42nd conference of BRSM Youth Union

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The state will do its best to improve the living conditions of young people, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the 42nd conference of the BRSM Youth Union on 20 January.

The head of state pointed out the importance of a broad and public discussion of the BRSM strategies and collective assessment of the work of the organization and its activists.

“Our regular communication is an example of the proper interaction between the government and NGOs. It is a real opportunity for the youth to have their say on the most relevant matters, to convey suggestions proposed by the youth and to be heard. It provides the state with an opportunity to understand what is on the mind of young people and to come up with the best forms of cooperation in the interests of our Homeland,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that it is interesting for him to find out what young people think about and what they deem important and useful for the country. “As we have engaged in a dialogue, I would like you to listen to me and to hear me, to assess objectively all the things that are done by our young sovereign state for you, for your successful present and confidence in the future,” the President said.

He also stressed that strong, independent and self-motivated people are needed all over the world and Belarus is no exception. They are needed across all walks of life: in politics, business, science, education, and civil service. They are the driving force of the progress; their energy and power determine the development pace of the society.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “Belarus is one of the few countries where the youth movement is in the focus of the government. As the head of state, I believe that among the most important and strategic tasks is the formation of the generation that would make the core of our hardworking, educated, and healthy nation.”

“The state will never leave young people alone with their problems. We are ready to promote relations based on mutual trust. The state will do its best to implement specific measures to improve the life of the youth in the country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

According to the President, responsibility, independence, and engagement should become the signature features of the young generation and the country in general. The President emphasized that he is responsible for creating the conditions conducive to the self-fulfillment and education of the youth. “The state will continue protecting young people and helping them adapt to modern-day environment, with the ultimate goal to achieve a higher level of life for all of us,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus is carefully developing the system of cooperation between the government and the youth. “Today the attitude of the government to the youth reminds us of the moment when grown-up children leave their parents’ house. I am convinced that all parents want their children to be successful in life. It does not matter what field they will work in and what position will occupy. The main thing is to be a good person and become professional. The same is about the country. We equally need engineers and doctors, workers and businessmen, agronomists and farm machinery operators, military men and actors. Belarus does not need only those who do nothing or violate the law,” the head of state said.

The President said he wanted to disappoint the ill-wishers: “Stop cherishing your hopes. There is no way we will take a hands-off approach to our rising generation. Our youth will not be uncared for. The example of other states shows us what may happen if the government does not care about the minds of young people, their development and leisure activities.”

“Today, when all kinds of political technologies are used to fuel aggressive nationalism and protests in sovereign states, we see that patriotic unions of young people that oppose destructive behavior are the real partners of the government in the preservation of the country’s stability,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that Belarus, first of all, its younger generation, should clearly explain to foreign policymakers: “All this protest dramaturgy in the streets and squares around the world is an artificially orchestrated scenario. Belarus made sure about this. Our ill-wishers want to transform our young people into a blind destructive force that will help their proteges seize the power in the country and benefit by robbing the people. We should be able to see these challenges and threats and also to decisively confront them.”

The head of state touched upon education and personnel policy in his speech. “Today’s technological paradigm is making the entire world reachable and in a certain way homogeneous. People are getting equal opportunities to get education and start a business, to take advantage of the latest medical treatment technologies and get information, conduct research and to trade. Therefore, in order to succeed in business or achieve academic recognition, or simply have a happy family, there is no need to go overseas. One does not even need to move from the province to the capital city for that. No matter where you live, you need to work hard and be persistent. It is important that every one of you understands this simple truth as soon as possible,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he does not mean to discourage young people from seeing the world, a desire that is very common in the young age. “Go there and look around, study, learn something new and adopt something useful, if you are ready for that. However, you will hardly be welcome there with open arms. People over there are used to spending money wisely and do not do things for nothing,” the head of state noted.

“Get rid of the illusion that you will find something special there, some ultimate truth. Today there are no global hubs that accumulate knowledge. Knowledge is scattered everywhere and is created all the time simultaneously in various parts of the world, including in research centers and universities of Belarus. This is the reason why the entire education system, including the system of higher learning, is changing. Those who want to stay the best in their profession, never stop learning,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President stated that the role of the government in the education process is also changing. “We should give every young person an opportunity to get high-quality basic education and upbringing, something that will become the foundation of personal growth. After that it is up to young people to decide what to do to become happy and successful. Today employers pay attention not only to diplomas, but also to additional skills gained by job seekers, like courses, training sessions, internships, research projects and self-development,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

It would seem that the young generation is more prepared for this education system than the previous one. At the same time, young people under 30 years account for a third of the unemployed registered with the employment services. “What is the reason? The lack of knowledge or inflated requirements of employers?” the head of state asked. He believes that the reasons for that are unjustified expectations of job seekers. There is plenty of work in the country; however, university graduates want everything at once. They do not want to start from lower positions; they believe they deserve the highest salary possible. For example, a fledgling lawyer does not want to understand what losses his firm might incur if a multimillion contract is entrusted to him, not to a more experienced colleague. A young engineer wants the same salary as a company chief, but he does not want to understand how many obstacles the latter had to overcome to get where he is.

“Nothing comes all at once. No one can speed along the highway without starting a car and gaining speed or even without skidding to a halt. Listen, education is just a driving license, while many years of driving experience is needed to become the best in the profession, to climb the career ladder and to make good money,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state stressed that one of the priorities of the BRSM Youth Union is to find and train such leaders who will engage Belarusian youth in the activities that are important for the entire society and the state. Competence, engagement, independence, and especially social responsibility for the future of the country should be the main qualities for young citizens.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, teachers and mentors play a key role in the process. The best scientists and researchers should be involved in it. However, this practice has been undeservingly neglected by state bodies and organizations although mentoring is a unique method of support in the process of education and promotion of workers. Mentoring facilitates professional development of young workers, promotes professional adaptation, and creates a consolidated team.

“The unsatisfactory level of personnel assistance programs in the field of the state youth policy is a rather serious problem. We do not have a comprehensive system for coordinating the youth policy with other public activities. In spite of numerous programs, certain civil servants from the personnel pool are not promoted at work,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. For example, in 2013 civil servants under 29 years accounted for 16% of all civil servants in Belarus. Legislative bodies employ only 3% of young specialists, local executive bodies employ slightly more than 11% of young workers.

The President stated that the focus on personnel rejuvenation is a modern policy in all industries.

The head of state drew special attention to the student construction team movement. “We have discussed this topic many times and you know my opinion. I will always support them because student construction teams are not only a good school for the youth but also a strong personnel pool.”

The President reminded that the goal was once set to restore the student construction team movement.

“It is understandable that receiving a student construction team in a region is a troublesome matter. Credit should be given to the BRSM, governors and employers who help young people, provide them with an opportunity to earn money and enhance the prestige of blue-collar jobs,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, student construction teams are a good school for future policymakers and corporate managers. Student construction teams should be set up in every region of Belarus. Employers and local authorities should provide all necessary conditions for BRSM student construction teams. An example to follow is the all Belarusian youth building project at the nuclear power plant near Ostrovets. The President supported the proposal to have the student construction team movement developed in every region.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the BRSM Youth Union has played a leading role in the development of the Belarusian information space. "We need to work further in the virtual space in order to develop youth movement in the country, and promote the civil and patriotic positions of young citizens," the President said.

According to the head of state, in many ways such features of the modern youth all over the world as openness, sociability and responsiveness are shaped by the global computer network. Many young people live in the Internet. We can say that there is a specific group of young people whose worldview is formed on the Internet and through it.

However, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted with regret that the amount of information does not always mean quality. In his opinion, the World Wide Web has become the arena of information warfare where it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to distinguish truth from falsehood, a sincere expression from a provocation. There is an intense competition for the Internet community, and its leaders. There have been attempts to encourage Internet users to the destructive actions.

Addressing the young people, the President said: "I would like you to be able to find the truth in an endless avalanche of information. Learn to verify it, take everything with a grain of salt and think over what you read or see on the web. Learn to resist manipulations, distinguish truth from falsehood. You can clearly navigate through the flows of information. At the same time, you should not lose the spiritual values, principles of morality of our people. You must remain citizens of the country. Do not think of the Internet as a space for communication. This is its important function, but not the main one. Its main value is that it has become a technology platform for all walks of life, especially manufacturing industry. This is fundamentally important for our country.”

The Internet, bio- and nanotechnologies, other science-intensive industries should become a locomotive of the Belarusian economy, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. According to the head of state, successful development of these industries will have an influence on the wellbeing of our people and the authority of the country.

He noted that Belarus is proud of our software engineers who manufacture innovative products that are popular on the international market. It took a few years to create the software industry in Belarus which is as good as in the leading countries of Europe and Asia. For example, resident companies of the Hi-Tech Park export almost 90% of products. This impressive achievement relies on the talent and perseverance of young software engineers who have a lot of ideas and are ready to work hard to implement them.

The President stressed that the future is in the hands of highly-qualified specialists who are concerned about the future of Belarus. “New hi-tech jobs have been created for you with the involvement of our foreign partners at the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets, at the industrial park Great Stone, at the new enterprise that makes electric trains, other facilities in the manufacturing sector, agricultural industry, energy sector. It is possible to find good well-paid jobs in the country today,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the support of young families will remain among the top priorities in Belarus.

“We should admit that we probably have tried too hard to shield young people from any difficulties. You cannot cheat life. If you fail to get used to overcoming small difficulties, you will never be able to deal with the bigger ones,” the head of state remarked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the volume of housing construction will be increased in the regions and reduced in Minsk. “More often young families decide to have children when they have their own dwelling. Someone will condemn it as being too pragmatic. Yes, it is. But it is patriotic as well. It is a guarantee that children will be provided with all necessary conditions for development,” the President believes.

“The poll says that the youth is ready for internal migration for the sake of their families and children. It is a very good sign. The new technologies give a possibility to assess the advantages of the young people living in the regions and having a decent and interesting work. These include healthy environment, work and social facilities within walking distance, and the opportunity to address the housing issue more quickly,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the young generation has a serious and well-weighted attitude towards children. In his words, the state’s new program Big Family launched in 2015 is aimed at these socially responsible young people.

“The family well-being lays a foundation for the well-being of the nation. Only this formula is able to secure prosperity,” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.

The President said that one of the major priorities of the youth is the readiness to protect the Homeland.

“It is not a pretentious statement, but the requirement of life. Unfortunately, the 21st century did not relieve the mankind from the atrocities of war. What is happening in the world, especially in the vicinity of our borders, virtually on the threshold of our home, makes us recollect the lessons of history and the precepts of the generation of victors about the need to do our best to guard the Fatherland, protect peace and accord in the native land,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that youth projects, including those to preserve the memory of the feat of the Great Patriotic War veterans, are extremely important today. “If we forget about this Great Victory, if we lose what we cannot lose, we will lose our future. Therefore, your efforts to commemorate the events which took place in the middle of the 20th century are very important for our society. That is why, they are supported and will be supported by the authorities,” the head of state stressed.

The President emphasized that young army officers are present at the conference. “They have chosen one of the most challenging and important jobs which is a backbone of the normal life, normal conditions for labor and development in any state. The readiness to fight for the native land, for children and families is another testimony of patriotism,” the Belarusian leader believes.

“The state will do its utmost to turn defenders of the Homeland into a genuine pride of the nation. But every one of us, regardless of profession, must make a contribution to the enhancement of the state and enrichment of its national legacy. Then the Belarusian people will be confident of their ability to protect the sovereignty and independence of the country,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also touched upon such issues as culture and healthcare.

According to the President, in the era of globalization, national culture does not lose its relevance. "There is a common opinion that in today's world there is no place for national cultures, and that they are being replaced by the global one. I think this is not true. Every nation has its own coordinate system, the course of development predetermined by its historical experience and culture. Through the national culture we perceive the world. Whether we join economic alliances, assimilate technology, or commune with the world culture, we still perceive everything through ourselves. This allows us to survive, "digest", if you will, the globalization and assimilate only those things that strengthen us,” the head of state remarked.

"Culture is what makes a Belarusian Belarusian in any part of the globe. It is not only our rich heritage, literature, music and architecture, but the language that we should know, the history that we should remember and the values which we should respect,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

According to the President, integration, meeting people of other traditions, of other social experience, make us look closer at ourselves. In this connection Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship which Belarus hosted in May last year for the first time. "Our guests saw us as a unique European nation. Our openness and friendliness, calmness and hospitality have surprised the visitors and made ourselves proud. And here I would like to address the praise to the youth, those girls and guys who worked as volunteers and did everything so that the visitors could see the best side of Belarus and its people,” he said, thanking the youth for this.

“The human resources, student construction brigades, projects, technologies, positions and titles we have just discussed – we will have everything if our youth are healthy in all the meanings of this word. After all, we will not achieve prosperity today or tomorrow without healthy youth. People can be a success only if they maintain a truly healthy lifestyle,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about addictions and health threats. “Every day doctors bring back to life young Belarusians intoxicated by the so-called spice and other substances. It is the worst thing happening with the youth. What can be worse than to lose a young life because of substance abuse? There are reasons to be seriously concerned about our future. We need to tackle this problem by concerted effort through an active lifestyle, through sport. We need to resolve the issue by all means,” the President emphasized.

According to the head of state, one needs to use all opportunities to take teenagers and the youth away from the street and to make them busy with useful things, so that they will not have a single moment to think about this poison. “After all, this is the number one task of the BRSM. The work of the youth union will make sense only if it starts addressing youth problems with the help of the youth. This is what it was designed for,” the President noted.

“We live in a new era, in a competitive environment, amidst the increasing information flow and internal and external challenges, when some odd way of life is imposed from outside, when vice, violence and destruction are cultivated and promoted,” the head of state said. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that health hazards threatening young people are a matter of serious concern.

Aleksandr Lukashenko backed the initiatives of the youth and instructed the Belarus President Administration to work an action plan taking into account the proposals voiced at the 42nd conference of the BRSM Youth Union.

“You feel responsibility. You make good proposals. It means that the BRSM is a mature organization,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he would like the year 2015 which was declared the Year of Youth on the initiative of the BRSM to bring noticeable results.

“Suggest your specific ideas, organize a great number of events that would benefit our community and be remembered by many generations,” the head of state added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that people have always regarded the young years as the time of deep hopes and manifold opportunities. “This is the best time of your life. Make your dreams come true and stay committed to your goals. Put all your heart, your energy and efforts into achieving them,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko presented the transferable banner instituted by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus to the Dvina student construction team which was praised as the best student construction team in 2014.