Working trip to Yelsk District, Gomel Oblast

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Belarus did right to rehabilitate the territories affected by the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the working trip to Yelsk District, Gomel Oblast, on 26 April.

At the beginning of his working trip the President visited the Dobryn farm where he was informed about the industrial and economic development of the region, the final stage of the spring sowing campaign, the efforts to create abundant fodder reserves for the intensive development of the animal husbandry industry.

One of the reports delivered to the President focused on the use of ‘green technologies’ in agriculture. “It is needed to ensure a high yield using only organic substances. You need to get used to it. Nitrogen fertilizers should be applied carefully. I insist on using green technologies. People pay a lot for clean products. Fortunately, we do not overuse mineral fertilizers. It is needed to stop here,” the President said.

The development of the flax growing industry was in the spotlight too. The head of state was informed about the situation with flax prices on foreign markets, which is rather good. Therefore, flax producers are, first of all, interested in the export of products. At the same time, it is needed to ramp up flax processing in the country. In this context, the government suggests introducing additional regulation of prices on the domestic market. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed Vice Premier Mikhail Rusy to increase the delivery of raw materials to Orsha Linen Mill and preserve the existing level of export. “If the export of flax is beneficial, we must use this advantage. Grow and sell more flax then,” the President said.

The President deemed it necessary to rationally use funds in the agricultural industry, observe all technological requirements in the production process. The President was not satisfied with the maintenance and storage of equipment at a number of farms.

The head of state gave an instruction to finish the spring sowing campaign by 1 May. “Quality is the main priority,” he added.

The head of state also gave an instruction to revise the possibility to build a railway line to deliver road metal from the Glushkovichi deposit in Lelchitsy District. This project will help reduce costs and create new jobs.

District centers and agro-towns should be improved and brought into perfect condition in the next few years, the President stressed during his visit to the village of Dobryn. The head of state emphasized that agro-towns must fulfill the role of centers in the countryside. Attention should also be paid to the creation of adequate living conditions in large villages. Speaking about small, the so-called unpromising villages, the President noted that local residents should be provided with a minimal set of services.

The President was briefed on the progress ade in the development of the social infrastructure, the creation of favorable conditions for education, sports and cultural events. Aleksandr Lukashenko was shown around the local kindergarten, community center and sport facility.

The head of state also paid a visit to a local store. The President discussed the work of the Belcoopsoyuz companies and new approaches to the organization of trade-related services in the rural areas.  

At the meeting the residents of Yelsk District the President spoke about the surplus of electricity which will emerge in Belarus after the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “Neighboring countries will hardly buy this electric energy. There is a surplus in Russia. There is enough electric energy in Ukraine. Europe also produces electric energy. It is a commodity, and the competition is very strong. It will be difficult to sell electricity,” the head of state remarked. “Therefore, today I am saying that it is needed to get ready to using electricity instead of gas and oil,” he added.

The head of state deems it necessary to start building such facilities and housing that will use more electric energy in the future.

During the working trip to Yelsk District the President attended the final concert of the Revival marathon dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. In his speech the President stressed that Belarusian people showed true heroism when dealing with the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. “I think that on this memorable day the call from the Gomel land to unite efforts will be as important as never ever. We need these joint efforts to leave the ‘black’ past behind us and usher in the happy tomorrow, to put an end to the mayhem in the east of Europe which has been suspended but not fully ended yet,” the Belarusian leader noted.

The President stressed that Belarus managed to turn radiation-affected areas into zones of business activity. “Important investment projects are implemented here. Entrepreneurship gradually gains its footing here. We managed to transform our troubled regions into active business zones,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The demographic situation in the Chernobyl-hit regions has improved, with the birth rate increasing and the mortality rate reducing.

According to the President, it is also important that the cultural sector has not been neglected. Old towns and villages take care of their cultural traditions, ancient rites and folk crafts.

“Our goal is not just revive the Chernobyl-hit areas but secure their further development. We will stay committed to the policy chosen in respect to the people living on these territories. In the previous five-year period I took the decision to transfer all Chernobyl-related funds to the local authorities and people,” the head of state said. The President added that the decision would remain in place for the ongoing five-year period so that the local authorities and local population might decide by themselves where to invest the money.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was given a Negliubka towel-amulet during the final concert of the Revival marathon. The unique towel was made by weavers from the village of Negliubka, Gomel Oblast, and symbolizes the 30 years since the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. When giving the towel to the President, one of the weavers asked the head of state to keep it in the Palace of Independence so that it would shield the country against wars and disasters.

During the working trip the President answered the questions of journalists. One of the reporters asked about the efforts to overcome the Chernobyl income and the results of these efforts on the example of Yelsk District.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that when he became President he had a serious decision to make in respect to the contaminated areas. “People were scared. I understood, however, that that was our land and we needed to revive it. We can see the results today. We did right to rehabilitate these lands,” the head of state said.

“We have done a lot and took the right decision. Within the ongoing five-year period, despite all problems and difficulties, we will tackle all the issues in the south part of our country and will help it forget about the tragedy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Speaking about the program which is being prepared for the All-Belarusian People’s Congress, the President said the following: “The program will be absolutely realistic. We will make plans taking into account our potential. There is no doubt that we will be able to step up efforts. Recent modernization is the pillar of our efforts.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that because of the cyclic development of the global economy crises will be definitely followed by the economic growth. “It will help us enhance our potential because a big number of modernized enterprises should yield results. And we will not stand still. In spite of all the difficulties, our main objective is to modernize and upgrade production processes using innovative technologies,” the head of state said.

“This realistic program should show us a way out from the current situation and help us move forward,” the President concluded.

Speaking about the recent publication of the Panama Papers, which revelation has led to corruption scandals in a number of countries, the head of state said: “It is only an attempt to get closer to exposing the corrupt practices of the world mafia led by politicians,” the Belarusian head of state said. “We should not call the event a powerful anti-corruption move.”

Speaking about the readiness of Belarusian athletes for the Summer Olympics to be held in Brazil, Aleksandr Lukashenko refrained from giving concrete evaluations and making forecasts. “We will look into the matter and will arrange the relevant event closer to the Olympics. As the president of the National Olympic Committee I will have to arrange this review,” he said.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that professional sport in the world became part of politics and part of the pharmaceutical industry a long time ago. “I am looking forward to the Olympic Games with hope and wariness. It will be a very difficult event. Sport has become politics. It is difficult to wrestle against the world’s leading countries these days. Because there is very little pure sport left,” the head of state said.

“I am totally in favor of pure sport. Because it will be easier for us to win then. It is very difficult for us to compete with those, who have learned how to bypass anti-doping measures. Today’s sport is not the pure sport we would love to see,” the Belarusian leader added.