Beksultan Buzurtanov: "Ingushetia banks on development of human capital"
Ingushetia and Russia are marking the 245th anniversary of their unification this year. The republic will be highlighted in the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council of Russia for a month in the context of the anniversary. Ingush Minister of Economic Development Beksultan Buzurtanov told Vestnik Kavkaza about the progress of the republic in economics, commerce, industry and foreign affairs.
- This year Ingushetia has been ranked among the top three leaders in terms of the rate of industrial development in Russia. Tell us, how has such success been achieved?
- First of all, I must say that our republic is the youngest in Russia, apart from Crimea and Sevastopol, which have recently reunited with Russia. Naturally, certain problems accrued throughout previous periods, but the development rate of the republic has greatly intensified lately. This is also an achievement of the federal center, which has supported a set of federal purpose programs of Ingushetia. Modern industries, the Polimet Factory, industry of products from fish skin, processing of fish skin using new technologies, have also appeared. Soon, we plan to launch a factory producing Korean Daewoo buses.
But we have experienced the full impact of the crisis, just as the rest of the country. In Chinese, the word 'crisis' consists of two hieroglyphs: 'nadir, pit, trouble' and 'opportunity'. We regard the crisis as a chance to fill certain niches in the Russian market, niches that used to be taken by Western companies. First of all, this concerns the production and processing of agricultural products. The hallmark distinguishing Ingushetia from other regions of Russia is our limited resources, and we, unlike other regions of Russia, are rising demographically.
We are a young republic, the average age of the population is 28 and a half years. At the same time, we have one of the highest lifespans in Russia, 78 years. That is why we bank on the development of our human potential. We are a region capable of breeding many talented, smart and professional patriotic people of Russia as a whole, and our people work all over Russia. Lads who graduated during the pre-reformed Russia, after the crash of the Union, graduated from schools, matriculated in institutes. In the scientific field, in the medical field, in sports. We hope that this trend will continue, we will take a worthy place in sport in the Russian Federation and support the Russian state in the country and on the international arena.
- How has Ingushetia responded to the import-substitution policy started by the Russian government after adoption of anti-Russian sanctions by the West?
- Concerning import substitution, it consists of two courses. We have unique climatic and agroclimatic conditions in Russia, this is import substitution in the sector of food security of Russia. We have a project: gardens of intensive technologies in Bratsevskoye. Last year we collected the first apple harvest. We are now planting plums, apricots, cherries and peach trees.
The second course the launch of a canning factory, which will provide the population of the republic and other regions with canned food.
Tourism is somewhat import substitution. We are actively developing and putting stakes on the tourism cluster. We have unique environmental conditions, unique monuments of ancient architecture. Russia has enormous potential of domestic tourism. Russia has all the miracles of the plants and nature you can see without going abroad.
We are also developing innovative, modern production and technologies. We are currently negotiating with the MEPhI engineering center, it is one of the best, in my opinion, platforms in Russia, uniting young scientists specialized in creating industries, innovative, modern products. We hope that a set of industries will be opened in Ingushetia.
- Today, Russia is actively developing the Russian-Chinese relations. Does Ingushetia have joint economic projects with China?
- Delegations from China have visited Ingushetia several times. A road map has been outlined, an action plan for development of Chinese-Ingushetian cooperation. This implies cooperation in the sector of modern technologies in oil extraction. Oil extraction in Ingushetia has been ongoing for over 100 years. And, naturally, the all the best fields have been exhausted. That is why we need advanced technologies for production. The second course is discussions of formation of factories for ginseng production, growing of ginseng in Russia. It implies establishment of a commercial and logistical center to sell technological equipment for small and medium-sized business. In general, the specter of outstanding goals in cooperation with China is very broad.
Our second strategic partner is Turkey. A delegation from Turkey has recently paid a visit, the association of Russian-Turkish business paid a visit. It is interested in developing cooperation in the sphere of construction materials. But we and China, and Turkey, all other partners that may emerge from abroad, focus on developing modern technologies, innovative products that will have demand in Ingushetia and all Russia's South and Russia as a whole.
- How advanced is cooperation of Ingushetia with countries of the South Caucasus?
- We are historically bound to the countries. In the city of Malgobek, we have an alley named after Heydar Aliyev. The Azerbaijani side is greatly interested in us too. We need to note that, although the historical process split us into different countries, we have used products grown in Azerbaijan in the production of agricultural products between seasons. Membrillo, for instance, grows poorly here, while they have industrial volumes. We have outlined opportunities for cooperation with Georgia and Armenia. The process there is getting worse, because we have no common borders with Armenia, we have certain problems with Georgia that have lately been appearing in the relations between our two states. Nonetheless, they are our fraternal nations, we fought in the Second World War, the Great Patriotic War together. I think that all the ordeals, the political confusions will be left behind, and we will cooperate for the well-being of our countries.