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17 March 2023, 12:08

Lukashenko explains why Belarus retained its microelectronics industry

MINSK, 17 March (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko convened a meeting at the Minsk-based Planar holding company to discuss development prospects of the country's microelectronics industry, BelTA has learned.

Before the meeting, the head of state was briefed on performance and development prospects of the holding company. He also saw new samples of high-precision optomechanical equipment that was developed using laser technologies.

At the beginning of the meeting the head of state noted that today microelectronics is one of the focuses of the world's attention, including in the post-Soviet space. “The struggle to remain on the cutting-edge of this industry and the fight for microelectronics markets are among key reasons for military clashes. That is how important this industry is. And today I would like to discuss with you in detail the further development strategy and tactics of the domestic microelectronics industry,” the Belarusian leader said.

“Our meeting is taking place in a symbolic and historical venue. Planar was the birthplace of the Soviet microelectronics industry in the 1960s,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The head of state shared an interesting story related to the Planar company. The famous native of Belarus, Nobel Prize laureate Zhores Alferov once recalled his conversation with the USSR Minister of Electronics Industry Vladislav Kolesnikov that took place in the 1980s. The latter said: “I have waken up today sweating, I had a nightmare that Planar ceased to exist, and there is no electronics industry in the USSR without this company.”

“That says it all. It was really the heart of the entire electronics industry. The key competencies in this industry were accumulated at the company. It was an absolute truth,” the president emphasized. “When this breakthrough industry was at its nascent stage, only America, the Soviet Union and Japan had sufficient intellectual and financial resources to keep it on its feet. Back then we also had related enterprises, in particular in Russia and the Baltic states, but its brain and its heart were in Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Yet, during the heady days of perestroika and post-perestroika periods, only Belarus managed to preserve this legacy, which was not even national, but global legacy, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

“I remember very well how they were pushing me to sell, to shut down these enterprises. They said they would buy, import everything from the West. Thank God, no matter how difficult it was, the country retained Planar, Integral, BelOMO, Horizont, and the Vitebsk-based Monolith. Most importantly, we preserved the research infrastructure of this science-intensive industry. 30 years have passed. What do we see? In the struggle for the re-division of the world, technology plays a decisive role. The one who possesses it will not only survive, but will call the shots in the future. The so-called civilized, democratic Western world will not hesitate for a second to use technology as a leverage, to impose sanctions, to try to bring unwelcome states that compete with them to their knees,” the president noted.

Yet, science does not stand still, scientists cooperate and collaborate. When it comes to microelectronics, you cannot just compete and isolate yourself within national borders, the head of state emphasized.

“Belarusian manufacturers have retained their niche in the world market that has already set its eyes on nanoelectronics, not even microelectronics. As of today, several countries have already mastered the 4nm process. Our fairly large chips remain in demand. They are reliable. But, as I see it, we need to move away from large chips towards nanometer technology,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

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