On 26 April, while speaking at the educational forum ‘New Quality — New Goals’, Daghestani Head Ramazan Abdulatipov admitted that he had given bribes.
‘If earlier there was a price [a bribe] for this certificate, now Rosobnadzor [the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science] has improved. I came across Rosobnadzor before. I myself gave bribes to Rosobnadzor. And what are you laughing at? I was the rector of the university, if I can’t pass the attestation normally, humanly, then I had to [pay a bribe]… Although I was always against it, I was persuaded, they said that I’d fail the attestation if I didn’t give them at least a little bit [of money]’, Abdulatipov said.
In addition, the head of Daghestan advised students to hire pretty girls as their assistants, because otherwise, ‘all you see are cows’.
On 3 May, a member of the Communist Party, Marat Aslanov, staged a solitary picket in Makhachkala’s central square. The MP held two posters in his hands. One of them said that giving bribes was punishable by Russian law, while the other showed a poem by Daghestani poet Rasul Gamzatov, with the phrase ‘woman of the mountains’ replaced by ‘fat cows’.
A few minutes after his picket began, two other members of parliament confronted Aslanov — Minister of Sports Magomed Magomedov and Head of the Territorial Fund of Compulsory Medical Insurance Magomed Suleymanov.
‘Magomedov took the posters away and grabbed me by the chest. When I pointed out that he was acting illegally, he answered that he didn’t care. Police officers didn’t approach us until the Minister of Sports shouted that I had a gun in my pocket, and began to cling to my pocket. I had my sunglasses there. I showed the police what I had in my pocket and left’, Aslanov told Chernovik, Daghestani weekly.
A little later, Aslanov wrote on his Facebook page:
‘Salam aleykum to all! Today I staged a solitary picket at the building of the Government of Daghestan in disagreement with the recent public admittance of the head of the republic, Ramazan Abdulatipov to giving bribes to Rosobnadzor. I believe that such actions discredit the region and Abdulatipov. It has serious consequences. If we want to develop civil society, we must think about what we say, when, and where. Ramazan Abdulatipov repeats often himself that we Daghestanis shouldn’t be ignorant and so on, but at the same time he publicly confesses to committing a crime. This, I repeat, discredits him as the head of the region.’
Local inhabitants reacted positively to Aslanov’s solitary picket. Many social media users weren’t hiding their joy.
‘What do you want people, bread and circuses? A solitary picket doesn’t require a permit, and if there were two protesters, then it would be an unauthorised protest. Then you can detain and open a court case. [Aslanov’s] act deserves respect. But don’t anticipate a hundred of thousands of men [protesting]’, journalist Yana Martitosova wrote in the comments under Aslanov’s post.
‘Marat’s act is an example for all those who care about the future of Daghestan, it was a courageous deed’, State Duma deputy from the Just Russia party, Gadzhimurad Omarov wrote in a comment.
On 4 May, Anora Maksudova, who staged another solitary picket against Abdulatipov’s words, was detained on Makhachkala’s central square. Police arrested the woman and three people who were videoing the protest on mobile phones immediately after the picket began.