Aleksandr Lukashenko visits Museum of Modern Belarusian Statehood

    Over just two decades – which is a tiny period in historical terms – despite the unbelievable external pressure, we have built in fact a new European country, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said while visiting the Museum of Modern Belarusian Statehood.

    The Modern Belarusian Statehood Museum was created as a branch of the National History Museum of Belarus.

    It is intended to become one of the centers for collection, study and presentation of materials on the contemporary history of Belarus. The main leitmotiv of the expositions are achievements of the country during the years of independence, international recognition of national identity of the Belarusian people and the sovereignty of the Belarusian State.

    The museum is unmatched in Eastern European countries. The museum makes an extensive use of multimedia technology: touch screen kiosks, “smart light” system, e-guest book.

    The exposition is located in several halls and is dedicated to the modern history of Belarus from 1994 to the present day. The museum narrates about the formation of the presidential state, constitutional reforms, the national symbols, government bodies.

    The museum displays the first presidential decrees, samples of state awards, prizes from the largest theater and music festivals, achievements in industry, agriculture, science, education, culture and sports.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko also paid a visit to the Presidential Library of the Republic of Belarus.

    The President of Belarus stressed that the museum and the library should be open to everyone.

    At present the library caters for government officials, MPs and the general public. The collections of the library are estimated at 1.4 million items. About 37,000 people visit the library every year.

    The collections of the library are kept in four buildings in different parts of the city. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to bring all the collections together and place them in the building at 38 Karl Marx Street. The head of state ordered to revise the number of staff and the collections of the library.

    “The Presidential library has its specifics. It should not be a branch of the National Library or its mini-copy. Therefore, its collections should be well-considered. People should come here for the things they cannot find anywhere else,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

    The new building of the library has 24 rooms. Thirteen of them house the chief record center that covers almost 2,500 square meters.

    The reference room of the library provides an access to the electronic catalogue and 10 thematic online databases.

    The Presidential Library pays a special attention to preserving printed documents; it does bookbinding and restoration works. The library has a special room with the necessary equipment.

    After the visit to the library the President met with a group of young social scientists.

    The President believes that the opening of the museum is of great political importance. All exhibits of the museum illustrate modern history of Belarus as an independent state.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that Belarus’ path to independence was long and difficult. “For centuries our lands passed from one state to another, and Belarusians were subjected to political, economic, and cultural oppression. This all is part of our history,” the President noted.

    The head of state believes that extraordinary resilience and willpower of Belarusians deserve respect. For centuries they quested for statehood and finally achieved the goal.

    “The older generation remembers what Belarus was in the heady 1990s: the economy was in crumbles, the authorities were powerless, and the unemployment and poverty were rampant. The country was actually balancing on the brink of the abyss. Probably, the Lord has saved us. We started to look for a way out, including politically,” the head of state reminded.

    “I remember those days when we were writing the Constitution and mulling over the post of the president. Many, especially the elite, wanted the president with limited powers. Everyone wanted a weak president. The president was elected, and I had to modernize the Constitution to take the country out of the dire straits we were in then,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    In his words, a political system, an executive branch, and a parliament were set up in the country.

    “I am not going to talk about specifics of the development of our country. Some call it a phenomenon. Let us not brag. Let us just say that we are following our own path. It is for the next generations to judge whether it was the right decision to do. But since there are improvements, this means this is one of the paths we were meant to have taken,” the President added.

    “We made most of the chance we got in the early 1990s. Over just two decades – which is a tiny period in historical terms – despite the unbelievable external pressure, we have built in fact a new European country,” the head of state said.

    “Our young state has showed that even a small country can make others respect it and pursue an independent foreign policy,” the President said.

    “You see the attitude of the West towards us; even the East does not understand us sometimes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. In his words, “It is not about the wrong regime, the wrong president or something else”. “I do not want to make comparisons, but they successfully collaborate with some regimes, because these regimes have oil, money and so on. A small country in the center of Europe decided to become independent? From who? From Russia, Poland or Lithuania which incorporated it before?” the President added.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko has underlined that Belarus has proved a success as a sovereign state. “They will have to keep this in mind. Sooner or later they will have to accept this,” the head of state said

    "Our goal is to create the state we and our children will be proud of,” the President stressed.

    According to the President, over the years of independence a lot has been done in Belarus, and a lot will be done in the future. Speaking about the structure of the power in the country, the President stressed: “Belarus has no resource for one-man rule. For this one needs resources which once Stalin, Brezhnev and Khrushchev had. They had a powerful country, huge resources. It is impossible here.”

    The Belarusian leader and young scientists talked over the prospects of Belarus’ economic development.

    “We should use our own resources and raw materials more,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

    The President stressed that one of the main tasks for the country this year is to reach a 5.5% growth in GDP.

    “As for inflation, if we have it at 18-19% this year (it cannot be lower as we have to level off the prices), I think we will be able to reduce it to 9-10% next year. Today we can pay more attention to microeconomy, focus on concrete projects. We have a lot of promising projects,” the head of state noted.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko and the social scientists discussed the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus. Disputes regarding the NPP construction in Belarus are still in place. Certain powers take attempts to block the project. “These are mostly those who have been paid for it, including our “fifth column”,” the President said.

    “Lithuania and Poland are among those who are the unhappiest about the project. Let us take a different approach to this issue. Lithuania plans to build its nuclear power plant only several kilometers away from ours. Then why do you cry it is bad and unsafe? Poland plans to construct two facilities of the kind. The problem here is that the one who builds it first wins. We are going to be the first to generate electricity and sell it,” the President noted.

    The President stressed that Belarus today is surrounded by operating NPPs. “We are building the safest facility, and Russia takes responsibility for it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, deeper Eurasian integration may give a boost to the development of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and other countries.

    According to the head of state, all internal borders have been removed inside the Single Economic Space for a free movement of goods, capitals and services. Yet Belarus and Kazakhstan have no equal access to the natural monopolies of Russia. “We should address these issues during the next step (up to 2015, a preset date for the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union). In economy everything should be as in one state. It is possible that economic processes will cause changes in the policy and the state system, will need the creation of some supranational structures,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko does not rule out that integration “will require remodeling of the political systems”. The issue of the single currency might be considered in the future. “We need to develop one economic state. This is our strategy. We should adjust our political systems to it,” the head of state said.

    In his words, the experience gained during the construction of the Belarus-Russia Union State will be very useful for the Eurasian integration.

    The participants of the meeting also discussed the issue of patriotic education.

    Speaking about what qualities helped the Belarusians win independence, the head of state said: “Discipline and education.” “We had driving forces that were ready to destroy. But at the same time we had people and intention to create. Belarusians have chosen the latter,” the President underlined.

    “The main thing for me is my people. Everything should be done for the benefit of the people,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he has become President only thanks to the people’s support: “I will never steal from my people. I will never cheat. This is strange to me."