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03 April 2023, 16:57

Insights in live broadcast, nuclear shield, six sovereignty conditions in people's President's Week

The work schedule of the Belarus president is always full of events. Aleksandr Lukashenko holds conferences and working meetings on the most topical matters concerning the country's development, regularly visits the regions, goes on foreign trips and welcomes foreign guests, talks to reporters, signs decrees and laws. And even if there are no public events, it does not mean that the head of state does not work. It must be said that even when he relaxes, for instance, by playing ice hockey or chopping firewood, Aleksandr Lukashenko happens to find the time to give yet another instruction. All the decisions must be prompted by life, he likes to say.

The President's Week project is intended for those, who want to keep up with the head of state, be up-to-date on the latest statements and decisions of the Belarusian leader.

The highlights of the substantial and sincere Address of the head of state to the nation and the parliament: Belarus' place in a changing world, the return of nuclear weapons, ways to stop bloodshed in Ukraine, people's unity, social justice, and other key conditions of preserving sovereignty, tasks concerning the economy, political party system development, fugitive opposition activists, excellent work of special services as well as personnel decisions, admonitions for municipal government agencies, a meeting with a minister from Zimbabwe, and the Belarusian-Russian agenda can be found in the new episode of BelTA's YouTube project President's Week.

A SPECIAL YEAR. What does the president want municipal authorities to remember?

On 27 March Aleksandr Lukashenko authorized a number of personnel appointments in municipal government agencies, including top officials of the Minsk City Executive Committee and the Gomel Oblast Executive Committee. New executives were appointed to Brest, Dobrush District, Uzda District, Krugloye District, Khotimsk District, Chausy District, Gomel District, and Zheleznodorozhny District of the city of Gomel.

New people were appointed to run a number of Belarusian enterprises: Baranovichi Cotton Production Amalgamation, OAO Belshina, OAO Dolomit, and RUP Belmedtechnika.

New deputy ministers were appointed to the Healthcare Ministry, the Economy Ministry, and the Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Ministry. Appointments were also authorized in the Aviation Department of the Transport and Communications Ministry, the Applied Science Center for Arable Farming of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and the Department of Social Policy and Information Support of the Standing Committee of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.

As he authorized the appointment of top officials of a number of oblast, city, and district administrations, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “Men, you know all the tasks. I have spoken about this more than once. It is a special year. Everyone needs to get ready for political campaigns.”

The head of state gave an instruction to pay close attention to the issues that concern the public most. At the same time, this does not mean that people themselves should solely rely on authorities to resolve their main everyday issues, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

“Keep track of prices. Pay attention to the problems in the housing and utilities sector. Agriculture is definitely your area of responsibility. The task to implement at least one investment project in each district also falls on you. We will keep this in mind, and above all I will. This is my personal instruction to all heads of district executive committees. You need to run all over the country fast, looking for investors. This year you must report to me that the project has been completed. The scale of the project should depend on the availability of labor resources in each district,” the president noted.

The municipal authorities should also oversee the development of the manufacturing infrastructure, the head of state is convinced. “The markets are open, especially the huge Russian market. Everyone needs to put their shoulder to the wheel, not only the regional authorities, but also the heads of city and district executive committees. Our district executive committees are not fully involved, they do not work at their full capacity. They are going to face an increasing workload in this regard,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Addressing Sergei Lobodinsky, who was promoted to a new role as Brest Mayor (before the new appointment he was Chief of Administration of the Brest Oblast Executive Committee), the president noted: “From my perspective, you are a promising person, you know all the bottlenecks, shortcomings. Will things be set to rights in Brest?”

“They will, Mr. President,” the new mayor answered.

The head of state, in turn, noted that in the summer or autumn of this year he will visit Brest and check how things stand across all areas of life. “So far, I do not see any big problems with Brest Oblast. You may even perform no worse than other regions. But nevertheless…” the president noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked about the reasons why Sergei Yermolitsky wanted to change his position as Chairman of the Gomel District Executive Committee for the role of Chairman of the Krugloye District Executive Committee. “Mogilev Oblast is my homeland. I would like to work in Mogilev Oblast,” Sergei Yermolitsky explained. It was in this region that he worked for the most part of his career, he knows its specifics and he is sure that he will be useful to the region.

The president drew attention to certain aspects of development of Gomel Oblast. After a government conference held in November 2022 where the state of affairs in the region and especially in its agro-industrial complex was discussed in detail, a number of specific instructions were given to reverse the negative trends and return to consistently positive performance. “You know the problems. We cannot back down. This year will show a lot. It is good that you will stand next to the governors and will be have a responsibility. You understand your responsibility, don't you?” the president asked Dmitry Petrozhitsky who had been approved for the position of Gomel Oblast First Deputy Governor. “There's the limit. Therefore, team up with [Gomel Oblast Governor] Ivan Ivanovich Krupko, get yourself in a military mood and roll up your sleeves,” he added.

The state of affairs in agriculture is always in the center of Aleksandr Lukashenko's attention, particularly in the run-up to the active phase of the sowing campaign. Practical recommendations were given with regard to Gomel Oblast but they are also relevant for the entire country. “I once again insist on martial law-style discipline in this regard. You have to work day and night,” Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded. He reminded about the need to incentivize people, including financially.

“Everything is in your hands. Go ahead and act. You will not be able to pass the buck. The time will be hard. So I earnestly ask you: do not relax,” the president said.

Approving the appointment of Aleksandr Kovalev as Director General of OAO Belshina, the president wondered about the state of affairs at the enterprise. Belshina has recently come to his attention due to an unprofitable contract signed by the previous director. Aleksandr Kovalev previously held the position of Deputy Chief Engineer for Technical Development at Belshina. He said: “Tires sell relatively well. We have a certain increase in stockpiles. But it is an issue of seasonal demand and the super giant tire segment. You know the previous problem. Currently we are trying to solve it by creating a new distribution network in this segment. With this effort in mind the company's specialists are already in areas where Russian mining companies are concentrated in Kuzbass. We are trying to re-contract for this particular product.”

Igor Demidenko was approved by the president for the post of Director General of Belmedtechnika Company. In 2016-2022 Igor Demidenko served as First Deputy Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry of the Republic of Belarus. “A military man is a military man. Our situation is such that it is necessary to restore order everywhere, including in this area. I am very much interested to see that everything works well here,” the head of state said. “We have a lot of problems there. Well, most likely in the Healthcare Ministry. We will give a nudge to the Healthcare Ministry. We will give it a solid kick so that they could take a look at hospitals, district capitals, and rural health posts. And the oblast governors, naturally.” Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that upon his instructions an interagency working group had been established to check the effectiveness of operation of the healthcare system by focusing on provision of medical aid to the population. Reports are already flowing in. A sufficient number of problems have been unearthed.

BLIZZARD IS NO PROBLEM. What did Aleksandr Lukashenko talk about with a guest from hot Zimbabwe?

On 28 March the Belarus president met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Frederick Shava. The practical realization of the agreements reached during a recent official visit of the Belarusian head of state to this South African country was on the agenda.

“It is great that we are keeping our agreements and that you are in Belarus on a business visit today. I would like to reaffirm Belarus' readiness to cooperate closely with your country. We have outlined a special plan of our work with Zimbabwe and we are ready to stick to this plan. We have also outlined some new areas of cooperation. First of all in humanitarian activities, never mind education. Mr. Mnangagwa and I have agreed to pay great attention to cooperation in the spheres of motherhood, childhood, healthcare, and child nutrition. I hope that the president's spouse, who has been entrusted to deal with this issue, will soon be here. You should know that we will do our best to help and support our friends in Zimbabwe. You can count on us in this regard,” the head of state said.

As for trade and economic relations, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the ways to develop them are well known. “We are ready to exchange goods with you, to set up joint ventures in your country. We are ready to accept your investments in Belarus if you are interested in it. We are ready to build such cooperation in the economy on a civilized basis. We will strictly comply with all the agreements we reached during my visit to your country,” the Belarusian leader said.

He remarked that in fact a commission has been set up between the parties at the interstate level. On the Belarusian side Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Parkhomchik is in charge of the relations with Zimbabwe. President's Special Envoy Viktor Sheiman often visits the country. “If any urgent issues arise, I will inform both you and my colleague, the president of Zimbabwe through him. Therefore, you can count on our kindest and most decisive relations with your country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president added that a number of cooperation programs on a multilateral basis involving Belarus, Zimbabwe and other countries were also in the plans. “If you are interested in this and these countries are interested in cooperation, we will do everything necessary to develop this cooperation with you,” the head of state confirmed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also noted that he had a detailed talk with the president of Russia about the joint cooperation with African states, first of all with Zimbabwe, and he assured him of his great interest in building such effective cooperation.

“In short, I have done everything I promised the president [of Zimbabwe] and continue to do more. You can count on us,” the head of state said.

Welcoming the guest, Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the current snowy weather in Belarus: “Mr. Minister, as you see, you have arrived in Belarus in due time. You can even feel what winter is like in Belarus. It is relatively warm today. But the snow is real.”

In turn, Frederick Shava thanked the Belarusian leader for the invitation to visit Belarus and the opportunity to meet in the Palace of Independence, which made a pleasant impression on him. “Let me also convey my warmest wishes from your brother, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said. “He wishes you strong health and further development of relations between our countries.” He also thanked the Belarusian government and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik for the hospitality and warm welcome the Zimbabwean delegation had enjoyed.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Frederick Shava confirmed Zimbabwe may become a major hub in South Africa for selling Belarusian products. Frederick Shava said: “Zimbabwe came forward with the initiative to present Belarus' potential, its technological capabilities in Zimbabwe. As for manufacturing, we can make some products in Zimbabwe using Belarusian technologies. Certainly, we can jointly make new products, which will be used in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries. If we make progress and are successful at this endeavor, Zimbabwe can indeed become a hub in our region for selling jointly made products.”

THE CRITICAL QUESTION: What is Lukashenko's recipe for preserving the sovereignty and independence of Belarus in his Address to the nation and parliament?

The president's message to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly is not just an event of the week or even of the month. It largely determines the main guidelines for the development of the country and the society for at least a year ahead. It is a kind of political dialogue that includes a thorough analysis of the path already traveled and conclusions to be drawn from the situation in and around Belarus. Aleksandr Lukashenko always prepares for this event as thoroughly as possible, working on the text personally until the very last moment, sometimes leaving notes in the margins and between the lines of the final version. Especially now when the international situation is rapidly changing and it is important for Belarus to find its rightful place in this world redivision while preserving its sovereignty, independence, well-being of its people and peaceful life for present and future generations.

Over the past few years the Palace of the Republic has replaced the Oval Hall of the Government House as the venue for the Address. The main hall of the Palace of the Republic seats more than 2,500 people. A more representative audience, including not only parliamentarians and the country's leadership, but also representatives of various spheres from all regions of the country, makes the event even more important; it is a prototype of the Belarusian People's Congress. According to the updated Constitution, once the Belarusian People's Congress reconvenes, the head of state will deliver annual addresses to the parliament in the Belarusian People's Congress.

Aleksandr Lukashenko outlined the theme of this year's Address as follows: conditions for preserving sovereignty and independence. “Why am I submitting this very topic for your judgment and the judgment of many millions of our citizens? It's very simple: never before in the history of our country, especially the history of our independent Belarus, has the issue of sovereignty and independence been so acute. Never in our history have we approached such a dangerous line when we have to pay close attention to preserving the sovereignty and independence of our country. I mean our contemporary history. This is why I will try to voice key conditions from my point of view,” said the head of state.

The basis of the national idea

The issues raised in the Address concern every Belarusian and come from life. At the heart of the decisions being made is the desire to preserve peace, creation for the benefit of the future of Belarus, social justice. “These are our democratic values, our true values! Even more than that: this is the core of our national idea that was clearly defined by the current time. And we all must serve this idea both in word and in deed, especially now when there is less and less space on the planet for a safe and decent life,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Changes in the world order

The head of state spoke about serious contradictions between the West and the East, the emergence of a new Iron Curtain, and thoughtless and useless sanctions-fuelled wars. The world spends trillions of dollars on killing people and ruining states rather than on creation. It is not yet known what the way out of this crisis will be, but the philosophy of the world order will change. “The world will be completely different. This is the essence of this historic moment. The feeling of epochal changes is literally in the air. So is the question: what will our tomorrow be like?” the Belarusian leader wondered.

He recalled that the famous hot conflicts of recent decades began with an unrestrained desire of the West, primarily the USA, to subjugate the whole world. In some cases entire nations drugged with ideas of creating a “new country”, a “new order”, and a “new and perfect society” found themselves under foreign control. As a result, the territory of such countries turned into a field for experiments: military, biological, political, ideological ones. “The result is the following: the new ‘enlightened' society is brought to the verge of poverty, and the countries – to the verge of being plundered. In other words, misfortune comes to those who let it in. The most illustrative and very dramatic example is very close, near our southern border, where the carnage will not stop until the overseas master gives the go-ahead. Don't the people of Ukraine need peace? But who cares about the opinion of this very people? That's what this whole ‘independence' is about,” the head of state stressed.

About the situation in Ukraine

No matter what we talk about, no matter what processes are analyzed in our time, we are constantly confronted with the situation in Ukraine, said the head of state. Aleksandr Lukashenko listed the origins of the current situation in this country: chaos engulfing the government, exorbitant corruption, poverty of the majority of the population, unacceptable nationalism with elements of fascism, the ban on the Russian language, eradication of everything that had to do with the Soviet period, demolition of monuments, renaming of streets and glorification of murderers of civilians in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. “We can never agree with the latter. We will never agree to glorify those, who burned down Khatyn and hundreds of villages in Belarus' territory!” the president stressed. And he mentioned that all peace proposals had been rejected by the authorities of Ukraine for several years despite the active mediation of Belarus and personally its president. The Minsk agreements were also defied while their guarantors - Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, former leaders of Germany and France - now claim it was just a ploy to arm Ukraine for a full-scale war.

“Being fully aware that a war was looming, the leadership of the Russian Federation demanded security guarantees from the sponsors of Ukraine's transformation into anti-Russia. We know how it all ended,” the head of state added. “Through efforts of the United States of America and its satellites a full-scale war has been launched in a country that is kindred to us. A war ‘to the last Ukrainian'. End of quote. About 0.5 million people from both sides have been killed and maimed over the course of one year as a result of the war! Millions are now refugees. As a result, World War Three with nuclear fires now looms ahead.”

Call for a truce and negotiations

There is one question: what to do? “All of you understand and know that there is one way: negotiations. Negotiations without preliminary conditions!” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. However, the current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree, which essentially prohibits him from conducting peace talks. “It is simply ridiculous,” the Belarusian leader stated.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that it is important to start negotiations as soon as possible to avoid escalation. Some time ago Russia sent requests for weapons and ammunition. But now the country's military and industrial complex is starting to operate at its full capacity. “If this Russian ‘cart' rolls by inertia, it will be hard to stop it. It can still be stopped now,” the president described the situation in figurative terms. “On the other hand, if Ukraine is stuffed with weapons (Western mainly, there are no Soviet weapons left there), if the military gets additional training, this will also lead to a much bigger disaster. And we will have much more than half a million in killed and injured people,” the head of state said.

“So we must stop now, before escalation begins. And I will try to take the risk of suggesting a cessation of hostilities. A truce should be declared without the right to move, regroup troops from either side, without the right to move weapons and ammunition, manpower and equipment. That's it! Play dead! Stand still! If the West once again tries to exploit pause in combat operations in order to reinforce its positions through deceit, then Russia will be forced to use the entire might of its military industrial complex and the army to prevent the conflict from escalating. Phosphorous munitions, depleted uranium, enriched uranium. Everything must be used if once again we see deceit and at least the smallest movement to Ukraine or from the other side, from the side of Russia, troop movement and preparations for an attack. The military will understand me,” Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested.

All the problems: territorial problems, restoration problems, security problems and the rest should be and can be resolved through negotiations. Without preliminary conditions. Without mediators from the West or the East.

All the more so because the people on the line of contact do not really want to fight and sometimes begin to agree among themselves: “They care about their wife, a beloved woman, children, whom they see in their heads while dreaming in dirty trenches. Do they want to fight? No! They don't want to fight because they don't understand what they are fighting for! And that's the main thing!"

Aleksandr Lukashenko is sure that a counterattack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the worst thing that can happen under the current circumstances. And it is madness to count on the defeat of a state that possesses nuclear weapons.

What about Belarus?

The president stressed that the conflict in Ukraine is very keenly perceived in Belarus because it is literally over the fence. Attempts are being made to drag Belarus into war. Western neighbors are particularly persistent at it as they build up their military potential. Primarily Poland. In 2023 alone Poland intends to spend about €21 billion on military needs or 70% more than in 2022. The figure may rise to €28 billion by 2024. The rearmament of the Polish army is going fast. With offensive weapons at that. “The decision to increase the number of military personnel up to 300,000 people by 2035 has been made. In other words, practically two times as many as what Poland has today. The realization of these plans will advance Warsaw to the leading position among NATO countries in Europe. And Americans are doing it deliberately,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

Meanwhile, NATO troops are being redeployed to the east fast. And this entire armada is deliberately staging exercises near the borders of Belarus and Russia. Besides, the formation of some regiments, legions for the sake of deposing the Belarusian government is in full swing in Poland. “But trust me, I've never lied to you: they are getting ready to invade Belarus' territory in order to destroy our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. “They are making militants out of our fugitive opposition activists. In simple terms, bandits, who can be wasted. We also have this information now. They are getting their first experience in Ukraine now. Truth be told, as cannon fodder mostly.”

Meanwhile, terrorists are being trained and inserted into our country for the sake of staging acts of sabotage and acts of intimidation. They are trying to establish underground extremist cells in order to coordinate protest activities.

To confirm his words, Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned several quotes from Inspector General of the German army, Colonel-General Eberhard Zorn, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, and Commander of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division Joseph P. McGee.

The return of nuclear weapons

In the emerging circumstances Aleksandr Lukashenko has intensified negotiations with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the return of nuclear weapons to Belarus. “Exactly on the return of nuclear weapons, which were withdrawn in the 1990s. It was done under guarantees back then: no sanctions against those who had them withdrawn, no pressure, no offensive planning or a revolution. Everything has been trampled, everything has been violated. I have the right to raise the matter of the return of nuclear weapons,” the head of state said.

“I want to ensure security of the Belarusian state and ensure peace for the Belarusian nation. My nation has earned it with its history, with its entire existence! We don't want to live in slavery anymore and we will not be slaves!” the Belarusian leader stated.


“There have been many critical situations in our history. But we had enough wisdom to preserve ourselves and our place on the political map of the world, to defend our sovereignty. If you remember, I told you that it is an expensive thing. And I asked you whether you are ready to pay for it. Sovereignty means that only we, citizens of Belarus have the right to talk about our national interests and determine national goals of further development in the territory of our own state,” the Belarusian leader said.

The president's address was devoted to a conversation about the main conditions that ensure the real sovereignty of Belarus. In total, Aleksandr Lukashenko named six such conditions:

FIRST - people's unity

“We, Belarusians have always demonstrated it at crucial moments of history. It was unity that gave us strength to prevail over enemies and circumstances,” he stated.

It happened during the troubled years of the October Revolution, during wars, in the wicked 1990s, and even in 2020. “While analyzing events of 2020, I can tell you a seditious thing: as we learn lessons from those events, we quite rightly do not want something like that to happen. We don't want it to happen again. But if there had been no 2020, we would have had to invent it! August 2020 showed who is who. August 2020 showed our miscalculations by focusing our attention on the unacceptability of complacency and carelessness," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The president referred to the constitutional amendments adopted last year, thanking everyone who participated in the discussion of the new version of the fundamental law and who took part in the referendum. “Those are millions. Our history has never known such unanimity,” he said.

The country voted for historical justice by a majority vote at the referendum in 2022: the most ancient Belarusian tradition of rule of the people, which in the contemporary history of the state is implemented as the Belarusian People's Congress, acquired constitutional status.

The president stressed that he is not clinging to power, but now is the time when it is important to think about the future of children and grandchildren of citizens of Belarus, so that they can live a peaceful and quiet life: “I think about that, not about this cheap jab they are trying to accuse me of: that Lukashenko created the Constitution to suit his own needs.”

“Of course, you are now thinking: ‘Now he is going to say whether he will be the president or not'. I reiterate: you will decide who will be your president. But I tell you right away I am fed up with it! You will make the decision and will stop talking about it today. Until my last days on this post (and I don't intend to die any time soon) I will work for the good of our country. I have enough power to protect my country, especially now. I am more interested than you are (pardon my reproach) in keeping it safe, because I have put my whole life into it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the development of the political party system. This process has never been obstructed in Belarus and will never be particularly if the initiative comes from people, who genuinely love their country and are intent on securing a peaceful future for their kids. “But I repeat there will be no foreign agents funded by foreign countries in our political field. That's the end of it! And there will be no party of power either. If you don't remember my program for the first presidential election, I will remind you: not with the left, not with the right, not with the party, but with my own people! My stance has not changed,” the president stated.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that a large-scale election campaign will take place in Belarus next year. “We should all remember: there has never been an easy election campaign in our history and there never will be. Not while we exist as a sovereign state. I think you understand that. Therefore, national unity is the first condition for maintaining sovereignty and independence. Things are in turmoil around us. There are storms around us,” said the head of state. “We will not just be shaken but destroyed by various methods. Nobody wants this island of peace to exist. It is a bad example. If we want to be sovereign and independent, I repeat: get your head out of the clouds, stop thinking about extraterrestrial civilizations. Everyone must mind their own business.”

SECOND - historical memory and our national traditions

Belarusians are a people with a rich thousand-year history. “The origins of Belarusian statehood are the foundation of our sovereignty,” said the president.

“Time itself has forced us to take a tougher state stance on matters concerning the preservation of historical truth. To give a principled and uncompromised evaluation of individual facts,” said the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced a number of ideas concerning this topic. The Belarusian nation was formed at the junction of Western and Eastern Slavic civilizations, on the basis of Christianity, but with the predominance of Orthodoxy. And the nation persevered, preserved its identity in the most troubled moments of history, including polonization in the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Poland in between wars, and during various wars.

Belarus also has a thousand-year-old tradition of people's power. While the West was immersed in the “dark ages”, the ancestors of modern Belarusians - inhabitants of the Polotsk Principality and the Turov Principality - built the foundations of legal and political interaction between the authorities and the people.

The Belarusian state is also a genuine successor of the historical legacy of the Ancient Rus. “It is time to put a stop to all the insinuations about that! The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was also Russian. It means it was Eastern Slavonic, which is ours. To those, who are concerned about the topic of the Russian world and who tremble at the mention of Russians, I will simply say: Russian does not mean only Russia's, it is ours, too,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Elements of different national cultures are organically integrated into our daily lives. It is comfortable for representatives of all national diasporas to live here. It will always be like that, Aleksandr Lukashenko assured.

The head of state also pointed out some shortcomings concerning the perception of historical truth. For instance, the periods of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were too romanticized in Belarus back in the day. “We swallowed this bait very quickly. As if we were all descendants of the Radziwills and the Sapiehas. By the way, major landlords were few and far between on our land. They did exist. Were they patriots of their Fatherland? No, absolutely not. As we remember, they easily changed their religion and language for Polish nobility privileges, titles and positions. Medieval oligarchs made money off the hard work of ordinary people who were really struggling. But is it mentioned during excursions around these castles, these palaces that we have restored and refurbished? This is a question of the historical truth and objectivity. It is necessary to put these things into order and as fast as possible if we can,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Patient, evolutionary development instead of destruction and indiscriminate vilification of the past represent the idea that Belarus has been following for more than a quarter of a century. The president instructed the council for historical policy to step up work and introduce the concept of Belarusian statehood in all spheres of life. To develop common approaches to the interpretation of epochal events. “People should know who our heroes are and educate new generations of Belarusians by their examples,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

On 23 September 2023 Belarus will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the liberation from the Nazi invaders of the first population center - Komarin. This will be the start of large-scale events dedicated to the liberation of Belarus.

The president also drew attention to the sphere of culture, urging to move away from cultural trends and celebrations that contradict Christian traditions and morality. And to more actively promote Belarusian traditions, Belarusian symbols, artists, painters, and so on. “Time poses new challenges. It is not enough to preserve and revive. The matter of gradual cultural import substitution has become relevant,” the Belarusian leader stressed.


Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I could say it simpler. I've been talking a lot about it and assigning tasks. One can say it in concentrated terms: give me economy and I will do the rest without you. For three decades now the people-oriented economy has been the foundation of our state policy.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko added: “We've created a state without oligarchs. We have prevented a concentration of capital and properties in the same hands. All the national riches are owned by the people. This is why the economy that enables social security of the citizens represents the key target of the West.” But he is convinced that Belarus and Russia will endure. Just like so far Belarus has been able to prevent the collapse of the economy, the downfall of the ruble, the poverty of the population, which were predicted by great financial “experts”.

“We have accomplished a lot. Not everything, of course. We face too much pressure. But you and I had agreed that we will have to pay for our sovereignty. Did we pay a lot? Did we lose anything?” he wondered. “We haven't started paying yet. On the whole, things remain the same. Our homes remain warm and cozy. There is food in our shops even for the most exacting gourmets. Kids go to schools and universities. There is order and safety in our streets, acceptable order. And we can lose it all in a second. And we saw how it happens.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned accomplishments of agribusiness and the food export in excess of $8 billion. But the results could be so much higher if everyone shows more discipline.

The fundamental role belongs to the industrial complex. There is no need to raise anything from the ruins here. Funding for its development is available. “We will find more if necessary,” promised the Belarusian leader. The annual output growth rate of the production sector has to be kept at the level of the successful year 2021, which was 105-107%. And there is a huge potential. And there should be breakthroughs in every industry.

It is necessary to secure the GDP growth of about 4% as the five-year program stipulates. “How do we achieve that? We know how,” the president noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko listed sources of growth. If you need details, you can watch a video record or a transcript of the speech as well as look up BelTA materials. Here we will offer the main highlights:

- The head of the state urged executives to be bold in their actions, show initiative and take responsibility without fear of questions from auditing authorities. To produce results without aiming for personal gains is the key thing.

- Science has to play a more noticeable role in the development of the country. The role of science must be raised by an order of magnitude.

- Import substitution and increasing the share of innovative products are the most important tasks. It is a matter of national security. “When they talk about some sanctions, as I said about 2020, I think: thank god. Thank god they introduced them. A huge market has opened up for us. Feel free to sell your products. Which is what, by the way, we are doing,” said the head of state.

- Much more attention should be paid to the fulfillment of economic programs of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. “Today we successfully work in the sphere of space technologies, healthcare, biotechnologies, mechanical engineering, laser equipment, microelectronics, agribusiness technologies. It is high time we stopped using someone else's nuts and bolts and start making truly our own products. Including products of the Union State,” he said. Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to prospects available in such spheres as mechanical engineering and aircraft building.

- The large-scale digitization that the government has been talking about for years is going slowly for now, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “The status of the IT country provides for creating a product to serve needs of our own economy first. Preferences were granted with that in mind. I have yet to see the results. The development of Belarusian software and its deployment should become an unconditional priority for all the organizations that are involved in the relevant business,” the head of state stressed. Among other things the head of state gave instructions to give a sharp prod to the Hi-Tech Park.

- It is necessary to seriously invest in manufacturing. “These things are not so good for now. Our fixed-capital investments went down by 19%! Although the realization of over 150 projects was completed. This year we just have to reverse the investment trend of the last few years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded. He mentioned it is necessary to offer a package of additional guarantees for responsible investors.

- One of the most important tasks is to maintain the current momentum of engineering and transport infrastructure development. The volumes of road construction, housing construction, and improvement of population centers are the key to comfortable living in the regions.

- Logistics. Much has been done, including in cooperation with Russia, but more is needed. Creating Belarusian own port infrastructure and new overland routes in the direction of China, Iran and other Asian countries should become an unconditional priority for the transport industry.

“All these tasks are not just a matter of material well-being of Belarus. If we continue to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, provide housing and other amenities of civilization, then we will decide how to live on our own,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

FOURTH - social justice

“There is nothing more important than that. Everyone is talking about it now. If you remember, several years ago I was constantly saying let's make it better. Let's ensure social justice. Everyone wants that today. Why do Russians criticize their government sometimes? And I've noticed that all the scientists, all the sociologists, community activists in Russia have started talking about social justice. Why is there a mutiny in France and other Western countries? The pension reform is not a problem. And if it is a problem, then people demand social justice,” the head of state stressed.

The people is the only source of state power and the bearer of sovereignty, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. “This norm of the Constitution predetermines the key principle of our policy – social justice. And we will follow it regardless of what happens in the world and in the country,” the president said. “We call people the most important value for a reason. Observation of rights of Belarus citizens is an unshakable postulate in our state.”

As for the level of salaries, there are opportunities for good earnings in the country, but it depends on the competence and level of professionalism of everyone: “We must create a society of justice. If one studies well, graduates from university or not, is skillful, a good specialist, we have a place where you can earn well. We have time. We have good teachers and mentors in manufacturing sector. Go for it! Salary, I repeat, has to be earned. It's a fair approach.”

Naturally, there are categories of workers where the state's involvement is indispensable. Last year, in spite of everything, the government managed to provide salaries for teachers, cultural workers and social workers above the level of inflation. The salaries of health workers are growing. “We will continue to move in this direction. But the demand for results will also be strengthened,” the president warned. In particular, he mentioned the ongoing inspection of the quality of medical care in regions of the country and the shortcomings identified in this regard.

No sanctions can or should affect the level of medical care in Belarus. That is why the production of Belarusian medications is of special importance. It is necessary to constantly increase their market share and their choice. The same requirements apply to domestic technological innovations and equipment.

“Our little citizens deserve special attention. The most comfortable conditions must be created for them! Children's health is also a matter of demographic security, without which it makes no sense to think about tomorrow,” stressed the president.

“Social justice, I say again, means social security of citizens. We are always mindful of our old people. Pensions were raised three times last year. A state-supported pension savings program (the 3+3 program) was launched for future pensioners. Part of the contributions to the future pension of an employee is paid from state funds. Tell me in what other country you can find such an example. Especially today,” said the head of state.

In general, income growth this year should exceed 4% in real terms. “We will endure it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko is confident.

The president did not ignore the topic of price regulation either. Strict measures have already been taken here. One of the key components of inflation is tariffs for housing and utilities services. And the main complaints of the population in the same sphere, too. “We don't intend to increase payments for utilities for the population by more than the equivalent of $5 [per year],” the Belarusian leader said.

Particular emphasis was placed on regional development issues. It is necessary to make living and working conditions over there as comfortable as those available in the country's capital and the oblast capitals. “We must not allow our compact country to be divided into Minsk and the rest of Belarus! We are a family of seven: six oblasts and the capital. This is our slogan,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “We are going to move from pinpoint support of certain regions and individual benefits packages like it is done in Orsha District, in southeastern areas of Mogilev Oblast to implementation of the approach that offers more benefits and preferences farther from Minsk and oblast capitals”.

The matter of demography is also important. The country needs many more Belarusians. It is the most important condition for sovereignty. The state provides large and diverse support to large families, but there should be no freeloading here, because some negligent parents simply drink the money away. A logical demand is to put things in order and control the spending of this money.

The role of parents themselves must also be visible. The state should not “buy” children from them. Naturally, support will continue to be provided, but it is necessary to focus on the most important things.

And it is also necessary to resist newfangled trends: childfree fashion, the principle of “living for yourself”, the “either a career or a family” stereotype. All of this only destroys society and represents attempts to depopulate the state.

In general, the president supports the idea of reviving the traditions of a large, friendly, full, classic family: “Family propaganda is very subtle work, which should be carried out in all spheres of human life. The cult of a full-fledged family with two or more children should be the lifestyle of Belarusians. Only in this way can we be sure that the generations that follow us will grow larger and thus hold sovereignty firmly in their hands and will surely live in peace.”

Thousands of foreigners find a new home and a new homeland on Belarusian soil. Some flee the war, some seek social stability and security, and some run away from vices and burdens of the Western civilization. Belarus is always happy to welcome into the fold those who share our spiritual and moral principles, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. As a rule, they are people of competence, educated, intelligent, and skillful people. “We should think about creating certain conditions for them, which would encourage such people to move here. Including for those who want to move their business here,” said the head of state.

Today Belarus is already an educational hub of Eastern Europe where all conditions have been created for receiving fundamental and applied education in the widest range of professions. However, first of all, domestic education must meet the needs of the Belarusian economy. The entire system of education should be oriented towards the future, the Belarusian leader demanded, without losing sight of the importance of patriotic education starting from kindergarten.

FIFTH - an independent foreign policy

“The independence of foreign policy is a luxury in today's world. A luxury that not all nations and states can afford,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. There is only one indicator of foreign policy independence of a state - the political will of the leader. “In which of today's European leaders do you see that will? The policy of the European Union, not only foreign policy but also domestic one, is completely subordinate to interests of the United States,” Aleksandr Lukashenko cited an example.

In his opinion, Europe can survive only in cooperation with Russia. But for now Americans exploit the massacre in Ukraine among other things in order to subjugate and keep Europe in its place.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that new alliances are emerging, including currency ones. “Time will pass and people will give up the U.S. dollar,” the president is convinced.

“The Ukrainian theme, as I've already said, demonstrates even more vividly what it means to follow someone else's interests. And look at these madmen in power in Poland (I am not criticizing the people). They closed the borders. Whom did they harm by it? This is a problem with far-reaching consequences. They closed the border, which should be open to trade with other states. What is Kazakhstan, other Central Asian republics, China, which trades with the European Union via Belarus, guilty of?” the head of state wondered. “And can we call independent the policy of the United Nations, OSCE, the International Monetary Fund, some other international institutions, which have long been serving interests of the globalists?”

Continuing the line of thought, Aleksandr Lukashenko speculated on how Belarus should act in a changing world. “Do not be obsessed with globalism. I've already told you somewhere: one has to adjust where necessary, not to puff up cheeks. But we must participate in changing the world because they will do it without us otherwise. And our interests will not be taken into account. I think it is the Belarusian way,” he said. “The only answer is we have to do it with our allies. And there is no need to choose anything. We must use everything. We have to tolerate and endure the present moment. We have to live through it. We have to be mindful of where we are going. We may not have to go straight. We may have to go around this mountain. Let's go around it today. Time is like this today.”

“We may be a small state by world standards, but as it turns out, our role can also be significant. You see that. But only if we are united,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The foreign policy response to all the turmoil around and focusing on Belarus should be an accelerated development of relations with the closest allies. “And the so-called turnaround to the East in our policy is the most sensible reality dictated by the spirit of the times,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “If we are choked with economic sanctions, then we open new markets for ourselves. If transit is closed for us, we build new logistical routes to trade with our friends.”

Belarus gives priority in foreign trade to strategic partners and allies - primarily Russia and China.

Pairing of the Eurasian Economic Union and China's global Belt and Road initiative should take real shape, said Aleksandr Lukashenko. At the same time it is important to create a full-fledged economic union without exemptions and restrictions within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. In order to consolidate the economies of Eurasia, it is necessary to intensify cooperation between regional integrations – the EAEU, the CIS, and the CSTO as well as reach closer cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS. The forthcoming accession of Belarus to the SCO as a full-fledged member opens up new prospects.

Among other aspects the president drew attention to the need to more actively develop the instruments of the new Eurasian financial system, including the management of bank payments and transactions, the rating assessment of institutions and assets. And in many other areas starting from information security to food security.

Belarus is also working to strengthen the vector of interaction with a wide range of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America in the long term.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also said how Belarus should live with Western neighbors now: “We do not close doors in our relations, we are not the ones to build up extremely high political tensions, we do not rattle weapons at the borders. We are open for any kind of dialogue. Europeans are our neighbors. We are ready to cooperate with you and do everything that is possible under the current circumstances. You are welcome. But we have always been in favor of strengthening confidence and security measures in the region. And that is why we put forward the Helsinki 2 initiative back in the day.”

“Belarus is Europe. It is its geographical center. Neither Poles, nor Lithuanians, nor Latvians will be able to fence us off with any barbed wire. But we need a new Europe, a truly independent, good neighborly Europe. Economically developed, politically strong, spiritually rich and culturally diverse Europe. And, of course, a Europe interwoven into the Eurasian space in all key dimensions of cooperation,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

SIXTH - the defense capability of the state

“The more we want to live in a peaceful sovereign state, the stronger we must be. This is an axiom. For those, who haven't understood it yet, I will repeat once again. Belarus is a peace-loving country. We are not planning to attack anyone. We do not want to be at war with anyone. We do not want it! We still have not buried the last soldier and civilian we lost during the Great Patriotic War. With all our heart we want that war to be the last one in the history of our land. The land soaked in blood and tears. We have had enough pain. But as I always say, life forces us to keep gunpowder dry. Because we know the true face of so-called Western diplomacy. No one there has ever thought about peace, about the desire to find a compromise,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president stressed that Belarus is ready for any development. And we are ready to give an immediate response to any encroachment or aggression.

“It is necessary to stop talking about nuclear weapons. Tactical. Not tactical. And the rest. One bomb stored in Belarus is 2-3 times more powerful than [the bombs dropped on] Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How many people died there then? 250,000? 300,000 people within one month? It is a terrible weapon! Nobody will ever use it like a toy. Except for Americans. I am confident that if something happened to the USA the way it happened to Russia now, the USA would use right away! And possibly not even tactical weapons. Meanwhile, the USA tells everyone what to do,” the head of state pointed out.

But Belarus must preserve its sovereignty and independence. And in the emerging conditions it will secure them with everything possible, including a nuclear arsenal: “Don't complain about the weapons being stored here. Don't say these are not our weapons. These are our weapons! They will contribute to sovereignty and independence!”

“Moreover, all the defense, security, and law enforcement agencies have been instructed to preserve peace in Belarusian land whatever the cost. And the task is being fulfilled,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Belarus has been proactive in ensuring military security, including in cooperation with Russia. The decision in favor of partial deployment of the Belarusian-Russian regional military force has been implemented. Military personnel are being trained. The president stated: “Don't stress out that Russia has occupied something here. All these Russian units are being trained by 500 Belarusian officers. Combat shakedown is in progress as well as training. Weapons and materiel are provided if necessary. Under our control. Russia has something else to take care of. This is why you don't have to scare people by saying Putin has captured Belarus. I am in control of these troops, who are located in the territory of Belarus. I've brought them here to train, equip, and teach how to work together if, god forbid, they have to do it.”

The head of state recalled the famous saying by the Roman military historian and theorist Publius Flavius: “If you want peace, prepare for war”. “But few people know that the phrase has a continuation as historians told me. If you want victory, you have to diligently train warriors and prepare weapons. This is what they said back in the day,” the president said.

The Belarusian army has its own cutting-edge R&D products such as the MLRS Polonez and modern weapons of Russian manufacture such as Iskander. All of them are designed to give pause to overseas hawks and their satellites.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned he had recently instructed the army to immediately restore the sites where missile systems Topol with nuclear warheads used to be deployed. “And I have to say that if we have to, Putin and I will bring strategic nuclear weapons here, too. And those foreign scum, who are now trying to blow us up from the inside and from the outside, have to understand it. We will stop at nothing in defense of our countries, our states, and our peoples!” he stressed.

But Belarus' policy is not built around capturing or absorbing anyone. “Our military doctrine is earthly. We must be prepared to inflict unacceptable damage on aggressors. If they know that the response will be unacceptable to them, they will never set foot here. That's what I proceed from. We have everything we need to do that,” the president said. “Apart from that, we believe the Motherland has to be defended by the entire nation. It's not just a slogan. We have already advanced far enough in the development of territorial defense due to the lesson of Ukraine.”

And, on the whole, every man and women (if they want to) need to know how to use weapons in order to protect at least their homes and loved ones if necessary, the president is convinced.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned the recent incident in Machulishchi and the subsequent capture of a saboteur as well as the neutralization of a terrorist in Grodno. He mentioned the professional work of the special services. The fact is recognized, including by foreign colleagues. “You saw how instantly the system reacted to the provocation in Machulishchi. So much for the dictatorship. I have, however, already said a couple of words in this regard and apologized in fact to the military for the swear words I told them after this terrorist attack. But they did well. They did so well that even all the foreign intelligence agencies are delighted with it. We got those signals. I want them to hear today: we got these signals of admiration from your special services. But know that we will continue to work like this. Including against you,” the president hinted unequivocally. “It was a brilliant operation. It will be in the textbooks. We quickly tracked down this saboteur and all those who helped him: today there are 30 scoundrels in prison.”


Concluding his Address, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that sovereignty, independence are not given once and for all. “We have to constantly demonstrate that we have the will, our values, our traditions and our historical path. The path of peace and creation. There is much work ahead. Goals have been set. Tasks have been set. Instructions have been given. I will emphasize once again: Belarus is our land. Only we know how Belarus should develop, only we determine and will determine the strategy of this development, only we bear real responsibility for our future,” he said.

The head of state spoke for three hours. And after that, he answered numerous questions from participants of the event for another hour and a half.

The conversation once again touched upon the topic of the planned deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus. Aleksandr Lukashenko once again assured that the Belarusian military would never proactively cross the Belarusian border, but would also react adequately to “the boot of a foreign soldier”. And the response does not require a nuclear arsenal because other weapons are plentiful.

“As for the management and control of nuclear weapons, there are no uncontrolled weapons and other things in Belarus and there can't be. This is why we will be the ones to control everything that is in Belarus,” said the head of state.

One of the questions concerned patriotic education and Anglo-Saxon politics. The president urged against lumping everyone together, since there are different people among the Anglo-Saxons, but he agreed that it is necessary to properly identify some things and events. And this instruction also applies to the sphere of education.

When asked about the Belarusian People's Congress, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it is necessary to prevent a conflict of interests with other government agencies because the Belarusian People's Congress is not a copy of the parliament and not a duplicate body. All these issues are yet to be worked out in practice. “We have to teach our people, especially government agencies, to listen to what the Belarusian People's Congress is going to discuss. We must prevent a clash of the current power system, for instance, the president with the Belarusian People's Congress (presidium, chairman). It is necessary to streamline things. And we have to show the entire West a true democracy,” said the head of state.

Another question concerned the continuation of work on infrastructure projects, which are important for the population, the financing of which by Western banks has been terminated. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that there was money for these purposes, and it was a matter of honor to complete these projects.

Sanctions in sport represent a separate topic. The International Olympic Committee has recently softened its position, but serious restrictions against Belarusian athletes are still in place. It is no longer sport, but a direction of politics and even war, stated Aleksandr Lukashenko. But Belarus will surely support its athletes. And if, for example, they can't perform under the national flag, Belarus will still take pride in their victories, the Belarusian leader said. “Well, you do not want us to perform under our flag... Well, we can handle it. Although it's disgusting when you have your own flag and we don't. We can endure it. We have to get over it. Do not worry,” said the head of state.

As far as the anti-war stance is concerned, the president noted that there are no problems here either. Belarusian athletes are against the war, including in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries.

“Well, you do not want us to perform under our flag... Well, we can handle it. Although it's disgusting when you have your own flag and we don't. We can endure it. We have to get over it. Do not worry,” said the head of state.

While answering questions of those present, Aleksandr Lukashenko once again touched upon the conflict in Ukraine. He believes China can play a role in resolving the conflict. The West is now worried that China may benefit from the peace talks. “It's a problem for them now that China will be the beneficiary. And indeed, China may very well be. There are questions concerning Turkey. They supplied Ukrainians with Bayraktar drones. So they may reject this candidate. But China may be accepted,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The head of the state also noted that if all sides had implemented the Minsk agreements in due time, the situation would be quite different now. There were all preconditions for this war not to happen at all.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he would discuss the Ukrainian issue with President of Russia Vladimir Putin at a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. The heads of state will meet on the eve of the session to discuss some matters that are not subject to discussion at the session. “We will not meet for the Supreme State Council session. Putin and I will meet a day earlier,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko answered a number of other questions in detail and as frankly as possible. They concerned the development of the political party system, work and travel opportunities for university students, proposals to announce the next youth construction project, information warfare and the training of journalists, fugitive opposition activists and exchange options, non-traditional relations.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the conversation was useful: “That is why I ask those who heard me today and those who want our sovereignty and independence to act in this way. So we don't have to encourage each other,” he said. “I understand that many have heard us, but not everyone will work actively. You know that a pike lives in the lake to keep all fish awake. Therefore, we will do everything in order to implement the plans that we have outlined.”

ICE AND FLAME. The president's team makes a bid for another victory

On the day off after the Address Aleksandr Lukashenko went to the Olympic Arena in Minsk to play as part of his ice hockey team. The Belarus president's team won the first victory in the playoffs of the 16th edition of the national amateur ice hockey tournament for the prizes of the Presidential Sports Club.

The Belarus president's team faced the team of Minsk Oblast at the Olympic Arena on 1 April. The goalless opening period was followed by a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal from Maksim Slysh who put the visitors on the scoreboard early in the second frame. The hosts tied the game seven minutes later through the efforts of Aleksei Shantyka.

Just before the second hooter Oleg Antonenko put the Belarus president's team on top with a one-goal lead and at the start of the third period Artyom Antonenko extended the advantage to 3-1. The Belarus president's team scored three more in the remaining time. Artyom Karkotsky got a feed from Aleksandr Lukashenko and Mikhail Grabovski to make it 4-1. Andrei Kostitsyn scored a double to secure the final score at 6-1.

The second game of the final series (until two victories) is scheduled for 8 April. The teams of Brest Oblast and Gomel Oblast will face each other in a bronze-medal game.

The Belarus president's team topped the table in the group stage with five wins and one draw.

The Belarus president's team is a 13-time winner of the national amateur ice hockey tournament. The teams of Gomel Oblast and Minsk Oblast raised the trophy one time each.

STRONG FRIENDSHIP. How did Lukashenko and Putin celebrate the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Belarus and Russia?

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko also serves as Chairman of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Therefore, traditionally on April 2, the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Belarus and Russia, he sends a congratulatory message to residents of both countries.

“The time has proved the durability and continuity of the Belarusian-Russian friendship relying on the principles of equality, mutual respect, trust and support, historical unity and commitment to the same spiritual and moral values. By fulfilling the will of peoples, we are consistently building up the potential of the Union State. Minsk and Moscow are united by the efforts to implement a comprehensive set of measures of strategic importance aimed at the enhancement of sovereignty and robust development of our countries,” the message reads.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that a wide range and depth of interaction made it possible to call the Union State the locomotive of integration processes in the post-Soviet space. Belarus and Russia have joined efforts to explore outer space, build nuclear power plants, implement projects in microelectronics and aircraft engineering, and promote unique high-tech research. “But the main achievement of our countries is the quality of rights of citizens, social guarantees, and payment of pensions, job opportunities and university admission procedures,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

He is convinced that the commitment of Belarusians and Russians to unity will serve as a solid foundation for the further expansion of versatile and mutually beneficial cooperation, development of the strong, reputable and prosperous Union State.

He wished good health, happiness, wellbeing and peace to citizens of both countries.

The presidents of Belarus and Russia also exchanged congratulations. As a reminder, the leaders will soon meet at a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State and the day before they will hold a separate meeting to discuss a number of additional issues.

In his congratulatory message to his Russian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that amid unprecedented external challenges and threats Belarusian-Russian relations had passed the test of strength, had become an example of true partnership based on the principles of mutual trust, respect and sovereign equality. “I am confident that the full-fledged implementation of the reached agreements will open new prospects for the development of the Union State, will give an impetus to the progressive development of the economies, and will contribute to improving the quality of life of the citizens of our countries,” the congratulatory message reads.

Aleksandr Lukashenko wished Vladimir Putin good health, prosperity and implementation of ambitious state plans.

In turn, the congratulatory message sent by the Russian president to Aleksandr Lukashenko reads: “While relying on the good traditions of friendship and good neighborliness that connect Russians and Belarusians, our countries and peoples systematically expand mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas. The mechanisms of the Union State are being energetically improved. Despite the unprecedented external sanctions-fuelled pressure, we effectively coordinate our efforts in the international arena, in defense and security, and successfully implement programs aimed at strengthening our financial, economic, scientific and technological sovereignty.”

Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that the further buildup of the whole range of allied ties fully meets interests of the brotherly peoples of Belarus and Russia. He wished Aleksandr Lukashenko good health and success and wished happiness and prosperity to all Belarusian citizens.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also sent Unity Day greetings to Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia Valentina Matviyenko, Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin, State Secretary of the Union State of Belarus and Russia Dmitry Mezentsev, and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

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