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16 February 2023, 14:34

Lukashenko names condition for improving relations with West

MINSK, 16 February (BelTA) – The Belarusian authorities want normal relations with the West, but on one condition – no interfering in Belarus' affairs, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he talked to foreign and Belarusian journalists in Minsk on 16 February, BelTA has learned.

American journalists asked the president how he feels about the fact that the Belarusian government system is called a dictatorship, and he himself is called a dictator. “The fact that you in the West think that there is a dictatorship here is an advantage for me. Soon you will also want a dictatorship. You have it in fact, but in an unfair, twisted, stupid form. It has always been there ... There is complete laxity in the West: there is neither dictatorship, nor democracy there. We in Belarus make decisions and address tasks. Indeed, I have to intervene or take most of the decisions. If you think it's a dictatorship, it is fine with me. I don't think it's a dictatorship. There's no dictatorship here,” the Belarusian president said.

“We didn't plunder the country. I don't have billions in your bank accounts (though you say I do; if so, you can take it). There are probably many shortcomings. This is our country, we live here, we don't create problems for anyone. We are not at war and we are not going to fight. Therefore, I don't care about what you say about me as a person and that you call me a ‘dictator'. But I do care about what you say about my country. And I want us to have normal relations. There is only one condition on my part: no meddling. We will somehow figure things out on our own. You can help us. Then there will be no ‘political prisoners' and other problems. You are creating them. You wanted to turn the country upside down in 2020. I was among those who didn't let you do it. Therefore, don't interfere in our lives, and we will be good partners for you. We are ready to do everything that does not run afoul of our interests and the interests of our allies. If you do not coerce us, we will quickly come to an agreement,” the president emphasized.

Speaking about migration, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he was concerned about migration trends. However, he noted that migration was common for all countries. “We have a saying: every person is looking for where it is better, and the fish for where it is deeper. It is up to everyone to choose where to live. We will do everything to encourage our people to stay here,” the president said.

The head of state noted that Belarus is a country of smart and talented people who have an opportunity to get a good education in the country. “Those who leave or want to leave are talented and educated. Our system works. I am glad about this. But, of course, I want them to live and work here. If someone wants to go to America for work, I have only one requirement as a president and a person: before you go, you need to pay for the education that you received here for free and as much as it would cost in America. But people leave without paying. We have not legislated against it yet. Therefore, if someone wants to leave, they can do it,” the president said.

On the other hand, many of those who once left Belarus are returning home, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. They have learned new skills, studied new technologies abroad and are ready to implement them in their home country. “What's wrong with that? I understand that. This is good. If you think that everyone left Belarus and we have a huge outflow of specialists, you are wrong. By the way, today our people are no longer that much willing to go to the West,” the president said.

“It is true, you are richer. It is true, you can lure talented people with your green dollar and probably offer them more than I can. Some people are attracted by this and chose to go, but the number of such people is getting fewer, because they begin to value their own land. And they understand that they can be useful to their home country. Therefore, indeed, there is such a problem, I would like fewer people to leave. But I am not that much concerned about it, because they have a way back. They can come back and work here, having learned additional skills there,” the president noted.

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