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07 April 2024, 22:50

Sleepless night, message to descendants, and personnel decisions in 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 last week of the head of state was full of special symbolism. What Aleksandr Lukashenko did and talked about, the context and the background of the ongoing events left some space to read between the lines and dig deep.

For example, let’s talk about Aleksandr Lukashenko’s working trip to Grodno where he placed a time capsule with a message to descendants at the construction site of a new city hospital. The head of state remarked that both people in Belarus and people in neighboring European Union countries, which are virtually dozens of kilometers from the oblast capital, dig the ground. But their goals are absolutely different… And there and then he explained to people that picking up stones from the fields is not a whim but a matter of frugality, which saved the country back in the day.

Personnel decisions made in the second half of the week had some memorable quotes as well. The president explained to new executives and civil servants that they would have to do serious and heavy work in order to defend Belarus and its sovereignty with sweat and blood. A statement quite in the spirit of the already well-known phrase “roll up sleeves and get to work”. But Aleksandr Lukashenko also formulated another directive right away: you have to take pleasure in work and life, then Belarus will have genuine democracy.

And certainly together with the entire country the president was worrying as he observed the final stage of the Belarusian cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya’s orbital flight. He watched all of it live, this is why he did not sleep that night. The head of state congratulated the Soyuz MS-24 crew on successful landing and invited them and the people, who had taken care of preparations for the flight, to visit Belarus as guests.

And despite the sleepless night Aleksandr Lukashenko went to play ice hockey on Saturday in the first game of the final series of the Republican Ice Hockey League. In Minsk-based Olympic Arena the team of the head of state beat the Minsk Oblast team 5:2.

Details of the work week of the head of state are covered by the latest episode of BelTA’s special project President’s Week.

AIM FOR HALF A BILLION. What growth opportunities does the president see in cooperation with Orel Oblast?

The head of state started his work week by meeting with Governor of Russia’s Orel Oblast Andrei Klychkov on 1 April.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that there were no closed topics in relations with the Russian region and that Belarus was ready to provide its products and was open for tighter cooperation. Given the development level of Orel Oblast, Belarus is also ready to adopt the best practices in certain industries.

“The distances are small. We know the way to Orel Oblast very well. It is very close. We can work with you more intensively and effectively and show other regions what small Belarus can do for the huge Russia. We are ready for this. With your support, we will definitely implement all the plans we have outlined,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Complicated circumstances and readiness to help

The president also drew attention to a complex situation in Russia’s Orel Oblast: “You will not be allowed to live and work in peace in the near future. You have to solve the tasks of protecting civilians and critical infrastructure in extremely difficult conditions. If we can help you in this regard, please contact us, we will be happy to lend a helping hand,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

Despite the situation Orel Oblast, like other regions of Russia, held the successful presidential election and the country demonstrated stability, political, and economic independence.

Mutual trade potential

Speaking about trade and economic cooperation, the Belarusian head of state suggested taking the mutual trade of 2023 as a reference point. Last year it was $250 million. “I think we can reach $500 million in the near future, within the next three years. This is quite achievable. Although we will have to work hard,” the president said.

In his words, growth can be driven by traditionally strong economic sectors of Orel Oblast such as agriculture, microelectronics, and the investment sector. Both parties boast a high level of development in all these areas, so alignment is possible and everything should be done to get the best effect.

Possible deliveries of machines, vehicles, equipment

Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke in more detail about the areas where Belarus was ready to offer cooperation. One of them is machine building. Agricultural machines, municipal vehicles, road construction and maintenance machines, and forestry machines were offered to the partners. Not only sales were mentioned but also the organization of specialized educational classes.

“By the way, the production of unmanned harvesters Titan was launched in Tambov Oblast in cooperation with Gomselmash the other day. This is a promising area. Please, pay attention to it,” the president said.

The president mentioned deliveries of passenger transport vehicles as another area of potential interest. The Belarusian lineup includes environmentally friendly electrobuses, trolleybuses, trams, including low-floor vehicles for passengers with limited mobility. He also suggested organizing a test drive of several units of Belarusian autonomous trolleybuses and trams in Orel for Russian specialists and residents to evaluate their capabilities.

Manufacturing cooperation in microelectronics

Microelectronics often becomes the topic of the talks between the presidents of Belarus and Russia. Addressing Andrei Klychkov, the Belarusian president said: “You did well by preserving your enterprises. Belarus did the same. You know our Integral and Planar enterprises. Given the import substitution tasks, we will have to expand manufacturing cooperation.”

Mutual interest in agriculture

As for agriculture and food products, Orel Oblast is a leading producer of buckwheat, rapeseed, sugar beet and a leader in terms of the yield of oilseeds, cereals and leguminous crops. “This is what we need. We need to cooperate with our kin nation instead of the French or Germans,” the head of state emphasized. In turn, Belarus is ready to share with Russians elite seeds, veterinary medications, products of the Belarusian National Biotechnology Corporation, advances in pedigree work, poultry farming, dairy production, and many other sectors.

Capabilities of Belarusian builders

Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned capabilities of the Belarusian civil engineering industry: “We build fast and ensure high quality. Most importantly, we can easily win the competition with Russian builders in terms of price.” He suggested Belarusian specialists could build some landmark facility in Orel Oblast and do it on a turnkey basis, starting from the design and finishing with the commissioning of the facility. Even more so because the region has ten sites earmarked for comprehensive development and suitable for housing construction.

Belarus' competencies include not only construction but also major repairs, design and engineering surveys, supply of modern building materials and elevators, assistance with the development of gas supply systems in regions and much more.

TO BUILD A “WONDER”. Why did Lukashenko go to Grodno and what kind of message to descendants did he leave?

The president went on a working trip to Grodno on 2 April. It is interesting is that it was the second visit to Grodno Oblast of late. The week before Aleksandr Lukashenko had visited Oshmyany District where a combat readiness test of army units was taking place in a swathe of land.

The trip to Grodno was full of social and economic affairs. The president was informed about the social and economic development of Grodno Oblast. The region met all social welfare obligations. Nominal wages grew by 18% in 2023 and by over 19% in January-February 2024. The growth of the gross regional product almost reached 8%. Further development of the region is impossible without investments, that is why Grodno Oblast is implementing 114 projects. As many as 21 projects have been approved within the president’s instruction “One district - one project”. They are all in different stages of implementation. The region continues the construction and modernization of many social facilities, including schools and an oncology clinic.

In the oblast capital Aleksandr Lukashenko first went to the construction site of a new hospital in Yanka Kupala Avenue where he took part in a solemn ceremony to place a time capsule with a message to future generations.
According to the head of state, not only the text placed in the capsule but also all those numerous facilities that have been built and modernized over the years of independence is a message to the descendants. “This is a message to the future,” he said.

“We want Belarusians to live, start families, study, work, and rest in beautiful, cozy and comfortable towns and villages. We are doing everything to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get a good education in the first place,” the president said.

Sometimes, however, Belarusians have to create not thanks to but in spite of life circumstances. This is why the solemn ceremony at the construction site of a new hospital is also a message to the neighboring countries of Belarus. “We are now digging the land, just like them, very close to the border. But our goals are completely different. They dig trenches against tanks and the rest, increase spending on attack weapons. We spend two-thirds of the region’s budget on social welfare. We want to build our own peaceful future. We focus only on creation,” the president emphasized.
The head of state emphasized that Belarus does not threaten anyone: “We do not need to threaten anyone. We do not want someone else’s lands. We have enough of ours to work on.”

“Do not believe anyone saying that we want to go to war. We are preparing for war, I am speaking frankly about it. If you want peace, prepare for war. I didn’t invent it. It is quite true,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. 

Universal healthcare

At the hospital construction site the president heard out a report from Healthcare Minister Aleksandr Khodzhayev.

“We need to make sure that our healthcare is people’s healthcare, as we used to say. It should be accessible and affordable to everyone equally,” the president explained the key task to the minister. He explained that the quality of medical care and the amount of attention medics pay to patients must not depend on the social status and positions of the patients.

The head of state asked the minister whether he already got his feet under the table in his new job, whether he faced any problems, and how personnel issues were being addressed.

Aleksandr Khodzhayev responded that the instructions of the head of state are being fulfilled, including on prices and personnel.

“Is Vladimir Stepanovich [Karanik, Grodno Oblast Governor and a former healthcare minister] helping or just standing aside?” asked Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“He helps. He and I analyze the emerging issues all the time. As of today we have built such working relationship that I feel free to approach him for advice,” assured Aleksandr Khodzhayev.

The head of state asked whether the Healthcare Ministry is well-staffed and whether personnel issues need to be resolved.

The minister noted that candidates for vacant positions will soon be named.

“If you don’t go with the flow, but stick to your course like Karanik, the situation in healthcare will be all right. I have said before that there are plenty of clans in the healthcare sector, they like to ‘swim’ the way they please, to serve people in higher positions. It is necessary to set things right,” the head of state noted.

The president was also interested in when the construction of the new city hospital will be completed. The construction was supposed to take about 50 months or over four years but Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to expedite the process and try to complete it within two years. The new hospital was designed without any extravagance, but taking into account the experience gained during the pandemic. The hospital will feature four wings, which could be zoned if necessary.

Human resources, wages of medics, and the Polish system

Aleksandr Lukashenko also touched upon personnel issues in the healthcare sector as a whole: “They say there is not enough of this, not enough of that. Doctors, nurses... Listen, we have no shortages. Yet, in our country some people, including doctors, want to work the way they do in our country, but to live like people in the West and get big money. But they [in the West] work around the clock, especially young people. I know this for sure. They work day and night. And they earn accordingly.”

At the same time, the head of state noted that doctors working in Belarus’ best clinics earn very decent money.

Moreover, the government has previously provided significant financial support to doctors. “What I had promised. They were paid extra during the pandemic. I told them that I would not cancel these bonuses. And I did not. The doctors wouldn’t believe that they would keep their bonuses. But we delivered on our promise. Yet, they also need to put in more effort. A wonderful profession, a wonderful job. Probably the best one there is. Of course, it comes with responsibility and requires hard work. Recalibrate your work and do your job properly,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Vladimir Karanik remarked that the financial support requested by the president for doctors was even bigger than what the Healthcare Ministry had asked. “Few people remember it now, but I remember well that our proposals for financial incentives during the pandemic were increased several times by your decision. We didn’t even suggest that much,” he said.

It should also be kept in mind that in many Western countries people pay higher taxes while education and healthcare are not free there. “Do you want this? If you do, fine. If you want it, Karanik and I will introduce a Polish, European healthcare system in Grodno Oblast by the end of the year,” the president suggested. “Then you will pay your way. And you will see how many people will become homeless, how many will die. You will be getting healthcare services as long as you will be able to pay for them; if you have no money, you will be denied treatment.”

The head of state emphasized that such principles and such policies are currently unacceptable for Belarus. “We have a welfare state,” he stated. “We are gradually moving in this direction: if you earn money, it’s good, if you don’t, why should you live at someone else’s expense? But this will not happen overnight. A century will pass before this principle is introduced.”

Wrapping up the topic of earnings, the president reiterated that it was decided to retain bonuses for healthcare workers once the pandemic was over. “But time passed and all of it was forgotten. Many would say: there are not enough doctors, nurses and the salary is kind of on the low side,” the president noted. In response the head of state put forward a solution that will work not only for healthcare institutions, but also for other public sector organizations, for example, district and city executive committees. Their salary fund will depend on the standard staff numbers. If there are fewer people on the staff, the remaining financial resources can be redistributed among those who work, for example, double shifts.

The crux of the problem, “fishing rod”, and the instruction to pick up stones

The head of state talked to participants of the solemn ceremony at the hospital construction site very kindly and for a long time. Among other things the president explained some details of the policy he pursues, told people about the true meaning of a number of instructions that may not look important at first glance.

For instance, Aleksandr Lukashenko explained why he had forbidden the central government and individual officials to complain about Western sanctions back in the day: “I proceeded from simple logic (I can say it today): if an executive, a civil servant, the director of an enterprise is given an opportunity to dodge hard work, he or she will grab the opportunity. This is why I told them right away that there are no sanctions. I told them to forget that sanctions exist.”

“What difference does it make for our people whether the sanctions exist or not? They want to live. They want to work. And time has chosen us for executive positions. And we should do everything for our people to be able to live, work, and support their families,” the head of state added.

Addressing the residents of Grodno, which is located in the western part of the country, the president emphasized: “You are our people. We will not give you to anyone. If anyone thinks that Grodno is not our city or not quite Belarusian, forget it. Grodno is our country, our land, our city. We will not give even a millimeter of it to anyone.”

“We want a peaceful life,” the head of state stressed. “I keep repeating that we do not need what does not belong to us. Cast no greedy eye at another man’s pie. That is what people used to say, and I learned it very well from my village life. I do not want what does not belong to me. I always say: do not touch what is not yours. Sooner or later it may turn into a disaster.”

“I want you, your children and grandchildren to live in a calm, peaceful country. As long as I am the president, as long as my aides work here and across the entire country, we will pursue this policy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

At the same time the president reminded that not everything depends on the authorities. People have to do their part as well. The Belarusian government has enabled opportunities for people to develop and earn money. Figuratively speaking, Belarusians have been given a fishing rod but people themselves should go out and fish, put some back into it in order to enjoy decent living standards. “If we don’t work hard, we will perish,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “The key thing is opportunities. The state is supposed to offer opportunities.” These words are particularly true for young Belarusians.

The president once again raised the matter of picking up stones from agricultural fields on time. Aleksandr Lukashenko had given strict instructions to pick up stones even during his working trip to Oshmyany District the week before. The conversation with civil servants started with this matter upon arrival in Grodno. The relevant work is in progress. The necessary forces have been mobilized, including students of educational institutions and workers of industrial enterprises.

Aleksandr Lukashenko explained to people in Grodno that picking up stones is not the idea. Stones need to be picked up as part of the overall moneysaving policy. Even one large stone left in the field can seriously damage or disable an expensive harvester. Material damage, equipment downtime, harvest losses may be the result. The president stressed that frugality had saved the country back in the day and remains an important practice so far.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “There is no hidden agenda in my politics. Things will be done the way I formulate them. They will be done the way that is beneficial for our people from Grodno to Orsha where I was born.” He also encouraged Belarusians to first and foremost appreciate their land and do everything in order to improve people’s lives on this land: “Stick together. Don’t quarrel. We will have plenty of everything. We have plenty of land. When we have our own land, then we will live a normal life. If we lose our footing and our roots here, there will be trouble.”

The wonder the president is ready to contribute to

During the working trip to Grodno Aleksandr Lukashenko also visited the manufacturing site Auls of OAO Grodno Glassworks. The president received a report on the implementation of the investment project designed to start manufacturing glass containers using innovative, energy-effective, and resource-saving technologies.
The project’s implementation will increase the scale of manufacturing at OAO Grodno Glassworks. The annual output of glass containers will increase by 181.4 million pieces or by 54.9%. The choice of available glass containers will increase as well. The enterprise has implemented everything it had intended to accomplish from the point of view of technologies and the manufacturing process. The ability to make glass containers of any design was one of the ideas.

The enterprise’s future development depends on improving the manufacturing technology by using a machine that the local glass blowers describe as wonderful. The Grodno-based enterprise does not have such a machine yet but the matter will be examined during a visit to an expo in Shanghai.

“Our people have everything. They only lack some ‘wonder’. I am ready to participate in it. The key thing is for you to bring a good idea. If your idea is justified, then we will do it. Just don’t hide, lie, or steal. Then everything will be okay,” the head of state stressed.

During the tour of the enterprise Aleksandr Lukashenko also drew attention to the collection and processing of secondary material resources: “Social networks complain a lot now that instead of separating the waste the garbage truck puts everything into one pile. It is a crime. This is why it is necessary to look at how the government has organized this separate waste collection and shipment. It could save us. If people drink from so many bottles, they have to recycle as many. And then we won’t need sodium carbonate [that Belarus imports to make glass], to put bluntly.”

“We sit on money. This is gold. And the situation is the same everywhere: pasteboard, paper, and the rest,” the head of state added.

UNITY DAY. What is the key aspect of the Union State of Belarus and Russia?

Belarus and Russia celebrate the Day of Unity of Peoples of Belarus and Russia on 2 April every year. The Treaty on Creating the Commonwealth of Belarus and Russia was signed on 2 April 1996. The two countries decided to set up a politically and economically integrated commonwealth with a view to merging the material and intellectual potential of the two states. The document was signed by Russia President Boris Yeltsin and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Moscow. The presidents signed the Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia in Moscow a year later, on 2 April 1997. 2 April has been celebrated as the Day of Unity of Peoples of Belarus and Russia since then.

As the Chairman of the Supreme State Council of the Union State Aleksandr Lukashenko sent greetings on the occasion of the festive day.

“For a quarter of a century, this day has reflected the determination of the fraternal peoples to build together a common home for future generations. Within a short period of time by historical standards, we have achieved a lot and can rightfully be proud of our successes,” noted the head of state. “Despite a challenging external environment, we have managed to prevent a decline in production, to keep the job market stable and to maintain momentum in economy. We manufacture competitive and innovative products and run high-tech projects in nuclear energy, automotive industry, machine tool making, and transport. The share of domestic component parts and solutions is growing. Step by step we are exploring new markets, we are set to reduce costs and improve the quality of our goods and services.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that Belarus and Russia are confidently building scientific and technological sovereignty and are finding the necessary reserves for further development.

Tangible results have been secured not only in conventional areas. Genuine successes, real breakthroughs have been achieved in such complex, science-intensive areas as materials science, aircraft engineering, microelectronics and space research. For the first time in the history of independent Belarus a Belarusian cosmonaut has been sent to the International Space Station.
“But the most important thing is that the Union State has a clear-cut social focus. Citizens of the two countries enjoy equal rights and guarantees, and can take advantage of living, working, studying and traveling within the Union State without restrictions. And this is not a complete list of our accomplishments that allow millions of Belarusians and Russians to look into the future with confidence,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

He also pointed out that the unity of the two fraternal peoples relies on common culture, values and history that is sacredly preserved and protected: “In July of this year we will jointly and solemnly celebrate the 80th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from the Nazi invaders, and in May 2025 we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War - two monumentally important dates for Belarusian and Russian peoples as these days honor the feat of our heroic ancestors who won peace and freedom to the peoples of Europe, and showed us an example of unity, perseverance and cohesion.”

The presidents of Belarus and Russia exchanged congratulatory messages on the occasion of the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Belarus and Russia. The Belarusian head of state also sent Unity Day congratulations to top officials of the Russian Federation, to the state secretary of the Union State, and to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

WITH BLOOD AND SWEAT. How did the president encourage officials to defend Belarus?

On 4 April the head of state made a number of personnel decisions. During a meeting at the Palace of Independence he authorized the appointment of a number of executives of municipal authorities as well as heads of the Belarusian timber, woodworking, pulp and paper industry concern Bellesbumprom and OAO Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus. News that the president had signed decrees to appoint military personnel was released in the evening on the same day.

As usual Aleksandr Lukashenko talked to candidates to discuss existing problems in detail and gave important directives.

Internal reserves, “friends and enemies” in business

The new head of the Belarusian timber, woodworking, pulp and paper industry concern Bellesbumprom will need to tap into internal reserves instead of counting on getting the debts the industry’s enterprises have accumulated restructured. 

The money was borrowed back in 2010-2015 when large-scale modernization was underway. The debts are significant and they are dragging down the enterprises. Restructuring the debts of individual enterprises has been suggested in addition to considering the reduction of interest rates on the loans and converting foreign currency debts into ruble ones.

The president replied that in his new position Aleksandr Pshenny must turn the situation around. “The way Bellesbumprom operates (you were its deputy chairman) is unacceptable,” the head of state emphasized. “There are no forests to the south of a certain parallel. The world needs these products. Starting with floorboards, skirting boards and ending with furniture. And we cannot sell it. Therefore, first of all, try to find a way out on your own. And if you lack something, then come and suggest debt restructuring.”

The president noted that some understand debt restructuring as a way not to repay the debts at all. “We cannot let anyone do this. You have completed the modernization program, so go ahead and work. Look for reasons [behind the existing difficulties] primarily in your own enterprises,” the head of state noted. “If there is a gap in legislation, let us know. You will get the support. The main thing is to deliver results. Invite company heads and communicate this task to them.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that despite the current foreign political situation they should not withdraw from European markets: “If you work well, you can sell in Europe, you can sell anywhere you like.”

“Now our self-exiled opposition is furious or they have prompted the West to look at how we have managed to increase trade with Poland by 3-5 times in some product groups, although Poland is portrayed as nearly an enemy in Belarus. Why would it be our enemy? There are no friends or enemies in business. There are interests. Poland, Germany, and the European Union as a whole have interests. But we need to work with them carefully. I’m telling you this publicly,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The optimization of the banking system

As he was authorizing the appointment of Sergei Stolyarchuk as Chairman of the Board of the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, the head of state used this organization as an example in order to raise the problem that concerns the operation of Belarusian banks. He wondered whether everything was optimal, whether functions were duplicated in the course of choosing projects for funding. Because taking into account domestic peculiarities the main decisions in this regard are made on the spot or at a higher level while the bank only allocates the money.

“The procedure of selecting projects envisages certain nuances and criteria, which are difficult to judge from the outside, but which the head of a particular enterprise knows about. It is the director of the enterprise who should make the responsible decision whether to take money from the bank for a particular project. It is impossible to have something built at someone else’s expense. If there is a project, the director of the enterprise should either take a loan or implement it using his/her own money. Then these funds will be used sparingly,” the head of state is convinced.

The president went on saying: “I am not saying that we do not need this bank. Otherwise, we would not be appointing you. But we need to optimize banks. We need to take a look at them. We lack specialists in some areas. In agriculture and the rest. Perhaps we do not need so many banks in our small country which distract highly-qualified specialists from other important areas. Those are great specialists, financiers.”

“We have a huge number of professionals diverted from the economy to some bank. This is why we need to look into it from the point of view of optimization,” the head of state added.

Continuing the line of thought, Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the leadership of the Belarus President Administration, including the recently appointed Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Aleksandr Yegorov, who had made a career in banking, to organize a review of the matter.

“We need to take a look at this sector. We need to examine the banking system now despite the current complicated times. And we are going to make the decision today, or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Or we may make no decisions at all. But we have to look into it. Because there are too many parallels. Why do we need excessive competition in Belarus where the financial system is generally stable and disciplined, where there are no extra resources?” the head of state said.

To protect the country’s sovereignty and economic opportunities

As he was making personnel decisions, Aleksandr Lukashenko encouraged civil servants and executives to do productive and complicated work in the interests of the country. And there are plenty of challenges. Regular reports to the head of state from external intelligence and other security agencies testify to that among other things.

“Men, everything has been concentrated in order to find a way to topple us. Whatever relations you and I may have (I have berated you, fired you, and the rest), you have to be statesmen. Neither you nor I personally mean anything in comparison to what sovereign and independent Belarus means for us. We have to protect it. With our work, blood, and then with our lives. Certainly, god forbid, all of us want to live. And in order not to die, not to perish, we just have to work, we need economy. I emphasize it one more time: we have everything, we have plenty to have a normal economy. But it is necessary to work honestly,” the Belarusian leader stated.
“We have everything in order to work today. Like never before despite complications. We lack only one thing: discipline. But we know how to do it. We definitely know how to ensure discipline,” the head of state stressed. “Order tramples class. If we have discipline and order, they will compensate for some shortcomings in other areas.”

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, favorable conditions are available for work in agriculture and the manufacturing sector right now. Markets are open, primarily the market of the neighboring Russian Federation and other friendly states. Belarusian agrarians also have favorable weather conditions this spring.

The most interesting job

The head of state warned the new heads of municipal government agencies that they will have to work in complicated times and their jobs may not be as convenient and as interesting as their previous ones.

“No job is more interesting than the job of the head of an agricultural enterprise. I have never had a more interesting job than that in my life. On the one hand, things are a bit more complicated for you than back in my day. On the other hand, they are more interesting. Everything depends on you. If you earn it, feel free to spend money. And we are not going to abandon agrarians either. It is the most interesting kind of work. And don’t think that you will get a more interesting job. Times are complicated and you have agreed to undertake the corresponding areas of responsibility,” the president said.

Genuine democracy and a chance for those, who lag behind

The head of state gave some practical guidelines to the executives: “You will start working with worker collectives tomorrow. Particularly heads of district administrations. I always give a piece of advice to such people, to executives: every member of the worker collective needs a chance. This is why don’t be hasty and fire them. It is not the time to do that. You need a cool head on your shoulders. Then people will follow you. And if someone underperforms, give them a chance.”

“Truth be told, we are on a tight schedule. Nobody will wait till these people start working diligently. If you run and they can’t keep up, well… You have to explain to them that they cannot lag behind because they will be stomped over, as I’ve said. But give them a chance. You are about to become high-level executives. People want to live a normal life and breathe calmly. They shouldn’t shake from morning till night during office hours and after office hours. Create a normal atmosphere in the collective. Give people an opportunity to show their skills. We need a genuine democracy where people enjoy their life. And if they work with pleasure, then they will live with pleasure. Because we spend most of our lives at work,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Consequences and unacceptability of lying

The president also warned officials against papering over the cracks. Sometimes people may feel the need to conceal the truth in order to dodge accountability right there and then. “Never do this in your life. Even if during my visit I didn’t notice that you deceived me or someone else, your poor performance will give you away. You are shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t do this. Better tell the truth, the way it is. Name objective reasons. We will deal with them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko gave a piece of advice.
“Telling a lie is unacceptable, especially now. It will lead to wrong decisions by those who get this information. If you deceive me, then I make the wrong decision. This will affect the entire country. This must not be allowed. And do not allow your subordinates to misrepresent facts,” the head of state noted.

IMPORTANT EVENTS AND HUMAN RESOURCES. What is the Belarus President Administration supposed to do?

On 4 April the head of state also received a report from First Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Maksim Ryzhenkov. Among topics for discussion the head of state mentioned preparations for the Belarusian People’s Congress, the organization of events that are important for the country at the presidential level, and personnel decisions.

“We have a lot of organizational activities right now. The Belarus President Administration has never had a busier schedule. First of all, we need to organize the work of all the branches of power. Particularly the Belarusian People's Congress. There are a lot of new things,” the head of state said.

The president noted that the parliament of the new convocation is essentially starting to work. The work proceeds on schedule. “The most important thing now is the Belarusian People’s Congress. And those important events that we have to hold at the level of the president in the near future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

He also drew attention to the management of human resources because many people from the president’s talent pool had been elected to the parliament and they need to be replaced.

The Belarus President Administration is first of all tasked with organizing the work on the above-mentioned matters by giving assignments to the people that have to deal with them and with overseeing the process.

On the whole, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that this year would not be an easy one for the country and there would be a lot of work to do. Ahead are a lot of important dates to celebrate, including Victory Day and Independence Day when the country will celebrate the 80th anniversary of liberation from the Nazis.
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