Alyaksandr Lukashenka gave the “national assembly” his traditional “annual address.” The Belarusian head of state didn’t say anything new. Most of the statements have been already heard before. He said threefold (!) population growth in Belarus was a vital question, and stated he wasn’t going to release political prisoners, though the European Union and the United States insist on it.
About political prisoners
The Belarusian authorities have “closed a subject of political prisoners,” Lukashenka said.
“We have taken a decision we are closing down this subject. Five are at large, the sixth refused. What are the claims against us?” A. Lukashenka wonders.
(Comment: Lukashenka’s words “the sixth refused” are odd. One can hardly find people who don’t want to be released. If Kazulin is in question, he wants to be released, but he is not let, unfortunately).
About Alyaksandr Kazulin
“They found an oppositionist who polled one and a half per cent of votes, and made a great political prisoner of him... The opposition don’t want him to be released. Keep in view, if he is set free tomorrow, the opposition won’t exist. Don’t you understand what a person he is? There’s nothing sacred for him! Nothing sacred for him. We know what the opposition is and what they want. He had an opportunity... five prisoners used it... but he refused. H e said the time had not come for him. He needs that the whole world stands for his release, that the power crashes down under the pressure of the world. But does anybody need him?” Lukashenka said.
About sanctions of the West
“We won’t bargain. We are ready to make concessions and meet habitats, but only if it concerns fundamental positions,” A. Lukashenka said.
He called on the West not to press on the official Minsk. “If the Russians, who saw all our failures and mistakes, didn’t push us around, didn’t’ make us do this or that, why then you afford it?!” the presidents raised a rhetorical question.
Concerning the visa restrictions, the EU countries and the U.S. had imposed against a number of state officials, including the president, A. Lukashenka noted: “Lord be with you, preserve these visa restrictions. Do I have nowhere to go? By this you show your civilised democratic face to the whole world!”
“The West insists we remain independent. It is right. But don’t lord over. Don’t say: release this political prisoner, that... Where have you seen a president releasing prisoners?.. If the Americans think they will impose sanctions, and we will collapse – it is complete nonsense! Belarus transported 50 per cent of oil and 30 per cent of gas to the EU. Do we create problems for you? No! We won’t stay pushing...” Lukashenka said.
About relations with Russia
The current and future Russian government have a conception. Why join something? We are able to solve our problems on today’s level,” Lukashenka declared. He also noted “if our partners wouldn’t have raised the question on joining Russia, we had progressed in the integration.”
He emphasised “It’s not Lukashenka’s whim to talk about sovereignty, the history of our country requires it. We were thrown from side to side, we didn’t deserve it. We are a proud and independent nation. We want to live on that land, build our life here.”
“We go the way of forming of the union state. If we have slowed down, it doesn’t matter, nobody makes us hurry,” he added.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka charges 15 high-rank officials from parliament and the presidential administration with corruption.
“Today 15 high-rank government members and officers of the presidential administration have sunk in corruption,” he declared.
”Schedules (of corruption schemes – IF) have been presented to me today, I will invite everyone in the nearest time,” the president said.
According to him, “it concerns some members of parliament, too.”
A. Lukashenka explained that those facts were connected with investigation of the case against “one of the eminent Belarusian businessmen, who used to kick open the door to the government and the presidential administration.”
About “White Russia”
Alyaksandr Lukashenka said creation of pro-president political structures in Belarus was inaccessible.
“I am totally against creation of pro-president political structures,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka said.
“I am not going to join any new party, even when I am not a president,” A. Lukashenka emphasised, talking about perspectives of creation of the public organisation “White Russia.”
Lukashenka also stressed he didn’t think he had lost his membership in the USSR Communist Party.
A. Lukashenka warned officials against forcing people into the “White Russia” party. Don’t force people to join public organisations and parties. I’ll see what officials do there (in “White Russia” - IF) – it means there’s not enough work for them,” he supposed.
The Belarusian head of state explains his comments on this matter by the fact “speculations, coming to absurd, are gaining momentum that allegedly Lukashenka is forming his party and everyone must become its member.” “Those who name themselves democrats shout louder than others,” he added.
In Lukashenka’s view, any public organisation may be successful only it is supported by people.
Addressing the officials, the head of state stressed: “Don’t hinder it (“White Russia” – IF) to use healthy power from below – if it passes the examination, it is able to en a party.2
Lukashenka promised he would support the organisation if its activity is constructive and creative from the point of view of the interests of the state. “This is my principal position concerning parties, public organisations and “White Russia” first of all,” he said.
About Polish Charter
Alyaksandr Lukashenka thinks it is necessary to resist the attempts to split the society into ethnical groups.
“Interethnic concord has always been a distinctive feature of the Belarusian state. We should not let our monolithic society to be split apart by ethnical conflicts,” he said.
He emphasised that “some people want to split our national unity, designing scenarios such the Polish Charter and playing the role of national minorities’ defender.” The head of state also declared “we have no minorities, we have citizens of our republic.”
Lukashenka called not to have negative attitude towards the people to whom this so called Polish Charter is applied. “They are not betrayers. One should not make them betrayers using various charters. I know our people. Yes, they are the Poles, but they are our Poles,” he said.
“We do not and will not have racial cleavage. We are the most international country in the world. It’s immoral to force wedge between our citizens. They will not follow professional bargainers,” A. Lukashenka summarised.
About work of mass media
“Belarusian mass media should proceed from passive covering events and response to informational newsmakers offensive-dominated work for forming attractiveness of the national and regional space for mass audience,” A. Lukashenka stated.
“The real life in our country should not be fabricated, but reflected truthfully,” he believes.
He has also noted that it is necessary to work out “a sensible balance which in equal measure reflects the policy of the state and a possible other point of view”. “A disproportion in both ways provokes a conflict between the authorities and population, and in this case mass media become a weapon of mass dissemination of false information,” A. Lukashenka stated.
He noted the necessity to create informational products of good quality. “All radio companies, newspapers and magazines should produce their creative works which matches traditions of Belarusian society”. At the same time, he called upon not denigrate oneself “to vulgarity, immorality, cruelty and violence”. We have managed “to avoid mass spreading of this plague so far,” A. Lukashenka believes.
He has also noted little progress of the local press. “It is not seen yet,” he said. In this connection, he believes, “the Information Ministry should deal with this topic closely, starting from fitting out with technical means, with quality of paper, capacity building of employees and so on”.
Belarus’ population should at least triple in the future
Belarus’ population should at least triple in the future. “This is a matter of life and future for our state,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka said.
He noted that a spiritual constituent of health based on family should be looked after. The family is the main social institution influencing personality formation. “Belarusians have always been noted for their being house-proud, love for their family and children. These national traits of character have helped us to hold out preserving our identity over centuries”. The Belarusian leader stressed that “it must be prestigious and beneficial to have a healthy normal family with a few children in our time.”
About Leo Tolstoy, smoking and alcoholism
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has spoken in favor of prohibition of drinking alcohol and smoking in public places.
“We cannot prohibit everyone to drink and smoke, but it is impermissible to encourage this and watch our citizens losing themselves into drinking,” he said, and favoured prohibition of drinking alcohol and smoking in public places.
A. Lukashenka quoted Leo Tolstoy who wrote: “It’s hard to imagine a happy change that would take place in our life if people stopped intoxicating themselves with wine, vodka and tobacco”.
The Belarusian leader told that drunk must be prevented to drive. The special concern of the president is caused by illicit drugs problem. “Facts of drugs consumption are detected today,” he said. However he called upon not turning health care into another campaign.
Belarusian creative community is able to create masterpieces in any sphere of art, Lukashenka stated.
“Culture is the sphere which doesn’t develop thanks to dictation from higher authorities, or thanks to orders of higher officials. It is advanced by talented people, who are abundant in Belarus,” he stated.
The goal of the state, as said by him, is to create an appropriate environment for development of creative potential of citizens. “Many efforts and money have been devoted to it already. The unique National library has been built, a renovated Opera House will open its doors soon,” he noted.
“The Belarusian cinema undergoes its second birth, and the time when Belarusfilm would turn into “Belarusian Hollywood” is near at hand,” the president said. “You shouldn’t speak about inadequate royalties,” he said addressing intellectuals. “Give us a product of good quality, and it would be paid for properly”.