The 80th Anniversary of the first President of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Mikhail Yefimovich Nikolaev was held in November 13, 2017. Period of his Presidency 1991 to 2002 were the hardest times of the Soviet Union’s collapse, democratic reforms, introduction of free trade relations, contrasted with social, economic and political instability and tensions.
He is one of the creators of our Northern Forum, and was our Chairman from 1997 to 2001. During his chairmanship the Northern Forum included regions of Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Mongolia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, US and Republic of Korea and was engaged in issues related with environment, climate change, reindeer husbandry, indigenous cultures, mineral resources etc.
Mikhail Yefimovich Nikolaev (Born November 13th, 1937)
- The First President of Sakha Republic (Yakutia)
A prominent state, political and public figure of the Russian Federation and Sakha Republic.
In 2002, in recognition of his achievements in national consolidation of Sakha Republic, a significant contribution to social and economic development and strengthening of international relations he was given the title “Honorary Citizen of Sakha Republic (Yakutia)”.
He has been awarded: Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of Friendship of Peoples, Orders For Merit to the Fatherland of 4th, 3rd and 2nd class. The Deputy of the Supreme Council of the Yakut ASSR of the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th convocations, People’s Deputy of the 1st Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR, member of the Russian Writers’ Union, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the winner of the International Prize “For contribution to biodiversity conservation in Russia”.
Mikhail Nikolaev made a significant contribution to the development of constitutional and contractual relations in modern Russian federalism. In 1990, Mikhail Nikolaev was elected as a member of the Constitutional Commission by the 1st Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR and took an active part in the development and adoption of a new Constitution of the Russian Federation.
He was born on November 13, 1937 in Oktyomskiy (Öktöm) nasleg of Ordzhonikidze (Qangalas) district. He started his working career in 1961.
From 1961 to 1975 he worked in the Komsomol and Communist Party bodies of the republic.
From 1975 – the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
From 1979 to 1985 – Minister of Agriculture of the YASSR.
From 1985 to 1989 – Secretary of the Yakut Regional Committee of the CPSU, who oversaw the issues of the republic's agro-industrial complex. This was the period when the northern Yakut republic entered the forefront in the RSFSR for the production of agricultural products. Thanks to the initiatives of Mikhail Nikolaev, new and bold undertakings were made in meadow-growing, seed-growing and agriculture. The result of the comprehensive development of agriculture was the introduction of new sown meadows into the economic circulation, the total area of which reached 120,000 hectares, which is the absolute world record in the northern latitudes. At the same time, a large-scale work was carried out on the social reorganization of communities; new settlements were built with comfortable houses, schools, hospitals, shops, clubs and new rural roads. An effective program of reclamation of meadows and plowlands was carried out. Significant progress has been made in the preparation of agricultural training. In 1985, Mikhail Nikolaev achieved the opening of the Yakut Agricultural Institute, later transformed into the Yakut State Agricultural Academy.
In December 1989, Mikhail Nikolaev was elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic; from April 1990 he became Chairman of the Supreme Council of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).
In December 1991, Mikhail Nikolaev was elected by popular vote the First President of Sakha Republic (Yakutia). In 1996 he was re-elected for a second term.
A decade of Nikolaev’s Presidency is distinguished by the balance of creative ideas and real deeds, creative aspiration for progress and everyday concern for people.
During this period, the political status of the Sakha Republic has grown significantly, the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Republic was proclaimed, the new Constitution of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) was adopted, the Federal Treaty and the Treaty on the delimitation of powers between the state authorities of the Russian Federation and state authorities of Sakha Republic Yakutia) was signed, with 15 agreements in the field of economics, fiscal policy, international and foreign economic relations, employment, migratory policy, education, etc. By signing the Agreement on demarcation of property, all industrial enterprises, including ore mining and processing enterprises of the diamond, gold and coal industries, as well as transport, construction, communications, gas and oil industries became the property of the Sakha Republic.
As President of Sakha Republic, Mikhail Nikolaev did a great job of transferring the economy of Yakutia to market relations, creating the world's largest diamond mining company ALROSA, diamond-diamond, jewelry and gas processing industry, implementing large-scale social projects, completing the construction of the Berkakit-Aldan-Tommot railway branch. The development strategy of the republic provided that the diamond industry and the fuel and energy complex should become locomotives of the republic's economy in the 21st century.
During the reform years, the village widely used credits and leasing systems (commodity and micro-crediting), the family economy was developed. Only in 1999 and 2000, people received in the form of commodity loans about 1.5 million heads of poultry and small livestock, 100 thousand head of cattle and horses, more than 5 thousand tractors, cars and product processing units, also grain, forage and seed production facilities were created.
In the field of health care: accessibility and quality of medical care was improved, the logistics and equipment supply was strengthened (the Diagnostic Medical Center, Maternal and Child Health Centre with a total area of 97 thousand square metres, “Bes Chagda” sanotorium in Nikolina Gora, Moscow Region and other health-care facilities were built);
In the field of education: the construction of new facilities of Yakutsk State University (now the NEFU – North-Eastern Federal University), with a total area of 200 thousand sq. metres, including “Dolgun” swimming pool and “Yunost” stadium. For 10 years, more than 10 higher educational institutions, more than 200 new schools and new buildings for Vilui and Nam pedagogical colleges and Churapchy State Institute of Physical Culture and Sports were constructed.
To provide an equal access to education, a universal school computerization was carried out and free Internet access in every school of the republic. To improve the quality of education, a network of Presidential schools was established. Thanks to these efforts, every year more than 70% of all school graduates continued their education at the higher educational institutions in Russia, CIS and abroad. To increase personnel training efficiency for modernization and sustainable development of the republic, a special department for personnel training and placement under the President of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) was established, which established close friendly and contractual relations with more than 350 higher educational institutions in Russia, CIS and abroad.
In the field of sports: two new institutes of sports and physical education were established, the “Northern Olympic Academy” was created, which is a member of the National Olympic Committee of Russia. The number of school hours set for physical education were increased to 4 hours per week.
Mikhail Nikolaev is the initiator and organizer of the International children's sports games “Children of Asia” in Yakutsk, which have received worldwide recognition and patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The first “Children of Asia” Games were held in Yakutsk in 1996 and are held regularly every four years and a month before the Summer Olympics.
Mikhail Nikolaev founded the popular movement “Healthy Lifestyle”, which today became a big policy on the whole-Russian scale, and included in the Russian Health-Development Strategy to 2020 as the main direction of work.
Maternal and child welfare became one of the priorities of the Sakha’s government, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day benefits and national holidays were established.
Mikhail Nikolaev established the “Mother Language Day” as a state holiday to strengthen the unique original culture of the peoples of Yakutia.
During the years of Mikhail Nikolaev's presidency, the construction sector of the economy developed at a rapid pace. Over 10 years, 5.5 million square meters of state housing facilities have been built and put into operation.
To combat drought and to improve the quality of life in communities, a large water supply structures to connect Lena River with Myuryu (Mürü) Lake, rivers Taatta and Suola through a 1.2 metre wide pipe with a total length of more than 200 km.
A large-scale rural gas supply program has begun, a river Vilui gas pipeline was built and construction works of a main gas pipeline passage, connecting regions at the right bank of the river Lena has initiated.
Mikhail Nikolaev became one of the first leaders of the constituent states of the Russian Federation, who undertook an obligation to the world community to create a network of specially protected natural areas. About 25% of the territory of Yakutia was allocated for specially protected natural territories “Podarok Zemle” (Russian: “Gift to the Earth”) and sacred places “Ytyk Kere Sirder” (Sakha: Sacred Beautiful Places). These areas are natural systems, with valuable biological potential and unique ecosystem, virgin landscape, breeding and migration sites of wildlife, migratory birds, as well as ancestral lands of indigenous peoples of the North. Thanks to this program, 125 protected areas, 74 resource reserves were created and 17 natural monuments, 26 unique lake systems and specially protected landscapes were taken under protection.
During Nikolaev’s presidency the original culture of the Sakha people (total pop. 480 000) has revived, a national holiday “Yhyakh” (Yhyaq) was recognized as a national public holiday of Sakha people, a musical instrument “khomus” (qomus) received a special status of a national folk treasure, a national dance “ohuokhai” (ohuoqaj), national sports and heroic epos “Olonkho” (Olongqo), which was included in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity within the framework of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.
Successes of the Higher School of Music, the Choreographic School named after Aksenia and Natalia Poselsky, Sergei Zverev Dance Theatre and the Diamond Circus of Yakutia founded by the first President of Sakha Republic Mikhail Nikolaev are well known worldwide.
Mikhail Nikolaev did a great job on the rehabilitation of illegally convicted and repressed political and public figures and intellectuals who took an active part in building the statehood of Sakha Republic and made an invaluable contribution to the development of national culture. The result of this work was the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation “On the restoration of justice in relation to repressed Yakutians during 1920s-1930s” of April 26, 1994, No.834.
The scientific community highly appreciates the contribution of Mikhail Nikolaev in the promotion of ideas of spirituality and knowledge - he is elected Honorary Doctor of ten universities of the country, including an honorary doctor of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Herzen State Pedagogical University, the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics, Russian State Social University, Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health. In 1998, Nikolaev was elected honorary doctor of the Soka University (Tokyo, Japan). Mikhail Nikolaev is a full member of four academies of sciences. In 1993 he established the Academy of Sciences of Sakha Republic, and in 1996 founded the Academy of Spirituality of Sakha Republic. In 2001, on his initiative, the Yakutsk Scientific Center for Complex Medical Problems of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences was established.
Mikhail Nikolaev is the author of the project “Circumpolar Civilization in Museums of the World” and one of the founders of the UArctic and the Northern Forum.
Nikolaev supported everything that was done by people, generalized and turned them into a national goal. One example is the movement “2000 Good Deeds by the year 2000”. A great working mood allowed only in the year 2000 to build and put into operation 40 sports halls, 4 stadiums, 38 schools, 16 kindergartens, 35 museums and 14 monuments in honor of the WWII Victory anniversary.
The international community appreciated his contribution to the dialogue of the peoples in the open societies: UNESCO and the International Olympic Committee awarded the commemorative gold medal, he was awarded the International Prize “For Contributions to the Preservation of Biodiversity in Russia”. Mikhail Nikolaev is a laureate of the Kulakovsky State Prize of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), was awarded the Tolstoy Gold Medal, awarded by the International Association of Children's Funds, the Memorial Lomonosov Medal, has a Person of the Year diploma by the Russian Biographical Institute and the editorial office of the newspaper “Who is Who in the Modern World”, “The Golden Sign” of the Peter the Great National Public Prize in nomination “The best public managers”.
Nikolaev’s activity on the development of Yakutia has brought recognized results. According to official UN Human Development Report, the index of Yakutia among other regions of Russia rose from 41st in 1991 to 8th in 2001, which was recognized as one of the outstanding positive examples of regional development.
In January 2002, Mikhail Nikolaev was appointed representative to the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation from the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), elected Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly and a member of the Committee on Social Policy.
As Senator Mikhail Nikolaev takes legislative initiatives and proposals on the formation of a legal acts on the northern territories, social issues, including family policy, demography, mineral resources, the separation of powers between the Federal Government and the regions of the Russian Federation. His activities as the Deputy Federal Assembly Federation Council Chairman highlighted in books: “On behalf of the Republic”, “Our priorities”, “How to Identify a Creative Man”, “The People-Saving Strategy”, “Cooperation in Russia (Challenges, Formation and Prospects)”, “The Arctic: Politics, Economics and Diplomacy”, and others.
In December 2011, Mikhail Nikolaev, by the federal list of the United Russia political party, was elected to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the Sixth convocation, a member of the State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Problems of the North and the Far East.
From November 2016 he is appointed Counselor of State of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).
Mikhail Nikolaev is one of the creators of the international organization “the Northern Forum”. From 1998 to 2002 he was the Chairman of this organization. In 2006, Mikhail Nikolaev established the International Public Organization “Eastern Dimension” and is its President. Also Mikhail Nikolaev is the President of the National Public Committee (NPC) “Russian Family”, the head of the regional branch of the Arctic Russian Academy of Natural Sciences after V.I.Vernadsky. He created and directed the National Committee of UNESCO of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).
Mikhail Nikolaev took an active part in shaping the foreign policy of the Russian Federation. In 1995, on behalf of the Russian Federation, he signed a Russia-South Korea agreement on economic issues in Sakha Republic. In September 2002, he represented the Russian Federation at the General Assembly of the United Nations, and in 2007 in the European Parliament.
Mikhail Nikolaev met and negotiated with a number of world leaders. In 1990, with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan Akihito. In 1992, with Prime Minister of Latvia Ivars Godmanis, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and UNESCO Director-General Frederick Mayor. In 1994, with the US President George W. Bush. Also he had meetings with the US President Bill Clinton, the President of the Republic of Korea Kim Young-Sam, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of Vietnam Trần Đức Lương, in Ulaan Baatar with Mongolian President Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat, in Helsinki with Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, in Paris with the mayor and future French President Jacques Chirac, in Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli President Ezer Weizman, in Tokyo with Prime Ministers Keizo Obuchi and Yasuhiro Nakasone, the President of Iceland Olafur Grímsson at his residence in Bessastaðir, Álftanes near Reykjavik.
In 1994 he met with the President of China, the CPC Central Committee General Secretary Jiang Zemin, in 2004 with the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese President Hu Jintao. Several times, he met with the President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayem and the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In 2002 Nikolayev met with United Nations Undersecretary-General Kenzo Oshima.
Mikhail Nikolayev was awarded “Man of the Millennium”. This international title is awarded by the decision of the International Biographical Center, Cambridge (UK).
Mikhail Yefimovich Nikolaev is a recognized political and spiritual leader of multinational Sakha Republic (Yakutia), has way of life is a living example and a model of serving the people.