Aleksandr Lukashenko holds press conference for Russian regional mass media
On 16 October President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko held a press conference for Russian regional mass media.
The press conference of the head of the state traditionally closed the press tour of Russian reporters in Belarus. Partaking in the press tour were 90 journalists of 80 Russian mass media. The aggregate circulation of newspapers partaking in the press tour makes almost three million copies.
During the press conference which took place at the National Library the President was asked about social, economic, and political development of Belarus, relations between Belarus and Russia. Reporters were also interested in the CIS integration and the formation of the Single Economic Space.
"Over the past decade, we have witnessed many, I would even say, momentous events in the life of our nations. Our countries have passed a difficult way over this relatively short period of time. There was everything from sharp disputes, even conflicts between Russia and Belarus to brotherly support in very difficult moments of history,” the head of state said.
“Most importantly is that we have made sure that Belarus and Russia cannot do without each other in this turbulent and ever-competitive world. Nobody wants to see our countries strong and independent but we ourselves. The competition today is intense as ever. The mighty of the world flout all the rules, written and unwritten. Therefore the Belarusians and Russians are simply forced to fight for their place under the sun, a decent place, which our peoples certainly deserve. Life has already proved that together we can achieve anything,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Speaking about the Union State of Belarus and Russia, the President noted that this process should be seen as an absolutely right and far-seeing step. “I should say that as for today this process is the most advanced in the post-Soviet space. We have not made such progress even in the Single Economic Space. The relations in the Belarusian-Russian union are considerably deeper,” the Belarusian leader said.
“It is a truly unique integration association. We have developed a system which, if the elites of the two states desire, might help us make a huge step forward to a powerful state union,” the head of state is confident.
President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko suggests using integration practices of the Belarus-Russia Union State to build the Single Economic Space (SES) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “If we have an opportunity to work profoundly in this area, namely the SES and the Eurasian Economic Union, we should advance it to the level of the Union State, literally removing borders, visas and other things (as we did it with Russia) and move forward,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President remarked that the Belarusian political system is in principle the same as the one used in Russia. However, some Russian politicians criticize the majority-based system used to elect members of the parliament in Belarus. “I have been elected more than once and I have been a member of the parliament. Looking at Russia, I know well what a party system is and I know well what a majority system is,” the head of state said. “A party system involves 2-3 well-known people at the top while nobody knows the rest of the party members. The system gets nearly bandits and oligarchs, who have made a fortune by some unknown ways, elected and people do not know it. Is it a good system? I do not think so”.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, although there are 15 political parties in Belarus people know well only some of them. “I think that the party system has yet to evolve. Parties should not be created when suggested by the authorities. It is clear what attitude a pro-government party will face. Therefore, I do npt support this process in Belarus. But since we are not mature yet and have not formed this party system, people should elect their representatives district by district. And we have enabled any party to nominate candidates even if they do not have a representative in a specific district,” the President said.
“But in the future we might want to advance towards this party-based system. We are not slowing down the process. I have promised that I will not spur the process of the formation of political parties and their maturity. I will not prevent it and will support it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Speaking about the domestic policy, the President said: “You can see it. Everything should be and is done for the nation. It is the key thing. It is not a populism statement. It is my policy, the nation has elected me and we should do our best for the people without nudging and indulging the people, without creating excessive preferences for idling,” the head of state stressed. “But we clearly understand that people’s rights should be observed. And genuine rights at that!”
Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned criticism regarding the observance of human rights in Belarus and referred to events in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, and France as an example. “200-300 people were detained at a time,” he remarked. “I think that the human right is primarily the right to life. Around the human life we should build everything, primarily security. It includes the right to labor, to a normal salary so that the person could pay for utilities and feed the family,” the President stressed. “If you want to be rich, the state does not have to care about that. We should create conditions but, if you want to be rich or an oligarch, you have to work hard for it”.
According to the President, Belarus is working to diversify the economy, to increase the use of local materials in manufacturing industry.
“Approximately 80-85% of our economy is bound for export. Here in Belarus we do not consume much of what we manufacture. This structure has evolved since the Soviet times. We have not abandoned it but started to diversify. One of the most important challenges facing the country today, and, of course, the President, is the diversification of the economy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
"We have made a decision to diversify the economy, to modernize and ramp up production and encourage the enterprises that operate on local raw materials,” the head of state said.
Agriculture has been rapidly growing, the head of state said. “We will be able to both provide the Belarusian people with food and export $5 billion worth of agricultural produce this year,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. In two years agricultural exports will reach $7 billion, he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed the he is vehemently against barbaric privatization. “I vehemently oppose barbarous privatization which is called grab-what-you-can privatization here. Why do we need to sell anything created by people, anything that operates well and generates profit for the state, i.e. the people?” the President said.
According to the President, there are no lists of enterprises awaiting privatization in Belarus. “We can sell any company, either fully or piecemeal. But we sell them at a certain market price,” the head of state said.
In conclusion, the President stressed that Belarus and Russia should support each other. “We cannot lose what we have acquired with you,” he said.