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Alexander Lukashenko attends celebrations of 1150th anniversary of Polotsk

25 May 2012

Polotsk will become one of the most promising cultural and tourist destinations of Belarus, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said during the concert times to the 1150th anniversary of the town of Polotsk, Vitebsk Oblast.

Before the concert Alexander Lukashenko got familiar with social and economic development of Polotsk and Vitebsk Oblast. Governor Alexander Kosinets informed the President about the progress in implementing forecast targets, the increase in net profit in the region, plans to raise investments and on housing construction, progress in the spring sowing campaign.

During the visit to the Polotsk State University Alexander Lukashenko was reported on the plans for further development of this educational institution, on the restoration and reconstruction of buildings of the former Jesuit College in which it is situated. Nine buildings of the Jesuit College were given to the university. To date, six of them reopened after renovations. “I did not believe you would succeed, and regretted that we started it. But you have done a pretty good job,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

About 13,500 people attend the Polotsk State University. Therefore, it is planned to build a new student dormitory for 730 places.

Alexander Lukashenko took a tour of the premises of the university, got acquainted with the educational process, and talked to students.

Alexander Lukashenko was informed about a project to restore and renovate the historical part of Polotsk. This project envisages infrastructure development of the areas adjoining the St. Euphrosyne Convent and the Holy Wisdom Cathedral. The head of state gave the go-ahead to the plans. “We need to preserve and restore everything,” he said.

During the visit to the university the President said that the society and the education sector still raise the issue of the need to use only one of the two state languages to teach this or that subject in schools. “Why raise these issues when they were addressed long time ago?” the head of state wondered.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that everyone should feel free to choose which state language to use in school. He noted that he went to a Russian-language school. However, this did not interfere with his successful studying of the Belarusian language.

The head of state also attended the concert times to the 1150th anniversary of Polotsk. “The date is important not only for Polotsk residents. It inspires a profound feeling of national pride in the heart of every Belarusian. Venerating glorious pages in the history of the nation is the foundation of patriotism and civic consciousness. Just like roots feed and stabilize a tree so the past and respect for deeds of the ancestors elevate and dignify a man, shape the nation and make it stronger,” Alexander Lukashenko is convinced.

The President stressed that the Polotsk land is the birthplace of the Belarusian statehood. The town has played a prominent role in the history and as the spiritual cradle of the nation. “It is the place from where the light of orthodox belief, written language, and art spread,” the head of state said

Alexander Lukashenko said that he was happy to see that Polotsk has not turned into a museum city stuck in the past and complacent about its past glory. “Everything here says the town is thirsting for modernity. I can see it in new buildings and industrial enterprises, plans and moods of people. The life is pulsing through this town. Economy, social services, education and culture are making progress; the town is becoming more comfortable for residents and visitors. However, it cherishes and protects the rich heritage of the past centuries,” the head of state said.

At the same time, the President noted that some residents are not in favor of the modernization plans of the town. “Here is what I want to say to people who openly or secretly oppose the modernization efforts: modernization is not a changeover; we are trying to uncover and show to the whole world the best Polotsk has,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “I want to say the following things to these people: I have made a decision and approved the general renovation plan of Polotsk. Polotsk will live on as a citadel of the spirit and culture of our people,” the head of state said.

“People who go from house to house collecting signatures – please, quench your passions. The parliamentary election is coming soon. Keep this spirit, you will need it. Polotsk will turn into a real Mecca for cultural people. The decision has been made,” the President added.

“I want to believe that after the infrastructure development concept is materialized, the beautiful town will get a new life and become one of the most promising cultural and tourist destinations of our country,” the President emphasized.

Speaking of Polotsk, Alexander Lukashenko noted that this city is the heart of the Belarusian land. “Every Belarusian should come visit this city, to learn about the origins of the country’s history, feel the pride in Belarus’ hard-working and talented people. Every European should travel here, the geographical center of Europe, too. By wandering along the streets, where for more than a thousand years the traditions of East and West, different faiths and cultures got intertwined it will be easier to understand: our common past is a step towards a common future,” the President believes.

“Belarus is not Europe’s periphery. It is its gateway to EuroAsia, the key to practical implementation of the idea of universal integration. Bringing together the European and Eurasian potentials will unlock new opportunities for dynamic development and all-round cooperation between countries and nations of the two continents. It is in promoting this idea that we see a critical mission and the geopolitical role of our state as a linking bridge,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko has congratulated Polotsk residents on the anniversary and wished the town further development and prosperity.
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