On Tuesday Aliaksandr Lukashenka has delivered his annual address to the nation and the National Assembly. Belsat.eu commends its most interesting fragments to your attention.
No coup d’etat in Belarus
“I’m opposed to razing to the ground,” he said. “Everyone who is calling for a riot is not only an enemy of the government and the president but, above all, an enemy of our country, our people, an enemy of our unity and, consequently, the independence of Belarus.”
Mr Lukashenka warned that authorities would put an immediate end to such manifestations of “radicalism.” “We won’t wait for provocations and clashes,” he said. “Any call for a coup, for turmoil, any propaganda of violence will be harshly nipped in the bud.”
Mr Lukashenka expressed confidence that the entire Belarusian nation, “and not only our nation,” would support a crackdown on radical forces.
Brotherly Russia and Belarus’s bilingualism
Aliaksandr Lukashenka noted that some very weird speculations emerged alleging “harassment of either Russians or the Russian language somewhere in Belarus”. “It is hard to come up with a sillier thing,” the President said.
“I will tell you, there is no other country in the world that would care so much for the great Russian language and the great Russian culture. I mean Russia too. We made Russian our official language in the period when Russia and Russians were routinely humiliated on the post-Soviet space (to say nothing about the West) and people were afraid to even say the words like ‘integration’, ‘brotherhood’,” the head of state said.
“We are not pro-Russian, not pro-Ukrainian, not pro-Polish. We are not Russians, we are Belarusians! Our country is Belaya Rus, which is home to Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Poles, Jewish people, Tatars and many others. These are the children of Belaya Rus, citizens of one country – Belarus,” he emphasized.
If we forget the Russian language we’ll lose our mind; if we forget the Belarusian language we’ll stop being Belarusians, Aliaksandr Lukashenka stressed unexpectedly.
“Any talks about Russianness, Belarusianness, pro-Russianness and pro-Ukranianness are a step towards the same chaos. It seems someone wants it,” the Belarusian leader said.
“We have always fought against Western pseudo-ideas from the Nato, others. I have always instructed the law enforcement bodies, the KGB to suppress any talks of the kind,” the President said.
Dreams of self-sufficiency
“Economy growth is the most important matter instead of some enemies inside and outside the country,” said the head of state. He remarked that a healthy and powerful economy can guarantee the independence of a country and its prosperity.
“We hear many scary stories about enemies in the parliament, about law enforcement agencies trying to stage some scary con, about Russia massing tanks along our border with Ukraine, about [Russian] ambassador Surikov getting ready to become the Belarus president, with NATO and the West looking at all of this benevolently. I can understand only one thing: nobody will turn the country upside down if we don’t do it”, he said. In his opinion, a revolution stems from economic issues. If enterprises work in Belarus, it will not fear any enemy.
The President stressed that widespread corruption, poverty, and economy downfall are behind Ukrainian events, the Arab spring and so on. “Those are the reasons. Not the Americans. They understand that timing is wrong today: Belarus is no Ukraine and there is nothing to revolutionize here,” Aliaksandr Lukashenka is convinced.
20 years of fighting against corruption. Any results?
Belarus should be in the forefront of anti-corruption fight, the President said.
“It is not the first time that we raise the issue of corruption. If we look at the situation with corruption in the neighboring countries, we may see that we are doing quite well. But this is our neighbors’ business. I am talking about us, about our country. Unlike others, we continuously fight against this evil. Our officials have no yachts, mansions, limousines. Honest and decent people in the government are the majority, of course. But we have not yet passed a decisive turning point in our fight against corruption. This brings us to the key question of whether we are doing everything to eradicate this evil? Are not we implementing just superficial measures?” he stressed. According to the Belarusian leader, “the evil” should not only be uprooted but prevented as well. In some areas, eg education, Belarus has already achieved “great results”, Lukashenka admits.
Ukrainian issue: ‘Russia doesn’t need a war; Turchynov is a honest man’
Belarus is extremely interested in a stable, prosperous and united Ukraine and is ready to provide all kinds of assistance to make it happen, Mr Lukashenka said.
“We will cooperate with our Ukraine no matter how hard it might be,” the President said.
At that, Lukashenka states that Russia has no desire for a war in Ukraine.
“I am absolutely convinced that Russia doesn’t need a war over there. I know what goals Russia pursues. It seeks to protect itself, its interests, including our interests, when Russia says that Ukraine should stay outside any blocs. No foreign military forces should be present in Ukrainian lands. You know which ones. It would be bad for us and for Russia,” he said.
Mr Lukashenka also reminded about his recent meeting with Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. “He invokes only positive emotions in me because I’ve known him for many years. They came here in Yushchenko’s time. He is a very honest and decent man, a religious one, has written dozens of books. Yes, he is excessively nationalistic. More than me and you combined but people vary. He is absolutely pro-Ukrainian. He may make radical statements but he is no absolute evil for Russia and for us,” he said.
For the sake of foreign markets: Gordian knot should be cut
“We hope that through the curtain of negative imagery enforced by some politicians our partners in the European Union will still be able to understand the importance of normalizing the relations and will consider prospects of building long-term relations,” Lukashenka stated.
“By cutting the Gordian knot of existing problems, we will be able to reach the unused horizons of cooperation, primarily in economic and investment matters,” believes the President.
The head of state stressed that Belarus’ policies in the Western direction are pragmatic, consistent, and predictable.
“We are going to build normal relations with the European Union, the United States of America because they represent a civilized, well-developed market. These are rich, technologically advanced countries and we are going to cooperate with them. If anyone is willing to come and invest in the Belarusian economy, you are welcome,” he said.
“Belarus is open to work in this directions. The partners in the West should not doubt the seriousness of these intentions,” the Belarusian leader stressed.