Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko presented the awards For Spiritual Revival, special prizes to art luminaries, and the Belarusian Sports Olympus awards on 10 January.
“The tradition to award distinguished people during New Year and Christmas celebrations that are very popular in the country has become a landmark event in the spiritual life of Belarus. Every year in January we meet with extraordinary people healing our souls, protecting our memory, serving the ideals of mercy, kindness and beauty,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “History gave a unique chance to our creative people. This is a chance to make a contribution to the development of the Belarusian nation. Together with you, the present generations of people fulfilled the centuries-old dream of our ancestors to create the first independent Belarusian state in history. Today our common goal is to protect the freedom and independence of the country for the future generations.”
The President stressed that it is not easy to acquire independence. But it is even much more difficult to defend it. “The strength of spirit, solidarity and unity are the basic concepts, the foundation without which we cannot exist,” the head of state said. “Only a strong person knows what to do and where to go. A person without a strong core is destined to lose. Our people have never lacked the strength of spirit! Belarusians survived bloody wars, managed to hold out in the most difficult post-war time, restored the country from ruins, and now are doing their best to protect the sovereignty of the native country at the crossroads of cultures and historical fates.”
At the same time, Alexander Lukashenko remarked that certain people are still trying to say that Belarusians are the people without roots. “Such thinking is not accidental. Many people do not like independent Belarus living by its wits and labor. The mission of the true creator is to withstand any lies, any falsehood and hypocrisy. It is especially important when we talk about the Fatherland, the native country. This is the field of the spiritual battle for Belarus, for our values, ideals, and traditions. And to win this battle, to win it in the souls of people is the genuine noble mission of those whom we honor today,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
Humanity, compassion and kindness are the basic traits of the national character of Belarusians. “Probably this is the reason why different religions and ethnic groups traditionally coexist peacefully on our land. We perceive Belarus as our common home, as a family for all of us. There is no dividing into friends and foes. Family members work together and help each other. They sincerely rejoice at the achievements of each and care about each of its members, children, the elderly,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
As far as integration processes are concerned, countries should act like a united family. “Most importantly, everyone should be equal in this family. Only such unions can survive,” the head of state believes. “There is no other way of doing it. Doing it differently would be a waste of time.”
The President stressed that this is what Belarus is like today: kind, friendly, loving, independent, and living in harmony with its neighbors. “What it will look like in a 50-years time depends largely on those who are present in this hall today, on everyone who is called a creator. After all, art speaks the language of mind and the language of heart,” the President is convinced.
Alexander Lukashenko noted that today's awardees deserve the warmest words. These are the teams of the MaximTankBelarusianStatePedagogicalUniversity, the RehabilitationCenter for Disabled Children, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus. The awards are presented to teachers and artists, writers and journalists, doctors and the clergy, and also to the winners of the special prize Belarusian Sports Olympus. They are given to the best athletes, coaches, sports journalists. “Sport embodies the will and pride of the nation. We believe that Belarus’ sports victories are ahead!” the President said.
The head of state noted that the prizewinners are people who have been nominated by their labor collectives. “The best people, the best groups for the award have been nominated by labor collectives. Maybe we have forgotten someone. This happens in life. Maybe the best got overlooked. We will see you next year,” the Belarusian leader underlined. “We would like you to express yourselves. Do not hesitate to show your work. Do not hesitate to say what you have created with your mind and your hands. But the fact remains: today we honor those who have created something, who have done a great service to the Homeland.”
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the value of art is hundredfold higher if it serves a noble mission, if it serves kindness and benevolence, the native land. “The achievements of the people awarded today are exactly of that kind. This is their merit and strength!” the President concluded.