Honoured Zhumageldy Yelyubayev, your work “Issues of Legal Regulation of Subsoil Use” was published by Palmarium Academic Publishing. Who is your target audience?
Thanks for an opportunity to be interviewed in connection with my monograph which is the result of my multi-year efforts to investigate the issues of subsoil use, both in Kazakhstan and in post-soviet states, as well as in some non-FSU countries. This work is intended for scientists doing researches in the sphere of the natural resources law, students, PG and PhD students of law and technical schools, specialists working in the sphere of subsoil use and special use of natural resources. This book is helpful for the legislators of Kazakhstan as currently active efforts are being undertaken to improve existing legislation that regulates subsoil use relations in order to implement international principles and standards in the subsoil management system.
Please tell about your researches. What objectives and assumptions did you want to cover in your book, and have you attained the objectives set?
While writing this monograph I set specific objectives, namely comprehensive and systematic analysis of theoretical and methodological issues of regulation of subsoil use relations; development of conceptual positions in the sphere of statutory regulation of activities in this sphere of economy; development of proposals to improve legislation and uniform law enforcement practice. To achieve these objectives specific tasks have been identified, in particular:
- to define a concept, subject and social purpose of the subsoil and subsoil use law in the current environment;
- to define and explain the theoretical framework of the subsoil and subsoil use law in the system of the Kazakh Law;
- to identify and analyze the essence of subject matters and persons in the subsoil and subsoil use law;
- to give scientific interpretation of the principles and methods of regulation of subsoil use relations;
- to define the role and place of the state in regulation of relations pertaining to subsoil use and protection;
- to investigate into the issues of correlation between private and public backgrounds in the subsoil and subsoil use legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- to give a comparative analysis of international law commitments of the Republic of Kazakhstan related to subsoil use;
- to review conceptual approaches to taxation of subsoil users and develop proposals on the institutionalization of the system of taxation;
- to identify the essence and specifics of appearance, change and repellence of subsoil use law;
- to describe the civil law nature of subsoil use contracts;
- to discuss theoretical and methodological issues of regulation of activities associated with subsoil use (land management, water conservation, environmental emissions);
- to discuss the issues of protection of investments in the sphere of subsoil use and to develop proposals on the improvement of statutory regulation of investment activities;
- to review and develop recommendations on the issue of statutory regulation of subsoil use in the CIS and EurAsEC countries and protection of the rights of the Republic of Kazakhstan in subsoil development projects in non-FSU countries;
- to reveal insights into the legal aspects and concerns of subsoil operations in major projects in Kazakhstan;
- to form a concept of development and improvement of the legislation that regulates subsoil use relations based on the social benefits principle.
I think that I fulfilled these tasks and hence attained the set objectives. Though, of course, complete perfection is not possible, therefore I accept any constructive criticism, academic debates over my theoretical findings and conclusions. They say that thought thrives on conflict, and in science theoretical discussions drive differences into a shared or similar understanding of the subject matter of researches.
How could you explain the value of your work to a non-professional?
A non-professional will probably not get interested in this work. However, in my perspective, the public at large will appreciate some of conclusions and proposals made by me which are of social nature. For example, the monograph contains a proposal that the provision stating that oil and other natural objects are both state and Kazakhstani people’s property should be enshrined at the constitutional level, based on the assumption that subsoil use relations should have social attributes. Or, for example, my statement that in case of conflicts of subsoil users’ interests on the one side and the state and community’s interests on the other side, a decision is to be made based on the national interests with a minimum infringement upon the rights of subsoil users and on compensation for their material losses. There might be interesting a fact that the subsoil and subsoil use legislation should stipulate such important principle as the principle of social orientation in the subsoil management system envisaging the protection of the citizens’ interests and social partnership between business and community by implementing specific social programs funded by subsoil users.
What scientists can you name in your sphere and how can you compare your work with the work of these scientists?
I should note that scientific investigation into the issues of the natural resources law, specifically subsoil use, was conducted by well-known soviet scientists G.S. Bashmakov, A.A. Aksenenok, L.A. Zaslavskaya, B.A. Liskovets, V.G. Plakhuta, N.A. Syrodoyev, A.V. Karass; by well-known representatives of environmental legal science of the CIS countries, such as S.M. Bogdanchikov, M.M. Brinchuk, D.V. Vasilevskaya, N.N. Voznesenskaya, A.N. Vylegzhanin, V.V. Golitsyn, A.I. Drozdov, M.V. Dudikov, I.B. Kalinin, M.I. Kleandrov, Yu.M. Kolosov, A.V. Kovalev, L.V. Kolanda, N.V. Kichigin, B.D. Klyukin, V.D. Melgunov, R.N. Mirgazirova, K.I. Naletov, Ye.V. Novikova, R.K. Saliyeva, S.A. Sosna, I.I. Pavlov, M.Ye. Pevzner, A.I. Perchik. Significant contribution into the science of subsoil and environmental law was made by the Kazakhstani scientists, specifically B.Zh. Abdraimov, M.A. Alenov, S.B. Baisalov, D.L. Baideldinov, A.Ye. Bekturganov, L.K. Yerkinbayeva, A.Ye. Yerenov, Zh.Kh. Kosanov, N.B. Mukhitdinov, K.S. Mualenov, S.P. Moroz, M.S. Sakhipov, A.S. Stamkulov, S.Zh. Suleimenova, A.Kh. Khadzhiyev. Nevertheless, pointing out to the importance and significance of existing theoretical findings it should be noted that there were no solid complex studies related to the role and place of subsoil and subsoil use law in the context of globalization, sustainable development of the country and strengthening of market relations. There were not studied some theoretical and methodological issues related to the granting of subsoil use rights to foreign investors as well as protection of Kazakhstan’s interests abroad in connection with its participation in major subsoil development projects in the territory of other countries. With this respect the relevance of the monograph both in terms of the theory and its practical application is evident, because the existing problems determine a necessity to develop a theoretical, methodological and practical framework for economic and legal mechanisms of subsoil ownership management.
Can you share stories about the people met by you when writing this book?
Certainly, during writing this monograph I was lucky to meet with the outstanding Russian scientists Boris Dmitriyevich Klyukin, Sergei Alexandrovich Bogolyubov and Mikhail Mikhailovich Brinchuk who helped me to better understand some theoretical and practical issues related to the subject of my scientific research. They were the first reviewers of my work who supported the results of my work. I was inspired by well-known Kazakhstani maîtres des sciences who are experts in civil law, Yuri Grigoryevich Basin, Maidan Kuntuarovich Suleimenov, Anatoly Grigoryevich Didenko, Kulyash Muratovna Ilyasova. In my work I also considered the issues of civil law as a basis and theoretical background for regulating subsoil use relations. The views of the patriarch of the Kazakhstani science Salykh Zimanovich Zimanov were also the focus of my interests. My current colleagues representing the new Pleiades of Kazakhstani scientists in the sphere of natural resources law – Bakhytzhan Zharylkasimovich, Daulet Laikovich Baideldinov, Abdimanam Yelikbayevich Bekturganov, Lyazzat Kalymbekovna Yerkinbayeva, Svetlana Pavlovna Moroz and many others - helped me with my work. The story of the life of each of them is multi-facet, but one thing bands them together – a faithful service to science and higher education. Such people constitute a backbone of our fragile world, and I take my hat off before them. It should be noted that some of them have already passed away, but good memory of them continues to live on.
How did you come to study this branch of the science of law? Did you think of it when you were a kid?
It is a very interesting question. In those far 1960s, when I was kid and then a schoolboy I was a member of the Young Naturalists Club; in winter we made birdfeeders, protected doves nesting at the grain elevators from extermination. We did other good things. Of course, at that time we did not think that in decades I would turn to the issues of environmental protection and rational use of subsoil. Almost 20 years I was in the civil service, worked as a judge in the courts of different instances in Russia and Kazakhstan, including the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. I held positions of Deputy General Prosecutor of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Vice Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In general I handled criminal law issues, and defended a thesis for the degree of candidate of legal sciences (there was such a degree in the USSR) on the subject: “Liability for criminal offences in the sphere of financial and credit relations”. In 1997 my life changed drastically, I left civil services and by the invitation of the world-famous transnational corporation Chevron joined international business. I headed the legal department in the Kazakh-American Joint Venture Tengizchevroil which is the flagship of the oil and gas industry of Kazakhstan. Currently I am holding a position of Managing Counsel in Chevron Eurasia Business Unit and I am Professor of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University and Professor of the higher law school Adilet of the Caspian University in Almaty. I am lecturing on special subjects in subsoil and environmental law at MD and PhD courses. It is the oil and gas industry where I became interested in these branches of the science of law, and defended a thesis for PhD degree. During these years I wrote and published many books and articles which by 2014 constituted a 10-volume edition of my works which was awarded two diplomas at the international contest in Kazan (Russia). This is how I entered science …
Who of your favorite authors had the greatest impact upon your work and how?
The greatest impact on my writing a monograph came from N.N. Mukhitdinov, G.S. Bashmakov, M.M. Brinchuk, B.D. Klyukin, I.B. Kalinin, M.E. Pevzner, A.I. Perchik, S.P. Moroz, M.K. Suleimenov etc. I read with great interest the works of well-known scientists of the Russian Empire, who lived and created in the beginning of XX century – A.A. Stoff, A.E. Yanovsky, V.G. Strukgova. The scientific views helped me to find answers to many theoretical questions posed by me when writing my monograph.
What convinced you that Palmarium Academic Publishing is the relevant publishers?
My monograph “Issues of Legal Regulation of Subsoil Use” was published twice in Kazakhstan, it was received by many universities and libraries in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. When Palmarium Academic Publishing offered to publish my book for the third time, I was glad to accept their offer meeting binding terms of edition. I am happy to note that the book achieved a wide readership. I will be happy as twice to get both positive feedback and criticism. I should note here that criticism is an efficient instrument for self-perfection.
What are you working at now? If you decide to publish a new book, are you considering an option of cooperating with us again?
Currently I am working at the textbook “Law on Subsoil”. Its structure and content will differ from the existing textbooks on this subject. It was my long-held dream and at last I started writing it. Let’s hope that by mid-2017 it will be finished and ready for publication. Maybe I will use your services. But I need to say that the first publication of the textbook will be in Kazakhstan or Russia.
What could you advice young scientists?
Create, produce and remember that a young scientist after getting this status only gently knocked at the door of big science, while to become a world-famous maître des sciences he needs to prove his competency and make a considerable contribution into science.