General meeting of Belarusian National Union of Consumer Societies Belkoopsoyuz
Consumer societies remain relevant despite the changing working environment, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the general meeting of the Belarusian National Union of Consumer Societies Belkoopsoyuz on 8 October.
“The operating environment has changed dramatically. First of all, the financial and economic setting. But consumer societies remained true to their main goal - to benefit people,” the head of state noted.
“We need such honest, conscientious and time-tested people and we will always support them. Now, you are probably the only successful example of a trendy concept of public-private partnership, when it is not about idle talk and meaningless projects with the only goal to make money fast (preferably at the expense of the budget), but about the result and real work that is sometimes done not in the most comfortable conditions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to him, thanks to consumer societies, not a single person, even in the most remote village, is left behind. “In no case should you lose your authority and status. Your business model should proceed from your own customer-centered ideology. I think that the new chairman of the board, who was elected today, understands this,” the President said.
He emphasized the need to address the most pressing issues, many of which, unfortunately, became systemic.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled an in-joke that has been shared by domestic consumer societies since Soviet times - there are only two global systems: the solar system and the consumer societies system. “There is a grain of joke in this joke, like in many other jokes. Everything else is true. Every Belarusian knows what Belkoopsoyuz is, even young people living in the capital city if they at least once traveled outside the Minsk Ring Road,” he said.
The head of state drew attention to the fact that Belarus is the only country in the entire post-Soviet space to retain consumer societies and their important role in the country’s social infrastructure: “Yes, maybe it happened by chance, maybe because I knew very well what consumer societies were. When I worked in the parliament, I managed to protect and save you almost single-handedly. Not for you to thank me now. This was my functional responsibility as a member of the Supreme Soviet at that time. That is why I have the right, not only as the President, but also as a former MP, to demand good performance from you,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that it is difficult to find an area not permeated by consumer societies. They provide services to a third of the country's population, and employ 70,000 people. Throughout its long history - 104 years - Belkoopsoyuz has experienced many shocks and transformations.
“During the war you fed and clothed partisans, and when the war was over, you delivered scarce food staples to villagers (sugar, butter, fabrics) and exchanged them for villagers’ scarce products, like onions, eggs, berries, grain. You also started giving free breakfasts to rural schoolchildren. With all this, you have deserved our support,” the President said.