Category Archives: Belarus

RT Interviews President Lukashenko – ‘I have no resources to be a dictator’

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The following interview below was originally published by Russia Today

March 18, 2013

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

His reputation precedes him: The long-time Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko has been often referred to in the Western media as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. But he insists he doesn’t have the means to be one as RT sits down with the President.

“In order to be a dictator and dictate one’s will one has to have the resources: economic, social, military, population, and so on. But we have none. And I am being objective about it,” Belarusian president told RT’s Sofiko Shevardnadze.

The 58-year-old former head of a state-owned farm told RT he has no intention to hand over power to any of his sons. “I swore I would never delegate the reins of power to any of my relatives, loved ones or children. It’s out of the question,” Belarusian leader emphasized.  “Who wins a fair election will have the power. Like I did when I won the race as a candidate from the opposition,” he added.

The Belarus leadership has repeatedly been the target of fierce criticism from the EU over its crackdown on the opposition and lack of respect for democracy and human rights. Up to 250 Belarusian officials, including President Aleksandr Lukashenko, and 32 companies are currently subject to travel bans and asset freezes within the EU.more

For more on this as well as Lukashenko’s view on relations with Russia and international community, his presidency and successors, and the overwhelming economic crisis and Belarus’ fate read the full interview below.

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Governments of Venezuela, Belarus sign accords in strategic areas

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June 27, 2012

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko (left) with Venezuelan presidnt Hugo Chavez (AVN)

Caracas, 27 Jun. AVN.- On Tuesday, the governments of Venezuela and Belarus signed over 20 accords in matters of mining, petroleum and energy, as well as housing, food security, technology and communication.

The signing was headed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in  a meeting at Miraflores Presidential Palace, in Caracas, with Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko.

The accords endorsed include a memorandum of understanding between Venezuela’s petroleum and mining ministry and Belarus to design and construct a gas pipeline as part of a national gas development plan.

A framework contract to commit Belarus to foreign-economic cooperation between China and Venezuela, aimed at constructing and launching a thermoelectric power plant in the western state of Barinas was also signed.

Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Venezuela’s petrochemical venture Pequiven for technical accompaniment, analysis and assessment in the petrochemical development industry, also in Barinas.

Venezuela’s ministries of industries and housing signed a memorandum of understanding with Belarus’  ministry of industries to set up a second production line in a blocks factory in the central state of Miranda.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed to set up a formwork manufacturing plant for Venezuela’s housing mission.

In matters of agriculture, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding to carry out agroindustrial communes projects in the eastern states of Anzoategui and Bolivar and in the western states of Zulia and Barinas.

Another memorandum of understanding was signed to bolster industrial capacity in Venezuelan food-processing plants.

The governments of Venezuela and Belarus endorsed agreements in the areas of technology transfer and scientific knowledge for innovative activities. The plan is to coordinate public institutions in the two countries in the areas of housing, development, health, food security, information and communication technology, as well as alternative energies.

In the last six years, Venezuela and Belarus have signed around 200 accords in matters of science, technology, agricultural and industry.

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Belarus opposing calls for “Westernization”

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February 29, 2012

Poland and Belarus have recalled ambassadors on the eve of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations, just as European states agreed to toughen sanctions against Minsk officials. Seemingly about human rights, the row in fact has ethnic roots.

The Polish embassy in Minsk canceled the celebrations scheduled for March 2 as the ambassador is returning to Warsaw on February 29. It was also announced that the list of Belarus officials subject to sanctions in EU countries would be expanded on Wednesday. But Belarus chose to respond to Poland separately, and there is a reason for this.

Belarusian-Polish relations have never been easy due to the countries’ complicated history. Some 900 thousand of Belarus’ 10-million population are ethnic Poles and thus can receive the Pole’s Card – a document officially recognized by Poland as a certificate of belonging to the Polish Nation and granting its bearer many preferences such as a visa and work permit.

Belarus has repeatedly criticized the document for splitting Belarusian society ethnically. Another reason for discontent appears to be the fact that Belarus Poles are a significant force promoting the westernization of the country, while official Minsk opposes it.

The Polish authorities are the main advocate of pressure on Belarus in the European Union. Poland hosts opposition media broadcasting on Belarus and often funds them. Belarus, in turn, had set up its own Union of Belarus Poles – a pro-government community which holds that Poland’s actions divide and harm the Polish nation.

Minsk recalled its ambassadors from Poland and the EU after it was announced that European nations were to expand the list of Belarus officials subject to sanctions. The Belarus authorities also sent the EU and Polish envoys back to their capitals for consultations – a move one step short of severing diplomatic relations. After all this, 27 EU countries recalled their own ambassadors from Belarus as demonstration of solidarity within the bloc.

At present, 231 Belarus officials are blacklisted by the EU – starting with President Lukashenko and his two sons and ending with middle-rank police officers and court clerks who have made and enforced decisions to prosecute Belarusian political opposition.

Belarus has repeatedly called the sanctions an attempt to influence its internal politics and internal justice, but Western countries continue their pressure. Belarus ally Russia has also criticized the threats, with the Russian and Belarusian presidents issuing a joint declaration last week that described the economic sanctions as an artificial barrier on the way of European integration.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that any sanctions on Belarus are a form of pressure. He insists the EU measures will not affect the ongoing integration within the Eurasian Union.

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Lukashenko accuses West of stirring up trouble in Middle East, north of Africa

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December 16, 2011

MINSK, 16 December (BelTA) – It is the West that is to blame for creating a belt of instability in the Middle East and the north of Africa, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told the radio station Russian News Service in an interview.

“Well, Libya has been destroyed by bombs. What comes next? There were 10 or 15 thousand portable air defense missile systems stored. How many are left in warehouses? Everything has been pillaged. What will we see tomorrow? It is clear to the terrorists that operate from Russia, Caucasia and onward along the entire arc. I know what a portable air defense missile system is. Who got the weapons?”

According to Alexander Lukashenko, the West has thoughtlessly created an entire belt of instability that includes Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that replacing leadership in Middle East and African countries is not a good idea if the current leader is a lesser evil than what may come after the current one.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, the West has failed to heed warnings of Russia and Belarus. Speaking about the President of Syria, he said only mad people could be talking about deposing a leader to make things worse.

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Lukashenko: Fat cats behind every hostile action against Belarus

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December 9, 2011

Citizens of Belarus gather together in front of the statue of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin.

MINSK, 9 December (BelTA) – Fat cats are behind every hostile action against Belarus, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the 41st congress of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) in Minsk on 9 December.

“Concrete fat cats are behind every hostile action against our country. They are armed with most effective weapons, including mass media,” said the Belarusian head of state.

The President remarked that everyone uses Internet including riot agitators, computer frauds and terrorists. “This is why we should protect our networks the way it is done in all countries against hackers, terrorists and pogromists. I am glad the thought has been voiced by delegates at the congress,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

“We couldn’t have done something a while ago to resist such developments without two dozens of very talented young people, who had come to the president’s aid and had done their job. In time we will tell you about them,” said the Belarusian leader.

“When special services of certain countries tried to launch the so-called revolution via social networks, we came up with ways to resist them without blocking anything in the Internet. Few people took the bait of the instigators. From now on everyone should know that we will protect ourselves against attacks. And believe me, we will be able to protect ourselves,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

In particular, the Belarusian head of state mentioned Vyasheslav Dianov, who had been trying to be in the center of the social network revolution in Belarus recently. “When I noticed that we couldn’t ignore it, I summoned special services and requested complete information about what is going on starting with Dianov, who our ‘fifth column’ and all the gutter press cited as a hero,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “It turned out he is in Poland behind stone walls under protection of special services. There are no Belarusian revolutionaries there. It was them, who initially fought and are fighting against us, using our young people, the people who chased money and were trapped by these nets”.

“Don’t be lured, don’t be surprised and don’t think that things are the way you see it in the Internet and on the screen,” said the Belarusian leader.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that rioting and revolutions are not about replacing the government but about destroying a country. “Unfortunately, young people have always been the cannon fodder in any seditions. Puppeteers have never stood on barricades. They have always pushed forward young people and did their business on their blood,” said the head of state.

He remarked that Belarus has a simple way to replace the government and the president – elections. “The nation gives power via elections and has the right to revoke the power via elections,” he stressed.

“Any revolution begins with beautiful words and ends with a grand scam,” concluded Alexander Lukashenko.

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Belarus creating new anti-imperialist army

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November 4, 2011

GRODNO OBLAST, 4 November (BelTA) – A new army will be created in Belarus. It will heavily rely on territorial defense troops, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko as he presented general shoulder straps to heads of oblast administrations and the city of Minsk on 4 November.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “It should have been done a long time ago. You will be governors general not for the sake of window dressing. HR policy with regard to people that will be put in charge of territorial defense troops will change. We are creating a new army in Belarus if you wish and you will command it”. Alexander Lukashenko said the new army will have 120,000 people.

The President said that along with dealing with economic and social matters the heads of the oblast administrations and the city of Minsk will be in charge of organizing the military component. “Our governors are military people, responsible people therefore military security is part of your life as of today. You will hold territorial defense exercises and should work with the general staff to develop the legal base,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “Specific people should be assigned to every assault rifle, every pistol, every grenade launcher. I am not kidding, these measures are very serious. Not because the situation around us is complicated indeed, but because we are creating a new army,” remarked the President. He added that territorial troops should smoothly interact with the regular army.

“Some people complain it is not the time to hold an exercise, complain about budget costs. As if they bore the burden of budget costs. It is not their business, it is I who have made the decision. Whoever doesn’t learn now will reap the fruit of our inactivity. But no money should be spared for it,” said the head of state. The President remarked that the present exercise is a command post one and does not require a lot of money. “But if we have to, we will spend money. It is my answer to everyone who is complaining about budget costs,” he said.

The head of state also elaborated the previous day’s remark about engaging businessmen in territorial defense. “They have more to lose than anyone else in this country. A place should be found for them,” said the President. In his words, a private individual will always find personal reserves.

“If we ever have to be at war, we are men, we have to protect our homes, families, our land. It is our duty,” said the President.

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Lukashenko: Belarus’ healthcare is up to world-class standards

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October 21, 2011

MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – Belarus has advanced its healthcare system to the world-class level, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with participants of the Second Eurasian Congress of Cardiologists on 21 October, BelTA has learnt.

Alexander Lukashenko is convinced that if a country has a well-developed healthcare and education, it has prospects and can develop further. “That was our approach to healthcare. That was our ideological ground when we faced a choice whether or not to break down the old healthcare system (or some elements of it) in order to build a new healthcare system in Belarus,” the head of state said.

The President admitted that the old healthcare system that Belarus inherited from the Soviet Union had a lot of advantages. “Both healthcare and education back then were not inferior to those in the neighboring states,” he said.

“However, the time demanded new approaches. We made a very painful decision some 5-6 years ago and we have been working really hard the last 3-4 years,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state said that Belarus has streamlined and upgraded the entire hierarchy of healthcare facilities, from rural health posts to regional hospitals and flagman research centers. “We have upgraded district hospitals, starting from operating rooms. We spent a lot of money to purchase state-of-the-art equipment. This pushed our producers to develop and manufacture all medical devices and equipment, starting from an operating table. After that, we set up 16 centers in the oblast.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that new and advanced technology developed in medical research centers is “immediately adopted in the regions”.

The head of state also noted that Belarus had made considerable progress in reducing the infant mortality, down to the global level. Belarus has accumulated best practices in cancer treatment, transplantation of organs and tissues, cardiology and other areas. An extensive use is made of world scientific experience.

“We have revived our healthcare, modernized and raised it to the world-class level. I had to make decisions on all fronts since it was connected with expensive spending. And I do not regret it, although we had financial problems and are still dealing with some of them now. We spent a lot of money on it. As you can imagine, this does not generate profit. It only consumes foreign exchange earnings that the country makes,” Alexander Lukashenko stated.

Alexander Lukashenko noted the particular importance of the development of cardiology because, according to statistics, heart diseases are a number one cause of death. Our specialists have been in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan to share their experience,” the President said.

According to him, the second Eurasian Congress is staged in Belarus, which attests to recognition of the national cardiology school. The President asked the participants to openly express their opinion about what else Belarus needs to do in cardiology and in healthcare in general.

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Chairman of Belarus Supreme Court: EU sanctions against Belarusian judges “unacceptable”

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October 13, 2011

Valentin Sukalo, presiding judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus.

MINSK, 13 October (BelTA) – The sanctions of the European Union against Belarusian judges are unacceptable, Chairman of the Supreme Court of Belarus Valentin Sukalo told reporters on 13 October commenting on the introduction of visa restrictions by the EU on Belarusian judges and public prosecutors, BelTA has learnt.

Valentin Sukalo emphasized that at present there are common international documents on the independence of judges, all of them prohibit any sanctions against judges.

“We take such measures as blackmail and interference in the judicial system of Belarus. We consider it unacceptable,” the Chairman of the Supreme Court said.

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Venezuela’s Chavez says joint projects with Belarus ‘remain in force’

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October 4, 2011

Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko (left) and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (right).

MINSK, 4 October (BelTA) – In a meeting with Viktor Sheiman, the aide to the President of Belarus on special matters, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez confirmed his commitment to continue the implementation of joint Belarusian-Venezuelan projects that include the construction of plants to produce Belarusian tractors and trucks in Venezuela, BelTA learnt from the Embassy of Venezuela in Minsk. The meeting took place as part of a working visit of the Belarusian delegation led by Viktor Sheiman to Venezuela from 27 September to 3 October.

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela emphasized the importance of success achieved so far in cooperation with Belarus. “Everything that is going on in the political, economic and cultural areas is important to us,” said Hugo Chavez. He confirmed Venezuela’s intention to continue joint projects to produce Belarusian tractors and other automotive equipment. According to the Venezuelan leader, the two plants that are to be soon commissioned will manufacture five types of tractors.

While in Caracas, the Belarusian delegation took part in a meeting of the Belarusian-Venezuelan joint high-level commission. The meeting participants discussed a wide range of issues including oil production, gas supply and energy, industry, science and technologies, housing construction.

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