hundreds of similar events united. So it is a nationwide will. Of course, the most important thing is that it was supported by the President of Russia, who did not stay aside, took a portrait of his father and joined others.

That's what a nation is: when the idea unites everyone as members of the nation, starting from a small child and ending with a President. Therefore, we conduct a large work on patriotic education, strengthening the unity of the Russian nation. It is a sacred story, the history of the winners. As the president teaches, we should be winners, not complain that "something is missing, somebody is doing something wrong". My principle in Dagestan is to do something every day, and try to do it better than everyone else. That is why Dagestan is gradually reviving: it was almost in the last places among Russia's regions for a variety of indicators, but following the results of 2016 it came out on top in the index of industrial development, did not allow the decline in agricultural production, raised 5 billion rubles more taxes than in 2015, saved another 5 billion rubles on officials. We must work on a daily basis, we must return our people to productive labor. Except for the President, probably, most of us work very sluggishly and slowly, projects are coordinated for 5 years, ideas and technologies become obsolete during this period. We need to harness faster and drive faster. In our mountains they say: "While the one who is sitting will get up, the one who has already risen will pass the mountain." We need to realize the need for better, more efficient work for ourselves and for the country.