Solemn meeting dedicated to Belarus Independence Day

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The principal foundation of our security and independence is unity and accord in the society, peace and order inside the country, steady development of the economy, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the solemn meeting dedicated to Belarus Independence Day on 1 July.

The President noted that these days of July are special days in the Belarusian calendar. “No matter how much time has passed since the Great Patriotic War, we return to the summer of 1944 again and again. The Belarusian nation decided to celebrate the main state holiday of sovereign Belarus on this day,” the Belarusian leader said.

“We cherish the memory of the horrible victims of the war, the great feat of millions of soldiers and officers, partisans and underground fighters, peaceful citizens who defended the freedom of our Fatherland,” the President stressed. Some people say that Belarus got independence and sovereignty without wars and turmoil almost for a song. However, we had to go a long, difficult and bloody way to independence. During the Great Patriotic War Belarus lost millions of people, one third of our people was killed or tortured.

“We must never forget that Belarus put up massive resistance to aggressors,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He noted that in the years of invasion there was a true fight for freedom and independence of the native land which united people, produced the biggest uplift of patriotism and courage in history.

“Our partisans and underground fighters opened their front of resistance in the first days of the war. They contained the enemy’s tremendous force and paralyzed the movement of troops during the rail war and partisan raids, liberated huge territories which can be compared to the territories of a number of European countries from invaders. Almost 1.5 million Belarusian soldiers fought in the Red Army. People from Belarus worked hard in the rear to provide the front with weapons and food,” the head of state said.

“We and our descendants must always remember that Soviet people played a crucial role in saving the mankind from Nazism! It is the Soviet Union, including Belarus, that put the biggest sacrifice on the altar of the victory,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the labor feat of those generations will never be forgotten. “After the liberation of Belarus they restored the country from ruins. With the help of fraternal Soviet Union republics Belarusians breathed life in the native land. During the post-war years we created strong scientific and manufacturing potential, developed new branches of the economy, promoted education, culture and social sector,” the President noted. He said that the republic advanced to leading economic positions in the Soviet Union.

“Peaceful policy of the young independent state as well as its independence is a hard won achievement of our nation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. In his words, the acknowledgement of Belarus’ big contribution to the victory over fascism was an important political result of World War II. Our country was one of the founders of the United Nations Organization. “Belarus is by right considered a full-fledged subject of international politics. We have put forward a number of crucial initiatives in the United Nations to prevent international drug trade and human trafficking, promoted traditional family values,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to the head of state, the fact that Belarus became the center of regulation of international conflicts shows that the world sees the sincerity, honesty and openness of the Belarusian policy. “Our friendship is never directed against anyone. Belarus will never speculate on interstate contradictions. We will never try to advance our interests to the prejudice of anyone,” the Belarusian leader said.

“But we demand the same sincere, open and respectful attitude to our country. We are ready to be friends, to help and cooperate with everyone only on the principles of mutual benefits and equality,” the head of state stressed.

He noted that the contemporary history of sovereign Belarus showed that any attempts to isolate the state are futile.

He emphasized that nowadays Belarus does its best to expand the geography of contacts, strengthens relations with such big countries as China and India, advances cooperation with Latin America countries, looks for the areas of common interest with the states of Africa and Southeast Asia. The President noted that Belarus has already got tangible results from these efforts.

The participation in large-scale integration processes helps Belarus bolster its positions on the international arena. Belarus has initiated the establishment of such integration associations in the post-Soviet space as the Union State of Belarus and Russia, the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the high-profile project of the Eurasian Economic Union involves several hundreds of millions of people and has the gross domestic product of $2.2 trillion. According to the Belarusian leader, this is an opportunity to overcome the crisis together and to find new ways of development.

Belarus is engaged in China’s global initiative to create the new Silk Road which is a perfect addition to the Eurasian Economic Union project since it will be situated at the crossroads of trade routes, the President noted.

The Belarusian head of state noted with regret that the world has not become safer. "Reports of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, and local wars have become daily news today. For the first time since the Great Patriotic War we have battles right near our borders, not only somewhere far away. It is becoming more evident that we are going back to the Cold War,” the Belarusian leader said.

"Stability and prosperity of vast regions of the planet are sacrificed for the geopolitical interests of the superpowers," the President said.

"Considering the bitter lessons of the first months of the Great Patriotic War, we must be prepared to repel any foreign aggression. Therefore, we should always keep our powder dry!” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.

"Our country pursues a multifaceted peaceful policy but still has to reinforce its armed forces," said the Belarusian leader. According to him, the Belarusian army gets new equipment and weapons, new personnel of highest qualifications. The country has created the reliable systems of border control and territorial defense.

"I can say to our ill-wishers if there are any left: saber-rattling near the Belarusian borders is a waste of time," stressed the President.

“But the principal foundation of our security and independence is unity and accord in the society, peace and order inside the country, steady development of the economy,” noted the head of state.

“The social state model that we have chosen allows protecting common people not only in favorable economic conditions but also in complicated ones,” stressed the President. He went on saying that Belarus is being pressured into rejecting the model.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that not only Belarus has been strongly affected by the recent global economic crisis and the regional one. “But our open economy is sensitive to changes on foreign markets. It also suffers due to the war of sanctions waged by the West and Russia,” said the Belarusian leader.

“But these difficulties are temporary and absolutely surmountable. We have decently gone through harder trials in the course of our recent history!” stressed the President.

“Do you remember the desperate situation Belarus faced at the end of the previous century? The USSR collapsed. The dreadful Chernobyl catastrophe delivered a devastating blow to the economy and living standards. In the early 1990s Belarus was on the edge of an abyss. The treasury was empty, the enterprises stood idle, there was no agriculture to talk about. And then vast lands affected by the Chernobyl fallout were withdrawn from the economy and required the injection of huge additional resources on top of that. We didn’t have enough money to pay salaries, pensions, and social benefits. It seemed the end was near back then!” reminded the head of state.

“But our nation survived just like it did after the war. We survived and built our own state,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“We have come up with our own social and economic development model. It is not a textbook model. It was determined by people’s wisdom, sound sense, and our experience,” remarked the President.

“We protected the country from looters. Belarus is the only socialist bloc country, the only CIS country to prevent public assets from being pillaged and stolen,” said the head of state. “We have created a strong top-down command structure, we have revived government planning.” Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that Russia is considering reviving the practice. “It turns out that planning is not an entirely bad thing and it is necessary to revive it part by part. We revived it earlier and were mocked for it. Our five-year development plans and annual plans were mocked. But how can a society or even one man live without setting some goals to accomplish? A plan is a goal we should strive for,” noted the President. “We wisely combine planning with support for private initiatives.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that as a result of the efforts Belarus’ production sector has reached new heights within several years, agribusiness has been revived as well as the civil engineering industry. Belarus was the first ex-USSR country to reach pre-perestroika economy levels and double them. Other countries, including Russia, have not reached even pre-perestroika production levels.

“Certainly, one always desires more. A lot more has yet to be done. A lot has yet to be accomplished. There is still space for us to grow into and develop,” said the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that as far as living standards are concerned, Belarus is way ahead of its partners in the Eurasian Economic Union and other post-Soviet countries according to internationally recognized independent experts.

“Today’s economic problems are certainly complicated. But they are not in the same league with the problems we had to deal with in the 1990s. We survived back then and we will survive today!” Aleksandr Lukashenko was convinced.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that due to various reasons the state of affairs in several Belarusian enterprises is complicated. “Systemic decisions are now being sought to improve the management of the enterprises and work out new support schemes,” said the head of state.

The Belarus President remarked that a number of decisions had been made to help out many troubled enterprises. “I have warned everyone including members of the government and managers of these enterprises: god forbid, if the promised support measures are not implemented, we will treat it as sabotage,” stated the Belarusian leader.

“We cannot allow any ill-advised actions. No mass layoffs, surplus to requirements and things like that. We have to preserve the labor collectives and jobs. It is the key task because crises come and go but once the crisis is over and labor collectives and enterprises are destroyed, we will have nothing to rely on and protect our independence with,” noted the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that only responsible investors will work in Belarus.

“I recall how individual citizens decried some convictions. They’ve been recently saying that it was Lukashenko that put those people into prison. It will be the fate of everyone, who comes to our land in order to line their pockets and destroy labor collectives,” said the Belarus President.

“I tell the same thing to any investors, western, domestic, or eastern ones: treat our country and our nation like you treat you family. Don’t be a cheapskate, don’t fatten your wallets. Give something first to the people you have promised happiness to. If you don’t do it, you will not work here and we don’t need such investments in our economy. We can handle our economy on our own,” stressed the head of state. He added: “If you come here, you have to work.”

“They say that those, who are willing, look for opportunities, those, who are unwilling, look for excuses. Today is the time of opportunities,” stressed the President.

The head of state said that Belarus had stepped up export diversification efforts in view of the shrinking Russian market. “Our new approach to export is as follows: one third has to be shipped to the Eurasian Economic Union, one third to the European Union, another third to far arc countries (Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and Africa). It is the balanced geography of export that will allow Belarus to secure foreign trade surplus by 2020,” said the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that new high-tech manufacturing is in demand today. “Future belongs to science-intensive industries. They should be the engine of economic development. They should provide jobs to highly-trained personnel and increase the inflow of foreign currency to Belarus,” said the head of state.

“Without doubting the importance of investing in manufacturing I would like to underline that intellectual resources are the most important kind of resources for us. It is this kind that lies at the foundation of the new economy. It is no accident that we plan to coordinate the development of the new economy’s branches with applied and fundamental research and state R&D programs,” said the Belarusian leader. In his opinion, the goals should be furthered through the improvement of the education industry, the quality of personnel training, and better performance of research institutions as part of the modernization of the economy and the assimilation of state-of-the-art technologies.

“It turns out we are a thorn in someone’s side. It turns out that this poor small central European country still lives on without a war! I would like to tell those people: there will be no wars in Belarus, we will find our happiness through peaceful means the way we have always done,” said the Belarusian leader.

“We are proud of the fact that peace, tranquility and order are the key accomplishments of our country. Neither development nor prosperity is possible without them. It is the foundation, on which everything else rests — the national economy, personal wealth of every person, and happy lives for us and our children,” noted the head of state.

“Preserving peace, accord, and order is not only a state function. If you’d like, it is the duty of every person who sincerely loves their native land and their native home,” said the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that a lot has been said recently about independence, in particular, it has been said that independence gives freedom, prosperity, peace, stability, and the right to live in one’s own home. “All of it is correct. From my point of view, independence is an opportunity. Benefits of independence don’t happen by themselves. These benefits are the result of painstakingly heavy labor for the sake of using the available opportunities. It is necessary to remember that independence costs a lot. And the price our nation has paid is the price for becoming independent. We pay now and will pay a lot in the future to preserve independence. There is no other choice if we want to live in our own country, our own land, make it more beautiful and leave it to our children,” said the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the economic development has always been aimed at improving the quality of life and well-being. "We will never compromise this principle. Belarus is the state for the people,” underlined the Belarusian leader.

He noted that prosperity and well-being primarily depend on the man himself, his leadership, responsibility and energy, his readiness to use the opportunities offered to him by the state.

"All the best we have achieved in the recent history of Belarus is our common achievement. Together we build industrial and agricultural facilities, new homes, schools, kindergartens, culture and sports centers. Together we are strong and invincible,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked the veterans and wished them to stay healthy for many years to come. “The longer the veterans of the Great Patriotic War live, the stronger our country will be. But for them and their memory, things would have been much tougher for us," he said.

The President wished Happy Independence Day to all Belarusian people.