Aleksandr Lukashenko attends youth forum “Youth. Traditions. Future” 

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President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko wished young people to find their place in life. The head of state made the statement at the youth forum “Youth. Traditions. Future” on 29 October.

The forum was held in the anniversary of Komsomol and the student brigades movement.

Partaking in the forum were more than 700 people.

Today they often say with regret or bitterness that young people have become more pragmatic, the President noted. “It seems to me that this is nothing more than a sign of the time. And I cannot say exactly whether it is good or bad. After all, pragmatism means not only greed and selfishness. It has other sides too: a sober outlook on life, freedom from illusions and responsibility for the present and future,” the President said.

According to the President, these traits have always been characteristic of western youth, who early in life start preparing to compete in a tough market. "But our young people who used to rely on parents, the state, and some on just sheer luck, were lacking these traits," said the Belarusian leader.

“Today, whether we like it or not, our country has an open economy and is part of the global market. Therefore the competition laws apply to us as well. It is not bad that some young people have adopted the new rules of the game. Another thing what conclusions have been made,” said the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that not every young man learned a simple truth: the foundation of everything is hard work. "It is a very alarming situation. On the one hand, there is little interest among young people to complex scientific disciplines. On the other hand, physical work is not in demand either. Some do not want to work by head or hands. They want everything and at once,” the President noted.

However, Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that among the participants of the forum, there is not a single person with a "minus". "We have thousands, tens, hundreds of thousands of beautiful, honest, dedicated workers. They are the vast majority. But there are also many slackers and drunkards. You can disagree with me and argue, but there are objective facts. Our labor productivity has been chronically behind not only European countries and the United States, but also many Asian countries," said the head of state.

“Of course, this is not just about young people. But today young people do not preach hard work but some other things – easy gains, luck. Even those who are willing to work perceive the work not as a pleasure, not as an opportunity of self-realization, but as a hard, forced necessity. Therefore the student summer work brigade movement, your romanticized attitude to work is very important to the youth of today,” said the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the student summer work brigades movement must serve good beacons and guidelines for all young people. "Thanks to you we will teach the young people who are not accustomed to work how to work. Consumption is becoming the purpose and meaning of life. Work, professionalism and creativity are pushed to the backyards of consciousness. This is why the student summer work brigades movement, your employment initiatives are important for today's youth,” the President said.

The President noted that the attitude to work in the countries that have reached great heights in the economy is different. “Small, medium and big business in the West, East Asia is the brainchild of the people obsessed with not only and not so much the idea of enrichment. More often they are driven by a desire to prove that they are the best at what they do. It is these hard-working people and professionals, not speculators and swindlers, who have contributed to the achievements in the so-called developed countries.

“In Soviet times, they tried to keep the prestige of labor high. Unfortunately, the Soviet reality often generated laziness and idleness and undermined this ideology. But today it should become the basis of the ideology of the new generation. Otherwise we just have no future,” said the President.

Speaking about knowledge and education sphere, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus had managed to preserve a lot of the valuable Soviet age legacy. “Moreover, we’ve been intent on keeping up with times and it seems to me we have managed to achieve that to a large degree,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. The fact is confirmed by high positions at international academic excellence competitions and the high global demand for young specialists and scientists, who have been trained in Belarus.

Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that values in this field had been re-evaluated. Education is now easily available for the masses and therefore has lost its former glory. Many people can easily forget about their university degrees in favor of low-qualification but lucrative jobs. “All the factors combined, we cannot always preserve what the Soviet age had: the colossal prestige of knowledge, the desire to create, endeavor, and the huge respect for intellect and education degrees. The same problems are felt across the entire ex-USSR space,” stated the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko attributed the situation to one fact, in particular. He said that at a certain time some people managed to get rich fast regardless of their means and now young people covet their achievements and try to repeat them. Meanwhile, jokes are made about a scientist, a pedagogue, a university professor, who encourages youngsters to study well but is paid a low salary. These stereotypes have evolved in the public mind and have contributed to the fall of the prestige of intellectual labor, noted the Belarusian leader.

As an answer to the problem the Belarus President advised young citizens to study hard so that science could become an inalienable part of their blood and flesh.

“It may seem paradoxical but a romantic, who is dedicated to his or her beloved science, will be better off financially in 10-15 years than a pragmatist, who strives for financial success only,” Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced.

The Belarusian leader said: “Just like all the ex-USSR countries Belarus has lived through a complicated and turbulent period of establishment to reach a steady way of development. I cannot promise you fast and easy money: you will have to achieve through your own intellect and labor. The age of professionals is about to begin in all fields from manufacturing and business to arts and entertainment industry”.

According to the Belarus President, true professionalism goes beyond skills and experience. Knowledge that surpasses the restrictions of the chosen profession as well as dedication to the job have to be added to the mix. The two components enable people to think out of the box and strive for inspirations that bring about brilliant ideas and discoveries. “Consider education as long-term and most profitable investments in your own selves,” said the head of state.

Speaking about patriotism, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that young people of Belarus should develop a life-long immunity to radical ideologies.

“Our country should interrupt the sad tradition of the last century when everything was destroyed down to the rock bottom and we had to start from scratch every three decades. It is the youth that should have their say by developing a life-long immunity against destructive and radical ideologies,” the head of state said.

“We need to move forward confidently and firmly, consistently and gradually. Indeed, we need to fix a lot of things and we need to build a lot of things. However, we will do it on our own, we will add on, instead of destroying,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that every person living in Belarus should take care of the country by means of their work, decent attitude to each other and, most importantly, unity. “Nothing is more dangerous for a young independent country than domestic discord and strife. They pose the major threat to any young nation – radical ideas of revolutions and shocks that urge to destroy everything to the ground for the sake of another myth of the better tomorrow. According to the President, the entire history of Belarus speaks against revolutions and shocks. “In the last century our country reached the ceiling of wars, revolutions and shocks,” the head of state said. He added that no generation of Belarusians was lucky enough to live a peaceful, calm and safe life.

“Although young people always want radical transformations and immediate changes, I call upon you to think over the lessons of the history. Did these shocks make anyone happy? No, they would only bring confusion, misery and destruction. Never ever would they go without bloodshed,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President reminded of the Palace of Independence as the symbol of the Belarusian statehood. He noted that the palace was built by Belarusian specialists from local raw materials and is the embodiment of the capabilities of Belarusians. This will not be a not-go place, on the opposite; it will host landmark events and will be the place where children will join the Pioneers.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the government relies on BRSM while implementing its youth policy. The organization incorporates nearly half a million people or one fifth of the country’s youth.

The President pointed to a number of areas where the union should ramp up efforts in order to maintain its leading position.

“We do not hide that we set ideological and political tasks for BRSM. However, these tasks are not about turning its members into someone’s “hawks” and “falcons”. Its major objective is to instill patriotic feelings into young people. “You will not be able to blame me for urging someone to take bats, stones and throw them at someone. During my entire life as a president I tried to prevent young people from doing it. Therefore, we need young people who love their motherland,” the head of state said.

“People with a solid civil position who were trained by BRMS make up a time-tested talent pool. The country will appreciate your out-of-the-box solutions, ideas, and energy that will help make the most of our natural, geographic and intellectual resources with a view to promoting and introducing the latest technologies, developing up-to-date managerial solutions in economy,” the President emphasized.

The President believes that the BRSM should work harder to encourage young people to fulfill their potential in their native country.

He noted that anyone can make good money in Belarus. “You can find a job to any taste here if you want,” the head of state said. The President advised young people against trying to start a business right away to be a boss there. The head of state noted that it is not as easy to be a businessman as it seems and not everyone is capable of being a businessman. “Get a profession and give this profession a try. Take your time before quitting it,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about student construction brigades. In his words, from 2002 to 2013 the number of people working in student construction brigades soared 25 times. The President believes that these people should be provided with work and decent remuneration. Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked governors for creating enough jobs for students. “Student construction brigades are only part of labor traditions of the youth. We should consider reviving “komsomol tours”, “komsomol brigades”, “komsomol construction projects” that will help channel the energy of the youth into breakthrough economic projects,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that BRSM should supervise the work with creative youth. “Young people are able to understand their peers better. The new generation of intellectuals will shape the modern culture that will become a decent reflection of our era. Think what you can do in this field. We will help materialize your initiatives,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned BRSM’s project “100 ideas for Belarus”. According to the President, it is vitally important now to translate ideas into action using the resources of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and innovative funds of ministries. The head of state instructed the National Academy of Sciences and the government to select a dozen most promising ideas that can be launched in the nearest future. “We will find the necessary funding,” the President said.

“We view BRSM as a kind of catalyst of youth activities. Look how many useful initiatives originate in the youth environment. Perpetuating the memory of heroes of the Great Patriotic War, especially in the run-up to the 70th  anniversary of the Victory, helping the sick and the disabled, looking for lost people, confronting illegal “archeologists”, protecting animals – these and other projects were inspired by energetic and pro-active people. One of the tasks of your union is to notice such people, help them, coordinate the efforts of volunteers and government agencies,” the head of state said.

“Your generation lives in a very interesting time. The progress is gaining momentum; the pace of changes is increasing. You will see (and not only see) how the world will transform beyond the fantasies of the most bold Hollywood directors. Each young person should find their place in life and fulfill their potential,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko approves of the idea to declare the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant a youth project.

The head of state promised that he will discuss the initiative together with President of Russia Vladimir Putin because the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be built with assistance of Russian specialists.

“We are building the power plant together with brotherly Russia. I promise that in the near future we will discuss the initiative together with President Putin in order to make this construction project and maybe the next nuclear station that Russia is going to build in Kalingrad our common youth construction projects. It seems the right move to do it for this construction project,” said the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko has suggested designating 2015 as a Year of Young People in Belarus.

“This will be a very challenging year; I am saying that without any implications. This year will determine the future of our country in many ways. Let it be the way you decide, you are to make your own decisions that year,” the head of state said.