It is impossible to improve the wellbeing of people in the current complicated conditions without innovations, progressive and forward-looking ideas in all branches of the economy, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he presented doctor of sciences diplomas and professor certificates to scientists and lecturers on 26 January.
This ceremony began the Year of Science which is meant to be a landmark and truly momentous year for science.
The head of state demanded to advance this sector to a brand-new level and upgrade it. “Breakthrough research has a direct impact on the improvement of our wellbeing and the intellectual development of the nation. In the long run, they determine the level of economic competitiveness of the state on the international arena. More than that, they guarantee its political weight in the world,” the President said.
In young rapidly developing countries such as Belarus science should serve as a backbone of the state ideology. “We need a fact-based unbiased opinion from competent specialists. It is of great importance especially today when we see the attempts to question the sovereignty and independence of our state,” the head of state said.
The President mentioned that there are young people among those present at the meeting. The presence of young scientists means that we have multiple opportunities for achieving success in any age. However, Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the unwillingness of talented young Belarusians to pursue a scientific research career. “You can see that a large number of promising fields require active development. Nuclear energy industry, space exploration and biotechnologies are wide open for young researchers. And these are only new industries while there are many old ones that can be reinvigorated,” the head of state noted.
During the meeting with the scientists the head of state drew attention to the unresolved issues plaguing Belarusian science. For example, the economy does not always need some of the scientific specializations. Not all the research projects in technical disciplines, natural science disciplines, and humanitarian disciplines have an applied value. “It is necessary to direct research efforts to the topics and areas we need most. The best scientific advances should serve people instead of gathering dust on shelves,” the President stressed.
Alexander Lukashenko is convinced that it is needed to take a critical, rational, and businesslike look and see how efficient the existing model of science management is. The head of state said that a big session will be held soon to discuss the development of the R&D sector, analyze the state of affairs on science, and discuss its present and future.
It was mentioned at the ceremony that Belarusian technologies and projects are in demand in various countries, but it is always needed to look ahead and move forward, look for new sales markets. In this context, Alexander Lukashenko mentioned his recent visits to Egypt and Sudan, which primary purpose was to sell more Belarusian products and technologies to these countries. The President explained that there are excellent opportunities for exporting Belarusian technologies and products as well as the best practices to African countries. These opportunities should be explored more actively in order not to miss the right moment.
At the meeting with Belarusian scientists Alexander Lukashenko also said that absolutely all people can unlock their potential today. However, the state should also do its best to improve the wellbeing of its citizens. “The situation is not catastrophic in the country and people are able to make money. But nevertheless we need to improve the standards of living. The average salary of $500 is not a staggering figure. I have been briefed that in December last year the average salary was roughly $417 in the country. It is not that far from the target of $500,” the Belarusian leader noted.
The country offers free education and healthcare, low-cost housing and utilities services and petrol (though there are no many oil fields in the country). Given these factors, this level of wage is acceptable. “I can instruct to pay $1,000 salaries tomorrow. But then people will have to pay for school, as they do in the West, and other things. So it is best we do not break the things we have. We’d rather improve them gradually,” the head of state underlined.
It is essential to join efforts to solve difficult tasks in the economy, the President is convinced. “We did not have to pay much for independence: all nations fought, our brotherly Ukraine is fighting today. We will not be dragged into fighting. Belarus is a peace-loving nation. Maybe, God set these difficult tasks for us to understand what independence is. Only by joint efforts we can prevail. Thank God, the economy is the main field of our fight for independence – there are no military and political issues,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President deemed urged to speed up economic development, and science should play a crucial role here. “Therefore, expectations from science will be high. We do not need the science which only survives. We need efficient science for production,” the President concluded.
The head of state also had a sincere conversation with scientists. They told the President about their work and new projects, shared their opinions about the development of science in general. Special attention was drawn to the applied value of research projects and their cost recovery. Besides, the scientists and Alexander Lukashenko discussed the application of innovations in various branches of the Belarusian economy.
The President thanked the scientists for their work and presented doctor of sciences diplomas and professor certificates.