MINSK, 5 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko had an informal meeting with Chairman of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, former president of that country Igor Dodon on 5 May, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko warmly welcomed Igor Dodon. He remarked that Igor Dodon's arrival coincided with bright and festive days. “Well done for coming here! You could not but come here. Because indeed back in the day you were so involved in good common Belarusian-Moldovan affairs here. Particularly humanitarian ones,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Igor Dodon responded by saying: “I thank you for the opportunity to meet, to talk, to share experience and opinions about what is going on in the world. We see that things are very complicated in our region as well. The situation was not simple in your country but it seems to have calmed down already.”
He remarked that an official visit of the speaker of the Moldovan parliament to Belarus was in progress. The speaker is expected to meet with representatives of the Belarusian parliament, the Belarusian government, and attend a number of significant commemorative events.
The meeting took place out of town. “It is the first time I've come here,” Igor Dodon said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked he does not often invite foreign guests to visit his home. “It is not my custom to invite people to visit my home. I think they may not like the place,” he said. Nevertheless, the head of state noted that he welcomes guests there from time to time. For instance, leaders of Russia and China were some of those guests.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said jokingly: “You may have read about my ‘gold mine' and palaces… I think I will show the ‘gold mine' to you.”
“I don't read this nonsense,” Igor Dodon said in response.
Aleksandr Lukashenko invited the guest into quite a moderately sized but exquisitely built and furnished wooden house. “It is my favorite palace,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko talked at length about his household plot. The Belarusian head of state is known to dabble in agriculture and he often personally stages experiments to check various accomplishments of Belarusian agrarian scientists. “I have an entire farm over there – horses, rabbits, ostriches… And agricultural machines. I have 37 hectares of land just across the road. Not mine but owned by a local cooperative,” Aleksandr Lukashenko took the guest on a short sightseeing tour.
He said he was inspired by the nature of the place back in the day. “Now you and I will be photographed near my oak tree. There are three oak trees over there. They are a bit old already and have been sick. I save them. I've been saving them for about 20 years. I save them all the time I live here. When the trees received good care, the nature responded,” the head of state shared a personal story.
The situation around Belarus
Naturally the conversation touched upon more serious matters of current interest, too. During the meeting the Moldovan guest mentioned the situation in Belarus and around the country. “You did well containing the situation. Well done! Such pressure,” he remarked.
In response Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “How could I not do it… I understood that Moldova will benefit from this experience, too.”
The Moldovan ex-president continued the line of thought: “Preparations were in progress in Moldova, too. Preparations are in progress now as well. We have early elections [early parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Moldova in summer]. I think they will make attempts then. But you've set an example.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed it is necessary to respect oneself and stoutly defend one's interests: “Although we are a small country but not a tiny one. Our people, our nation should respect themselves in the end. The nation needs to live properly and has to enable this life.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that one just has to be vigilant. “We didn't expect it. You know what Belarus is. Totally out of the blue. It is for the good. If we had these contradictions – an abyss between the rich and the poor, if oligarchs ruled the country – nobody would have contained the situation here with such strong external pressure,” he said.
The threat of sanctions
Aleksandr Lukashenko informed Igor Dodon in detail about Belarus' stance on the sanctions Western countries threaten to employ. “I said yesterday when the prime minister delivered a quarterly report to me: we have to respond to them after all. We don't want any economic war. But Europeans can't stop talking about sanctions! Well, we will respond. For how long do we have to keep our heads low? If they want to export goods to the East – to Russia and China – via the Mediterranean Sea, they should go right ahead. I tell Europeans… Americans are far away, they've always known how to play this game. They have always benefited from turmoil and mess here, in Europe. But what are Europeans concerned about? They definitely see what is going on over here.”
“Double standards,” Igor Dodon agreed.
The assassination attempt and a warning to foreign sponsors
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was confident it will be possible to overcome various current hardships: “We will pull through. I think Lord Almighty sees it. If He exists, He will place everything in its place. I am surprised, particularly on these holy days that everyone in America, in the West is praying, everyone is a believer. Why do they have to violate Christ's commandments?”
“You are talking about the case that happened here, the assassination attempt and so on…” Igor Dodon encouraged Aleksandr Lukashenko to continue.
The president remarked that worse things have yet to come. “These scoundrels don't understand anything. We simply warn them: guys, stop! Nothing will come out of their actions. If it does, it will be all the worse for their sponsors,” Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. “Listen, they want to remove, to kill the president and think that the nation will applaud them? It won't. It will elect an even tougher person. And they will forget about Belarus forever. We just remind them about it by this very thing.”
“We are not afraid of their thinking some things. We simply want them to understand: guys, stop, because we will respond and very harshly! They've already crossed the red line. Once they reach the peak, they will meet a very strong response. Well, they may come to their senses, who knows,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Igor Dodon agreed: “History, the Great Patriotic War demonstrate it.” He noted that he intends to participate in the unveiling of a memorial to a Moldovan soldier, Hero of the Soviet Union Ion Soltys in Minsk on 6 May. “I launched this process acting in the capacity of the president last year but didn't have the time to unveil it. Tomorrow we are going to unveil this monument here, in Minsk,” he said.
About the development of Belarus and Moldova
Certainly, not only hot-button topics relating to politics were discussed during the meeting. The conversation also touched upon earthly things: how and with what prosperity should be reinforced and how the economy of the two countries should be developed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Moldova has a great potential, including some advantages Belarus does not. “You have a different climate. If you revive agriculture, give hope to people, restore infrastructure, then Moldova will flourish. I am sure of it. Moldova is my favorite land,” he said.
Igor Dodon remarked: “You are well known and remembered [in Moldova].”
“I've been to Moldova so many times during Soviet times!” Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled with warmth.
In turn, Igor Dodon stressed that Moldovans know and respect Aleksandr Lukashenko and worry about Belarus: “You know how Moldovans rooted for you last year! Honestly speaking: what I said in public was my own personal opinion and the opinion of a majority of citizens. They told me we should hold fast just like Belarus does.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked philosophically: “All the things that happen do so for the better. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. I will talk later about my vision of the situation in Moldova and in the future.”
As for Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the national economy demonstrated growth in Q1 2021. The GDP grew by about one percent on top of last year's high baseline. “We didn't crash last year. Our GDP dropped by only half a percent or something like that. Everyone around us was in lockdown while we kept working,” he pointed out.
In his words, the policy secured certain competitive advantages. It allowed vigorously selling products, reducing the stock in storage. It produced a positive effect on the manufacturing sector.
Belarus' agribusiness did well in 2020, too. Belarusian agricultural enterprises have kept up the good work so far this year.
“Both agriculture and the manufacturing sector did well! They demonstrated good growth. We've already added 1% in one quarter. We will add about 1.5% or maybe slightly more than that in H1 2021. We will reach the annual target of more than 2% this year provided they don't mess up things for us again. This is why the economy works,” the Belarusian leader stated.
In turn, Igor Dodon remarked that Belarus' manufacturing sector has always done well, particularly in comparison with CIS countries. In comparison with many other ones, too. He noted that the Belarusian automobile engineering company MAZ had recently won a tender to sell hundreds of buses to Chisinau.