Is the 2000th anniversary of Derbent a detonator of Dagestan’s reboot?

Is the 2000th anniversary of Derbent a detonator of Dagestan’s reboot?

Musa Akhmetov, independent expert, especially for Vestnik Kavkaza

The capital of southern Dagestan is probably one of the most visited cities of the North Caucasus by ambassador Sergey Melikov. And it is not because such a high-ranking officer very much likes to visit the territory of this pearl of the Caspian. The Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of Russia to the North Caucasus Federal District comes here to work.

Revisiting Derbent in early April, Sergei Melikov was not limited to a demonstration of dissatisfaction with the pace of preparation for the anniversary activities and applicable regulations. At a meeting held in the City District Administration, which was chaired by the authorized representative, local and national officials will be remembered for a long time. Melikov put their work under such harsh criticism that the importance and arrogance of many captains of the men fell away, and probably for a long time. They were seated under the burning questions of the envoy, saying  something and sweating, hoping only that the storm, the charges, were about to fade away, and everything would  remain the same. Vain hopes.

The content and the results of that meeting were discussed in detail in the press, so there is no need to unpick them. We only recall that, in the context of high-profile correlations and decision-makers, on the extent of the preparations for the holiday, Melikov repeatedly bothered to visit a regional clinic,  homes, and various objects and utilities of Derbent. He saw there that for decades the local bosses and their regional leaders "did not notice" the following problems: heating with old heaters in healthcare facilities, and disruption of water, sanitation, and  streets steeped in a litter and dirt, and the dilapidated state of social facilities. This is despite letters of complaints from citizens which arrived at the relevant departments continuously.

The paradox is that to conduct the anniversary celebrations in a truly beautiful city, full worthy of attention (and bring officials to the deplorable state), while pretending that everything is fine,is just immoral. Gloss cannot mask the underlying problems. And who could be deceived by this showcase? People who know the native Derbent up to their fingertips? Or guests for an hour? But other guests will come next time, and leaf gilding of emergency efforts come to nothing, revealing even more the problems that were hidden but did not disappear.

However, it is possible to perform all the scheduled works. The celebrations of the anniversary of Derbent were established by decree of the President of Russia. And it will be implemented in full. Without any discussions.

The main works in preparations for the holiday are assigned to the Directorate of the Civil Code RD "Derbent-2000" (beautification of parks and gardens, the development of road and street networks, reconstruction of regional and municipal property, etc.), which was specially created by the government of the republic two years ago for this purpose. All funding issues are also done through this organization. But does this make municipalities  exempt from the current work on the improvement of the city infrastructure and bringing it to an adequate state? It does not. And this should not be forgotten.

Yes, the guests who come to participate in the festivities will certainly admire the citadel of Naryn-Kala, and the ancient temples, and the Caspian Sea, and the fortress walls ... And then what to do with them? Do not allow them on the streets, where there is no running water, where there are emergency buildings, littered neighborhoods, decay and desolation? Put other people in the troubled areas of the city, to guide lost tourists in the right direction? "Hey, guys! Do not go there - here you go. And whoever gets a brick in their gob's just dead!"

Anyway, saying that things are still out there would be unfair. The city is still changing for the better. For example, since April 14, thanks to the commissioning of two-reservoir tanks at the lower part of Derbent, the water supply scheme in the area has improved. Work in this direction continues.

In the Derbent clinic, criticized by Sergey Melikov, repair works have begun. We are planning to replace the heating system. The Health Ministry of Dagestan confirmed the information about rough restructuring in several medical institutions of Derbent. "A large amount of repair works was conducted in the clinic down Buynakskiy Street. As for the clinic on Pushkin Street, repair works there will start in several days. Design and construction documents have already been prepared," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health of Dagestan Zarina Agmadova explained.

Also, it is planned to reconstruct the roof, facade, windows, doors, part of interior of the Derbent railway station, whose poor state was noted by the envoy Melikov. The company Russian Railways, is in charge of this object, it has allocated 16.5 million rubles for major repairs. Works should be completed by August 30.

On Saturday, April 18, the head of the Cabinet of the RD Abdusamad Hamidov visited Derbent, he became acquainted with the state of some facilities, including the park of Military Glory, where a large-scale reconstruction is being carried out. Later, the head of the republic's government held a meeting of the working group for the preparationS for and celebrations of the 2000th anniversary of the founding of the city in City Hall. The progress of work on the restoration of the road network was discussed.

It is noted that since April 27 the first layer of asphalt on the main streets of the city will be laid. Measures for improvement of sidewalks, planting trees, and repairing the facade of buildings have already been completed. The second layer of asphalt will be laid in May, in the most favorable weather conditions. "Reconstruction of Military Glory Park and seven central streets will be completed by May 1," the head of the Civil Code of RD "Derbent - 2000", Ali Nurmagomedov, who participated in the meeting, assured.

Abdusamad Hamidov also stressed a very important point: the municipal government cannot do anything without the active help of townspeople and all those involved in the preparations for the celebration. "We all need to come together and provide the necessary support for the city. Our goal is to hold the anniversary of Derbent at the highest organizational level," he said. And I must say that citizens, on the same day, showed a complete willingness to help their small homeland.

That same day, April 18, Derbent hosted another Sabbatarian, which became the most popular of all preparations for the holiday. Hundreds of activists were engaged in clearing the tracks of sand and dust, lawn preparations for planting trees and shrubs, cleaning and removal of construction debris in the park of Military Glory. Students of most city’s schools worked here, youth administration, youth parliament, the volunteer group 'Green Patrol', groups of the city administration and its subordinate organizations, as well as guests – representatives of youth administration and youth council of Kizlyar.

The participation of citizens in the life of their hometown manifests itself in other forms. For example, the Public Council for the supervision of public utilities in Derbent has already been created, its first meeting was held on April 14. It was attended by the acting head of the city administration, Azad Rahimov, and the chairman of the Public Chamber of the city, Vladimir Krylov.

"I hope that members of the created council on the monitoring of the activities of this structure, who have great experience, will help the administration in addressing issues related to housing and communal services," the head of the administration of Derbent said.

And officials have begun to move! But let's be objective: it would problematic to achieve such results if it wasn’t for the tough and principled position of the leadership of the Federal District.

Thus, the preparations for the anniversary of Derbent became a kind of detonator that may have led to the beginning of a reboot not only of Derbent life, but also of all the republican government system. The Jubilee spurt demonstrated the inability or unwillingness of some representatives of the Dagestani authorities at various levels to work in accordance with the requirements of the moment. The alternative is the following: readjust or leave. Whether this will become a breakthrough in a long-term fruitful marathon, the coming months will show.

The federal government, represented by the authorized representative of the president, Sergey Melikov, outlined their demands quite clearly: imitation activities, sabotage, the pursuit of selfish interests in the performance of public tasks – it will not work. Don’t even try.

Probably, if there was no anniversary of Derbent, it should have been invented. The fact that officials are strenuously sweating right now is not bad at all. This process can be called the beginning of the realization of social justice: not the people for the government, but the government for the people. The more the officials "get", the more people will get. In the second case - without the quotation marks.

It is time to recognize those who imagine themselves to be local or regional "warlords" and "czars": the anniversary of Derbent is not a military campaign. This is a long-term trend. It absolutely will be shown in other areas of the country – at other occasions. Such a time has come in the North Caucasus.