Meeting with Ambassador of Russia in Belarus Boris Gryzlov

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Ambassador of Russia in Belarus Boris Gryzlov on 12 May.

"Our relations have always been about oil, gas, trade, supplies,  market and so on. I have repeatedly noted that what has been happening lately is a blessing in disguise. After all, these issues are being addressed in our country. But this is probably not the main thing for us now in the relations,” the President noted. “When we meet with the Russian President we will seriously discuss import substitution as it is a very important issue. There are many competencies both in Belarus and in Russia. Well, due to certain reasons they were not evolving as they should have. It is good that we still have these competencies,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko cited a number of specific examples: "For example, our Integral company and what it produces. There are similar enterprises in Russia. We have a solid groundwork. Another example is Horizont. It makes a lot of goods for the aircraft industry, which the Russians did not know about, as I was recently informed. When we showed these products to Russia, everyone was surprised. They are related to spacecraft and aircraft control. We manufacture a lot of things for drones. Therefore, all our efforts should be concentrated on replacing imports."

These efforts should involve, first of all, science-intensive enterprises, including BelOMO, Peleng and others.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, there are good prospects for the development of cooperation in IT.

“We are not going to wrap it up. Some are saying that Lukashenko will kick out all the IT professionals now. I won’t. I created this park for a reason. It works and it will keep working. I am simply taking a closer look at the matter, this is why I need to meet with IT guys and not only in the park,” the President said.

He noted that the Hi-Tech Park in Belarus had given a nudge to the development of the IT sphere at all enterprises and the National Academy of Sciences. “I have to talk to them to find out what assistance is needed,” he said.

"I think that Russia and Belarus can do a lot here. We need to encourage our IT specialists to produce end products, rather than to be at beck and call of big companies. It is clear that this is about billions of dollars. Yet, we need to create a finished product from scratch and implement it here, in the post-Soviet space, first of all, in Belarus and Russia. There is room for growth here,” the head of state said.

He noted that it will certainly require certain amount of funds, but this is not huge money. “We can find it together. We can use the Union State budget for this,” the Belarusian leader noted.

"Cooperation and import substitution are the ways to move forward today," Aleksandr Lukashenko summed up.

"You know our position on other issues, starting from the special military operation and ending with the development strategy in space and so on. We abide by it. You don't even have to worry. You can always rely on Belarus," the President concluded.