The revival of Polesie is one of the most important items on the presidential agenda, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with top officials and executives of Gomel Oblast on 21 July.
“One of the most important parts of my presidential work is the revival of Polesie. I love vising this place. When I was here in the first years of my presidency, the situation was terrible,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The President recalled his visit to Lyaskovichi. “I met with local residents and what do you think they asked me for. They asked me for bread. I was astonished. Those were difficult times but the fact that there was no bread in the village was unbelievable ,” he said.
The problem was then resolved. The President also said he often went to meet with local residents of Polesie in the 1990s. At that time, the ideas to declare the Polesie Republic were floating around in the region. Thanks to such meetings, the unity of the country was preserved. “Why do I recall this moment? I was concerned for the integrity of the country. After that visit to Pripyat I have never heard people in Polesie talking about parting ways with Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the President, special attention has always been paid to the rehabilitation and development of the areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster. “I visit your oblast very often, more often than any other region. Flying over Gomel Oblast I can see everything that is being done on farms, fields, all the construction sites, roads, facilities. My special attention, of course, is to those areas that were worst affected by the Chernobyl accident,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“I remember those times when we, left alone after the collapse of the Soviet Union, had to deal with the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Those were very difficult times. They were difficult not only because we were poor and hungry, not because we had no means to live. The problem was that we did not know how to improve the situation,” the head of state said.
“With the little experience I had then, I decided for myself that this prosperous and beautiful place of both Belarus and Europe, our planet, should continue to prosper, and we should not abandon it. I believe that very hard-working and decent people live in Gomel Oblast and they should be supported,” the President stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that taking decisions was not easy. “I remember that back then, when we were working out our strategy, we did a lot to convince you that you need to live here, that you are not expected anywhere, that where you go would not be a better option. The majority of those who left (someone was promised a good life) have returned to their homeland,” said the head of state.
“We did the right thing. We saved Gomel Oblast,” said the Belarusian leader.
He explained why he made such decisions then, including risky ones, while many politicians simply made their careers on the Chernobyl issue without offering concrete solutions. “I decided that we need to do concrete things so that people would believe us. I made many issues related to the Chernobyl disaster directly in Gomel Oblast,” said the head of state.