May 6th 2009 · Prague Watchdog / German Sadulayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Peace, Labour, May

Peace, Labour, May

By German Sadulayev, special to Prague Watchdog

St. Petersburg

I am definitely influenced by the weather. When it’s cold and damp and rainy I’m overcome by gloomy thoughts. But then the sun comes out, it’s springtime and the birds are singing! I want to live again! And, so as not to spoil one’s mood, one needs to read websites that are cheerful and amusing, like,, or the official website of the President and Government of the Chechen Republic.

Let’s do some reading. First, let’s read about May Day. Chechnya has just marked the Holiday of Spring and Labour. The officially-sponsored demonstrations involved more than 20,000 people in Grozny alone, and across the republic over 55, 000 took part. These were no straggling columns of pensioners in Moscow or evil anarchists in Athens. It was all done a decent, orderly fashion. Here are the photographs: white doves, balloons, schoolgirls looking pretty with hair bows. Just like in my childhood! Hurrah, comrades!

I always used to say that there was no point in kicking up a fuss with the powers that be. On the contrary, when Russia announced that it was separating from the USSR, the right thing to say was: but we’re going to stay in it. We’re not some kind of separatists. Our motherland is the Soviet Union, our address is the Soviet Union. We’re ready to bring Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev to Belgatoy with all the Soviet Union’s archives and government institutions and proclaim our right to all the property of the Soviet Union throughout the world, as the legitimate successors. And if Russia wants to secede from us, we won’t put up a fight – it has a right to do so. All we want are the state industrial enterprises and their branches, please. And if you want, you can rent them back from us. At a reasonable rate.

So let them suffer under capitalism, as they try to overcome the financial and economic crises. We, on the other hand, will march proudly, releasing our balloons into the air and eating ice cream at 20 copecks a throw. A dream! ...

Well, let’s go on dreaming.

Fish farms are being revived in the republic. By 2012 we’ll be catching up to 2,500 tons of fish per year. Those are some fish for you! Such big ones! Pike three metres long! Catfish? They weigh a hundredweight each! You don’t believe it? You don’t believe what a fisherman tells you?

My father laid the groundwork for the fish industry in Shalinsky district. During his tenure as director of a collective farm he dug a pond with an excavator and stocked it with mirror carp. For some reason the carp business didn’t work out. But the pond fitted wonderfully into the local ecosystem. As boys we went there to swim and catch fish with home-made fish rods. I won’t say that we ever caught any mirror carp, but all kinds of gudgeon snapped up our worm-bait! I am sure there were some carp in the pond, but you can’t really catch carp with worm-bait. You need mosquito grubs, or spinning tackle. And where were going to get those?

But we were happy with the gudgeon. Because the main thing is not the result, but the process.

That is also how support for small business works. It, too, is a fascinating process, akin to fishing. The Ministry of Economic Development has allocated more than 67 million rubles to support small businesses in the Chechen Republic. It’s not much money, not enough for spinning tackle and mosquito grubs, of course, but a fishing rod can also be a source of pleasure, and there are plenty of worms.

This money will do a lot of good things. A technopark is opening in Nadterechny district, and in Shali the business incubator program is almost ready. Dal muklakh * I will soon be in Shali, and I’ll be keen to see our business incubator there and all the business chickens it has produced.

If it’s as sunny as this in St. Petersburg now, up here in the north, what must it be like down there at home! Warm! Dry! And all sorts of interesting things are being hatched.

I’m reading a political commentary from the Centre for Strategic Studies of the Chechen Republic. And it says ... but what does it matter what it says? The main thing is that it sounds good! So there’s a Centre for Strategic Studies of the Chechen Republic. It has hatched out! I don’t know what incubator it came from – it looks very much as though the administration’s press centre warmed the egg up with their magic lamps. And now we don’t have a press, but a centre instead. A strategic one! Which concerns itself not with apologetics for the short-term moves of the authorities, but with real research!

I must confess that this gave me an inspiration. I also decided to establish such a centre. How do you like its name: the Centre for Strategic Studies and Conceptual Developments, Political Forecasting and Social Modelling on the Basis of Innovative Methods and Nano-Technologies of the Central Farmstead of the Dzhalka Collective Farm in the City of Shali, Chechen Republic? That sounds quite snazzy, doesn’t it? “Centre” comes into it twice – well that gives it added oomph. Moreover, I will be the director. Director of the Center for Strategic Studies ... and so on further down the text.

Further down the text there is cultural news. The Chechen Drama Theatre has begun a preliminary screening of applicants for admission to the Russian State Institute of Theatrical Arts (GITIS). GITIS has allocated the Chechen Republic three places. Competition for entry to the actors’ training school is traditionally fierce: some forty young men and women are competing for the three student places. In order to demonstrate their talents the budding actors will read aloud prose, poetry and folk tales to the adjudicators.

I think the main thing is to choose the right repertoire. If it’s poetry, for example, then it needs to be the right sort. The useful sort. You can write your own, if you want. Like the inspired slogan on the banners: “Ramzan, you’ve been president only a year – and already our people are full of good cheer!”. A beautiful poem! But a bit outdated. The one I propose is this: “Ramzan, you’ve been president now for three years - and no other people are raising such cheers!”

Damn it, though – mine is not nearly so nice and sincere. It’s cheery enough, but there’s not enough celebration in it. And it doesn’t scan quite as well. However, if you read the poem with feeling and expression – well, what adjudicator could resist?

The main news, of course, is in the sports section. Horses owned by the president were winners in three of the races at Pyatigorsk Racecourse on Saturday. There were thirteen races in all, and 130 horses took part. How many of those horses belonged to the Chechen President is not specified. The names of the horses were Quiet End, Danger (that’s a charger), Tan View and Galtan.

Remember those names. Why? Just for their own sake. They’re beautiful!

Springtime, sunshine, May!

Be happy, dear friends!

*Dal muklakh – God willing (Chech.)


(Translation by DM)

(P, DM)



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