Posted 27 января, 09:48

Published 27 января, 09:48

Modified 27 января, 11:25

Updated 27 января, 11:25

How to build ethnofeudalism. Afterword on the death of Murtaza Rakhimov

How to build ethnofeudalism. Afterword on the death of Murtaza Rakhimov

27 января 2023, 09:48
The first president of Bashkortostan left a very ambiguous memory of his governing, the fruits of which the republic is still sorting out.

As you know, on January 11, the first president of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov died in Ufa. His death would certainly have gone unnoticed by the rest of Russia if Putin had not flown to the funeral.

Journalists of the Bashkir online publication in their material, they tried to answer the question why Rakhimov was so quickly forgotten, and, for example, his neighbor, the first president of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, is still remembered and respected. But they began to build their careers in similar circumstances, and were often guided in their decisions by the same motives. But Shaimiev, perhaps the only veteran of the Yeltsin era, is still respected, and Rakhimov is remembered only in connection with his son Ural, who is hiding from Russian justice abroad. The journalists of the publication write that Rakhimov's biography is not only the story of one worker from the autonomous Republic of the RSFSR, who, having climbed the party—apparatus ladder, then successfully converted it into the status of a regional post-Soviet ethnofeudal. This is also one of the many examples of how much depends on "little things and details" in the destinies of people and entire regions.

Rakhimov, in their opinion, was distinguished by a complex character and a totalitarian leadership style. Having such qualities, it is difficult to make many friends. His authoritarianism is rooted in his work experience in production. After all, he patiently went a long way from a small manager to the director of the Ufa oil refinery, and even received higher education only at the age of 30. Moreover, he joined the CPSU only at the age of 40 to continue his career growth. And only with the collapse of the USSR, waiting in the wings, began a political career. Which, however, almost immediately ended, after Rakhimov (as well as Shaimiev, however) supported the State Emergency Committee in the rank of speaker of the regional parliament. However, they defected in time to Yeltsin's camp, who forgave them.

In 1993, during a severe political crisis, when Chechnya was actually separating from Russia, both Rakhimov and Shaimiev also began to preach separatism: an economic policy independent of Russia, a drastic reduction in tax deductions to the federal budget, and even an independent international policy.

How Rakhimov lost to Shaimiev

However, Rakhimov was afraid of his own courage in time and was the first to sign an Agreement with Moscow on the delimitation of powers, while Shaimiev did not do it right away.

But after signing, both of them gained enormous power in their republics, even controlling the security forces and becoming practically inviolable. But they also help Yeltsin win the second round of the 1996 presidential election. Until 2000, their position continued to strengthen at the federal level, but with the arrival of Putin, everything changes, and they, having lost their seats in the Federation Council under the new law, turn into regional ethnofeudals.

However, now they have to negotiate with Moscow to stay in their posts. Society is already tired of them, waiting for their resignation, but so far they are profitable for Moscow. For the time being. Everything is changed by the relatively liberal policy of President Medvedev, who dismissed the leaders of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

"Rakhimov met the end of the zero years with extremely low support of the population, for whom the gap in the standard of living in Bashkiria and Tatarstan became obvious and sick. Shaimiev was able to bargain with Putin for large financial injections into the republic. Rakhimov was still thinking in the agrarian-industrial paradigm. As a result, by 2010 Bashkortostan, which in Soviet times was second only to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in terms of industrial development, had missed a lot . . ."

If Kazan, thanks to Shaimiev's ability to change the paradigm of politics, becomes the third capital of Russia, then Bashkortostan is unsuccessfully trailing behind its neighbors.

Moreover, Shaimiev, who resigned a little earlier than Rakhimov, managed to find an adequate replacement for himself, while his neighbor did not: all his candidacies were rejected by the Kremlin.

"It is obvious that according to the Hamburg account, Rakhimov lost the media confrontation with Shaimiev. The latter regularly meets with Putin — this gets on the pages of the federal media. Even Bashkir publications ignore Rakhimov..."

After his resignation, his son Ural remains in sight, along with Shaimiev's sons, who is included in the lists of the richest people in the country as a dollar billionaire. Alas, almost immediately the new head of the republic Khamitov conducts an audit of the fuel and energy complex and a criminal case is initiated against the Urals on charges of legalizing illegally obtained funds and embezzlement on a particularly large scale. But he has already fled to Austria, and now, despite Russia's requests for extradition, this country does not extradite the Urals, seeing political motives in his persecution. He couldn't even fly to his father's funeral.

The wars for Rakhimov's legacy are still going on

Political scientist Ivan Preobrazhensky evaluates the era of Murtaza Rakhimov in his channel:


"Even at the collapse of the USSR, Rakhimov sat down with his dense, strong fifth point on Bashkortostan, and no one could move him. He gradually destroyed any dissent and opposition in the republic.

Under him, the authorities of Bashkortostan were a testing ground for technologies to retain power, falsify elections and suppress dissent. (...)

It was Rakhimov, when such outright falsifications had not yet become fashionable, who was caught printing the second edition of ballots for the Bashkir presidential election. (...) Those who caught him lost their posts, or even died suddenly. (...) Wars for his inheritance are still going on. We can recall the deprivation of Bashneft and the environmental protests over the chalk mountains (shikhanov), which ended with the nationalization of the Bashkir Soda Company.

Rakhimov was destroying the sprouts of democracy at the root

Political scientist Dmitry Mikhaylichenko is sure that Rakhimov personally launched the development of his republic according to the feudal "Turkmen version":


"The death of the iconic figure of the era of the "parade of sovereignties" of ex-President of Bashkiria Murtaza Rakhimov at the age of 88 is an occasion to speculate about the trajectory of the development of public administration in Russia. (...)

Much has been written about the dangerous trend of Russia's over-centralization, which is characterized by an asymmetric concentration of resources: the capitals are swollen with resources, and the regions are poor. However, in the era of the "parade of sovereignties" there was no over–centralization, but there was also no healthy balance of power in relation to the "Center - Regions".

The thing is that people like Rakhimov actively etched out local self-government, small sprouts of democratization of society were destroyed in the bud, and elections were held in the Turkmen way.

There was no society and its interests in the "Center – Regions" confrontation: as a consequence, the centralized or regionalized outcome of this process had its own peculiarities, but, in fact, it equally ignored the basic interests of society and its claims to political subjectivity. However, now there is almost no talk about this subjectivity, and the opinion about the apolitical nature of Russian society is well established.

(...) Both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan are regions with a strong oil industry, but the Tatarstan elites managed to keep it in their hands, and the huge fuel and energy complex of Bashkiria passed into the hands of Rakhimov's son - the Urals, which was later, quite quickly, taken away from him. This son is now basking in luxury in Austria... (...)

The dialectic of Center–Regions relations in Russia is such that a new regionalization is quite likely in the future 5-10 years, but without local self-government and civil society institutions, it is unfortunately doomed to the formation of new regional autocracies and semi-feudal state structures..."