President Minnikhanov's Style: 10 key features
The personality of the first person is always reflected in the style of his leadership, approaches, priorities. Rustam Minnikhanov, having taken the helm of the republic in 2010, set a number of new trends that were not peculiar to our political and business elite before. Some of them have become so commonplace that they may even raise the question: “Wasn't it before?", some have been picked up and widely replicated by the “vertical” of power. For the birthday — the personal holiday of the president of Tatarstan — Realnoe Vremya identified the main key features of the corporate identity of Minnikhanov, as well as traditions and “features” that he introduced.
1. Ability to find an optimal solution at lightning speed
It is difficult to catch Rustam Minnikhanov by surprise. He can practically answer any difficult question just-in-time or identify solutions without delaying execution. The rich experience of a business executive, immersion in many problems allow him to quickly assess the situation in almost any field of activity and find the optimal solution for even the most complex and specific problems.
The head of the republic does not shy away from asking an interlocutor or a critic: “What would you do?", he generally listens to the opinion of professionals.
2. He does not waste time in vain
Another quality of Minnikhanov that distinguishes him as a leader is the ability to organise his time in such a way that, despite a very busy work schedule, he manages everything and not a single minute is wasted. He doesn't like long meetings and long speeches. While still working as the head of the Vysokorgsky district, he spent 5-10 minutes on planning meetings. Even after becoming president, he holds republican meetings in 40 minutes. He does not tolerate lengthy rants from subordinates, demanding brief answers on the essence of the problem to immediately give instructions.
His working day starts earlier than usual. “About daily routine: there are morning persons and not. I like to start work early. In the morning, it's somehow freer, and so it's more efficient to organise work. While everyone is sleeping, we need to have time to solve some issues," he shared at a meeting with young people.
Minnikhanov never goes on business trips alone, but always takes a delegation, which includes ministers, heads of enterprises, specialists, staff members, and so on. Thus, along with Sobyanin and Kadyrov, he is one of the three heads of the constituent entities of the federation who move in a large team. Moreover, the head of Chechnya in this case adopted this experience from the “elder brother”, as he calls the president of Tatarstan.
This is explained by that the programme of visits is quite extensive, and each member of the delegation oversees a particular direction, is competent in some area, and can also quickly and accurately fulfill any instructions of the president. And of course, it is important to get acquainted with new experience and adopt it.
4. Cabinet in the Government House
Having headed the republic, Rustam Minnikhanov did not move to the Governor's Palace — the official residence of the President of Tatarstan, preferring to stay in his “prime minister's” office in the Government House on Ploschad Svobody. So far, in the Kazan Kremlin, he receives only state leaders and holds talks with high-ranking foreign guests.
Perhaps, this decision is connected with habit and convenience — he has the entire apparatus and most of the ministries, as they say, “at hand.”
5. Working Saturdays
“On Saturday — to work!” — this slogan has long become familiar to Tatarstan top officials. Before, few of them managed to use the first day off for personal purposes, and with the arrival of Minnikhanov, Saturday officially ceased to be the “red day” of the calendar.
Usually, two or even three meetings are held on these days: republican via videoconferencing on various socio-economic issues, “housing” and, if necessary, on current topics. If in the first years of Minnikhanov's presidency these meetings were open to the media and the curious, then since October 2013 their live broadcast has been stopped. Observers explained this by that conversations at “subbotniks” are frank and unpleasant for some managers, so they preferred to discuss problems behind closed doors.
6. International economic relations
The working schedule of Rustam Minnikhanov is so busy that not everyone can withstand it. This was especially evident in the pre-pandemic era, when he could change three locations a day, being in Kazan in the morning, and in the evening fly to Paris through Mamadysh. Usually, all foreign tours of the president are associated with attracting investments into the economy of the republic. He does not consider it shameful to do it personally. Tatarstan has been in the top 3 of the national rating on the investment climate in the constituent entities of Russia for many years, in the top ten regions of the Russian Federation for foreign direct investment.
Another innovation of Minnikhanov is the creation in July 2012 of the Investment Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, at whose meetings promising projects are presented and discussed. The president is its chairman.
7. Social networking
The TV personality and at that time general producer of Match TV channel, Tina Kandelaki, while in Kazan, taught Rustam Minnikhanov to create minute-long videos stories and post them on social networks. She also discovered Twitter for the head of Tatarstan. Their joint video is on the Internet, on which the leader of the republic promises to make videos and share news with subscribers. And here it began…
Since then, Rustam Nurgalievich regularly posts photos of Ploschad Svobody from the window of his office, pampers subscribers with self-filmed “short films”, including of a personal nature, places relevant videos or holiday greetings on his pages. He often can be found with a smartphone in his hands at various events — he liked blogging. After him, social networks were mastered by lower-ranking officials.
8. Forge of personnel for Moscow and non-trivial choice of assistants
The president of Tatarstan is trying to attract the strongest specialists to work. Their competencies and managerial experience gained in the republic allow them to work successfully at the federal level. Moscow often attracts our cadres, as it happened with Marat Khusnullin, Nikolay Nikiforov, Irek Fayzullin.
There are people in the team of Minnikhanov who got there in an unconventional way. These are presidential aides Olesya Baltusova and Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova. Usually, personnel from the system are appointed to such a high position — they have worked for a long time in state structures or authorities and thoroughly know any sphere. Here, Minnikhanov made an unexpected choice, appointing the first as the curator of historical heritage, the second — one of public spaces.
Unknown blogger-guide Olesya Baltusova wrote an open letter to the president of Tatarstan in her LiveJournal, in which she raised the issue of the deplorable state of architectural monuments in Kazan. At the end of the appeal, she invited Minnikhanov on an excursion, and he unexpectedly accepted the challenge. Having made several such walks, the head of the republic decided that the initiative was punishable and offered Baltusova to solve the problems of monuments, having an official status for this. On October 6, 2011, he appointed her as his assistant.
Minnikhanov also met Natalia Fishman on an excursion, but this time around the Gorky Park in the capital and the Crimean Embankment. At that time, she was an adviser to the head of the Moscow Department of Culture, Moscow Government Minister Sergey Kapkov, engaged in museum business and modernisation of public spaces. Minnikhanov's proposal to move to Tatarstan, according to Fishman, was unexpected for her, but she did not regret it, becoming a freelance assistant with fairly broad powers at the age of 24.
9. Attention to historical centre of Kazan
In recent years, Rustam Minnikhanov has paid great attention to the preservation of the historical centre of Kazan. Therefore, it is very difficult for developers today to coordinate their projects in the “heart” of the city, many of them are sent for revision because they do not meet the requirements of altitude or violate the unity of the architectural ensemble of the area. Although this was not always the case, and the president himself admits that he made many mistakes earlier.
It was Minnikhanov who introduced hiking in Kazan into practice. Urban planning decisions are more effective to make on the spot, and not based on sketches and photographs or the view from the car window. In such promenades, in addition to Olesya Baltusova, he is accompanied by Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin, heads of various ministries, architects and local historians. During this time, issues of restoration of historical buildings are being resolved, the work being carried out is being inspected, specific instructions are given. The length of the routes can be up to 5-6 kilometers.
The creation in January 2016 of an interdepartmental commission on urban development in historical settlements is a result of these walks. Now no object in the centre of the capital of Tatarstan can appear without passing through the “sieve” of this commission and its approval of the construction or restoration project.
10. Revival of casaquin and national costumes
Rustam Minnikhanov introduced the fashion for the new suit, the jacket of which resembles a tunic with a stand-up collar. It first appeared in his wardrobe at the end of 2019 and is a modern interpretation of the Tatar national costume. This cut was popular with the local intelligentsia in the late 19th — early 20th centuries.
Usually, the president of the republic wears casaquin to Saturday meetings with members of the government and festive events. “In this way, he demonstrates his connection with history," explained Lilia Galimova, the head of the press service. And Minnikhanov himself admitted that the national costume is more beautiful and more comfortable than a traditional business jacket with a tie, and he spied it on old photos.
The head of the staff, Asgat Safarov, and Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin also started to wear casaquin. The trend was picked up by Ak Bars hockey players, sewing similar club suits for the whole team. They come to KHL matches in them and participate in official events. Soon after that, the head of Bashkiria, Radiy Khabirov, and the chairman of the board of directors of Bashinform JSC, Rostislav Murzagulov, appeared in jackets similar to Minnikhanov's.
Minnikhanov encourages the wearing of national outfits, Minister of Culture Irada Ayupova appears in Tatar ichigs (kind of moccasins), the head of the Investment Developent Agency, Taliya Minullina, and Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova also dress in Tatar outfits.