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21 April 2023, 16:08

Belarus' Zelva to host congress of Belarusian, Russian small towns

GRODNO, 21 April (BelTA) – Belarus' Zelva is hosting a workshop meeting on the 2nd Congress of Small Towns of Grodno Oblast of Belarus and Nizhny Novgorod Region of Russia, BelTA has learned.

The forum is scheduled to take place in September. “Last year the first Russian-Belarusian forum of small towns was held in Nizhny Novgorod. We have decided that such forums should be held every year and take place in Nizhny Novgorod Region and the Republic of Belarus on a rota basis. Today we are set to discuss how we see the forum, what agenda we plan to choose, and what topics are the most topical for discussion. We are preparing a large delegation from Nizhny Novgorod Region. I hope it will be a celebration of fraternal nations on the hospitable land of Zelva. It will not only strengthen our friendly and cultural ties, but also give an opportunity to create new forms of public diplomacy. Maybe some new social and economic ties will arise. The forum will serve not only to improve the quality of life, but also to strengthen relations,” First Deputy Chairwoman of the Legislative Assembly of Nizhny Novgorod Region Olga Shchetinina said.

“With the development of Alliance 5+, it was decided to share our experience with our counterparts in Nizhny Novgorod. As a result, friendly relations and communication was launched and resulted in the presentation of the experience of the districts of Grodno Oblast in Nizhny Novgorod last year. This year we will be hosting the delegation from Nizhny Novgorod to show how we develop cultural and educational traditions, create conditions for employment of rural population, use old folk traditions for continuous connection between generations,” Elena Pasyuta, Chairperson of the Grodno Oblast Council of Deputies, said.

The congress will be held during the Dazhynki harvest festival. “This is one of the formats that will be new to our counterparts from Russia. They are very interested in how we honor our best-performing farmers. I hope that in September we will sign an agreement between the Legislative Assembly of Nizhny Novgorod and the Grodno Oblast Council of Deputies,” Elena Pasyuta said.

It is noteworthy that the bilateral cooperation resulted in a new law in Nizhny Novgorod Region. “It is thanks to the Republic of Belarus that we have a law on agro-ecotourism. We know that Belarus is a leader here. We studied the legislation, communicated with the delegation of the country. At the federal level, we do not yet have the concept of “agro-ecotourism”, this issue has not been regulated. We have adopted a regional law. We want to help enterprises which will develop agro-ecotourism. We want tourism activity in Nizhny Novgorod Region to be on the same level as in the Republic of Belarus,” Olga Shchetinina said.

The range of cooperation and exchange of experience of the two regions is wide. “More than 3 million people live in Nizhny Novgorod Region. It is an industrial region. Nizhny Novgorod Region is also called the capital of arts and crafts of the Russian Federation. The preservation of cultural heritage is a very important task for us. There is a settlement in the region called Gorodets that is even older than Nizhny Novgorod: Nizhny Novgorod was founded in 1221 and Gorodets in 1147. We are sure that representatives of Gorodets District will definitely come to Zelva and take part in the forum of small towns. We are going to exchange experience and, perhaps, create some economic joint ventures. There is a lot to learn here, of course,” Olga Shchetinina said.

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