Last weekend, Vyacheslav Shtyrov gave an interview to the republic’s mass media. He talked about why he left the office of the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), what he is going to do, and what he achieved for his 8 years of presidency, and what the next president should do.
Q: Will your future federal activities be related to Yakutia?
A: Where I will work on, will be known, when the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will propose the candidate for the post of the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). This is the first.
Secondly, I want to note that now a lot of different conversations about my resignation are going on. To avoid any misunderstanding, I would say that it was my personal decision, and it didn’t appear just now. Every man has different daily situations that became topical with time.
On the other hand, I have repeatedly said (maybe, not so many paid attentions to my words) that there must be succession. 8 years are a very long term. We have created the system of work, laid the foundation, but nothing has to be eternal. New people must come; the development must go forward, because the new is a must to be in the life.
As for my resignation, I can say that in the mordern history of Russia I am the first governor, who leaves his office independently and voluntarily. Some people try to climb to power holding on to power for 15 or 17 years, each has his/her merits, each has done something, but all eventually looses their significance. I am still a manager, and I know a person must work for a certain time, then leave aside.
Sometimes I found myself thinking that I had no novelty in my current work, and I started to act in a routine way. Maybe, something should be done differently. This is also a crucial motive; this is my approach to the state of affairs.
I had requested the resignation from the President of the Russian Federation, it was Vladimir Putin at that time, but we agreed we had to meet some key challenges, for instance, to intensify the development of oil & gas industries, the work in that field was in full swing.
We were working hard on the South Yakutia development project, and there was the purpose to get the project finally approved and received funding. Then we thought that we had a very difficult situation on the current summer issues that year. So we had an agreement to return to my issue later.
But, as you know, the crisis erupted, and, of course, in those circumstances I did not think possible for myself to raise the issue again. Yet, one way or another, the question was discussed with Vladimir Putin several times.
Now, when crises are mostly over, when with the immense support of the Russian president and government we overpassed hardships more or less successfully (the first quarter of the current year has got even excellent results), I felt it was time to raise the question of my resignation once again.
I will not deny that both, the President and Prime Minister, insisted that I should continue working… I was informed about the exact date of my resignation two weeks prior.
I would say that, perhaps, one good outcome of the last 8 years is that Yakutia has a good reputation. Previously we were thought to be trouble-causing and not serious, but today we have authority, our opinions receive attention. I must admit that sometimes federal ministers asked us to help them solving certain questions. We happened to interact with them very closely, and we keep doing consultations with them. We have no enemies completely and no intrigues against us.
No talks about some opposition leaders inside the republic exist. However, you can see that we have different people, different parties, different viewpoints, there might be some discussions happening among us, but eventually we resolve issues together. I do not see any opposition, which could seriously affect the region.
Many believe that there are some federal intrigues, confrontations. Yes, there are no collisions and intrigues behind my resignation.
Q: You’ve been to all corners of our republic. If look back, what was your major achievement, and what will you remember most of all out of your eight years of presidency in the republic?
A: There are many things of big scale. For example, we have built something, resolved something, but there are also a lot of invisible things.
In the beginning I was bothered with the fact that many of our state-owned and private companies and even entire industries were incapacitated. I spent 2-3 years on that issue, on stabilizing the situation and restructuring entire industries. If you remember, aviation, housing and communal services were facing hardships. Over the years we managed to escape from that despair. I think it was a significant result. We started working systematically and gradually on the development of villages. We eventually stabilized the situation, and people began to feel it.
Invisible things are much more complex and important than many of visible. In terms of new projects, the greatest achievement was the establishment of the Eastern Siberian Federal University (on the basis of Yakutsk State University). Frankly, we had little chances, but we were able to mobilize and prove the future development. We have reached a new fundamental level, hitting the top ten universities in the country, and it is very important. Vice-chancellor is Yevgenia Mikhailova (ex-vice president), she is my companion, comrade, and I really like her style of work, we had always warm personal relations. She is a person of unique efficiency.
Overall I am a very happy person. It was a great luck, that your ideas and plans were finally realized. When I worked in ALROSA (the Mirny-based diamond-mining company), it was also hard time. The company was on the edge of bankruptcy, there were payroll delays. And you know what? Even in that busy working period we always kept inviting architects and officials of Mirny and Lensk for so-called evening discussions. We talked about further development of towns. As result, for instance, we built a sports palace in Mirny and quays in Lensk. Many whispered saying the commander had gone mad. But we all did what we had planned.
When I worked in the construction department of the Yakutsk communism committee, Ivan Pyankov, who was responsible for the town planning, knew exactly how Yakutsk should be developed. When I became the President of Yakutia, we have put the implementation of those plans on a new modern level. And the fact is that the city has been changed, we created fantastic sites like the river-front (embankment), statues, wide roads, etc. That was good as well.
Once I said that the life wouldn’t be enough to destroy all shaggy old wooden houses, but significant changes in this direction happened. And the construction of the railroad to Yakutsk appeared also important.
Q: We can envy the next president of the republic, he will work already on the solid foundation. What wishes to him will you say?
A: I said that the foundation is already solid, but much work to be done ahead anyway. We have created a new oil & gas industry, working on railroads, and all that play an important role in the republic life. But we are still talking about the construction of schools, gasification, further changes in the city of Yakutsk, new buildings of Mirny University. And where will they come from? We have developing economy, new budget incomes, and that is important.
However, we need to create such mechanisms so that our youth enjoyed not only all the fruits of the current development results, but also will be eager to participate in its further development. This task requires entirely new types of solutions, like the creation of the staff stability concept.
There is a complex task that requires serious solutions. We try to maintain the spiritual tone of the republic, and a lot of work has been already done in this direction. We conduct the National Sports Games, Ysyakh, shoot films and movies, support the culture of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and support the Orthodox Church. We maintain the identity of all peoples living on the territory of Yakutia.
Many industrialized and globalized nations start forgetting their culture. When I was in Japan, I met the head of Toyota. He said that they were being Americanized, forgetting the Japanese language. Then I met with the Ex Prime Minister of Japan, he said the same things. He says their women get married late, and men are forced to bring girls from the Philippines so that young people could get married. He repeats their language and culture are gradually disappearing. That is their current mind and mood.
We need to go the other way, to seek new approaches to deal with globalization. It is necessary to transform the national idea into popular culture.
The new leadership of the republic must find industries that would be profitable to the Republic, for example, processing, high technology. It is necessary to complete the creation of new economic zones. We have different conditions than in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We need special support and attitude.
A lot to be done in fact. Life gives new challenges, and they must be taken in new conditions.
By the highest standards, I am grateful to my colleagues. The Administration of the Russian president knows that we have a strong team comparable with the Soviet hockey team formerly called «the red machine.» Such achievement is also worth a lot.