Working trip to Vitebsk Oblast

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It is essential to determine the specialization of farm production in every district of Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the working trip to the northern region of Belarus on 4 August.

“The harvesting campaign is not the main area of focus of my working trip,” the head of state said when he arrived at the agricultural production cooperative Mayak Braslavsky. He remarked that farms have enough equipment, the harvesting campaign is in full swing. “I am concerned about other things, for example, technologies,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “We should upgrade technologies and adjust them to new crop rotation schemes here, in the northwest of the country.”

According to the President, of course, it is difficult to work in this region the way they work in, for example, in Brest Oblast. In his words, it is necessary to take into account the specifics of these regions and form the crop rotation schemes in a way to get a maximum yield. “If the production of milk and meat is profitable, it should be used as an example for adjusting the crop rotation system,” the President believes.

He was made familiar wit the organization of grain harvesting in local climatic conditions and the technologies used at Mayak Braslavsky. The head of state was informed about the progress in the harvesting campaign and procurement of fodder in Belarus, the social and economic development of Vitebsk Oblast and Braslav District in particular.

After the visit to Mayak Braslavsky, Aleksandr Lukashenko went to the Braslav affiliated company of Glubokoye Dairy Canning Factory. The head of state was made familiar with the technological process of making hard cheese and saw the exposition of the company’s products.

This technology is unique because the process of production is fully automated. The entire production chain is under control.

It is needed to ramp up meat and dairy production in Vitebsk Oblast, Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

During the visit to the next object on the route the President was informed about the efficient use of the country’s tourism potential. Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the rural tourism estate Green Club in Braslav District.

During the visit to the facility the head of state was briefed on the current achievements in this sector, development of recreation zones, investment-raising efforts, and the export of services.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the tourism business, including rural tourism, should be vigorously developing. He listened to the proposals of specialists in this field and said that it is necessary to discuss these issues in detail. “This is a right proposal. Perhaps, we should liberalize the legislation to promote the development of rural tourism, including rural estates,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. However, he has a strict demand: all people should have access to the nationwide natural wealth.

After the visits the President answered the questions of journalists. One of the questions dealt with the harvesting campaign and the influence of weather on its progress. The head of state deemed it necessary to adapt to the natural conditions and make the most of them for agriculture. This is particularly relevant for Vitebsk Oblast. “This territory is not well suited for grain crops or corn. It is almost impossible to cultivate them in some places. Therefore, we need to adapt to the climate. The governor and his team face the challenge to find ways to adapt to nature and make the agriculture work in the most efficient way here,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

According to the head of state, the development of eco-and agro-tourism should rely on the same principle. “In Braslav District there are a lot of idle land plots of 1.5-3 hectares. We need to give them to people so that they could use them to develop ecotourism, build houses and tidy the land up,” the Belarusian leader said.

Another issues on the agenda was the recent incident at the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “Some reporters have gone too far. Even Russians. Russian mass media have been the worst ones in covering this accident. ‘A reactor was dropped at the construction site of the nuclear power plant in Belarus.’ Wake up: there is no reactor over there yet. It was a metal shell, a barrel if you want, with walls as thick as 20cm. The reactor will go inside it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I was told the next morning after the accident happened. The construction workers were moving it in a warehouse; they were learning how to lift it. The reactor vessel was lifted as high as I am tall, maybe slightly more, the straps failed and one side of this barrel touched the ground, from which it had been lifted.”

The President remarked he had seen the footage of the accident and had given instructions to sort it out right away. “Even if the reactor vessel has suffered the slightest bit of damage, we should get rid of it. And Russians say that if we reject this one, they will bring another. And that’s the end of the story,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that as a post-Chernobyl country Belarus is primarily interested in having a safe nuclear power plant. “I personally oversee the nuclear power plant construction progress let alone any accidents. If the foundation was messed up or a piece of the wall collapsed, the outcry would be heard all over the world, too,” the Belarusian leader added.

According to the President, Russia is also interested in the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “Russia is building a bunch of nuclear power plants all over the world. Plans have been made to build some in Turkey and Egypt. Construction is in progress in Iran and China,” the head of state said. “If something bad happens, Russia will lose customers, they will lose a huge multi-billion piece of their economy.”

According to the President, Lithuania’s speculations around the construction of the NPP in Belarus are nothing more but competition, politicization and empty talk. “Recently there has been a fire at Ignalina. Many do not even know about it. Why? We do not make fuss about it. If they need help, we will help. But they are coping well with this incident which is much worse than ours. We are not shouting about it,” the head of state remarked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the fact that Belarus and Lithuania should work to make BelNPP a joint endeavor so that both states could benefit from it. “We are prepared for this, and I have sent such proposals to the leadership of Lithuania,” the Belarusian leader stated.

Representatives of mass media asked what the head of state expects from the parliamentary elections. Aleksandr Lukashenko was also asked to evaluate the parliament’s performance. He said that the fact that Belarusian MPs “work in a professional and calm manner without shouting and screaming” is the greatest merit of the Belarusian parliament.

According to the President, Belarusian MPs are good at making laws. “If you take a look at what is going on around us, in other countries, you will see MPs literally fighting each other with fists, or you will see some political agenda, or parliamentarians in the pocket of oligarchs, or MPs who win elections by throwing money at it,” stressed the head of state. He stated that there is nothing like that in Belarus. “Nobody will be able to win parliamentary seats in exchange for money, no rich people will insert their pocket MPs. It has not happened and is not likely to happen. It is the greatest merit and accomplishment of our parliamentarism and of our parliament,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the election campaign in Belarus proceeds calmly. “The candidates have been nominated, they are being registered now. The fact that more than six people intend to fight for one parliamentary seat is a good indicator, I am very glad it is so. It means that there will be competition,” he said.