By Igor Slavinsky
The deputies from the House of Representatives, as well as members of the Council of the Republic and representatives from District Councils of Deputies, headed by Vladimir Andreichenko, the Speaker of the Belarusian Parliament’s Lower House, headed for Atlant JSC.
During their tour, the delegates were shown how refrigerators and washing machines are assembled: already an indispensable part of any home — in Belarus and abroad. The delegation visited workshops and an exhibition hall, viewing the latest achievements and the enterprise’s entire range. Atlant Director Victor Shumilo acted as their guide, explaining that the company primarily orients its production towards buyers’ needs.
“New models account for 20 percent of our output,” he explained. “On the one hand, this is expensive; on the other, customers want to see new models.” Suggestions were made to the delegate-deputies regarding laws relating to property management, transformation into joint stock companies and the securities market, since these issues relate directly to Belarus’ largest enterprises.
The conversation embraced a range of topics, with Tatiana Kononchuk, the Chair of Slavgorod’s District Council of Deputies, speaking of the need for further improvement of the quality of life in villages. She believes that it’s vital to develop information technologies and to increase the number of bank info-kiosks and ATMs.
Meanwhile, the heads of diplomatic missions joined foreign guests and representatives of the Belarusian diaspora in visiting Belkommunmash, with Belarus’ Foreign Minister, Sergei Martynov, as their head. The traditional route through the factory was expanded to include a demonstration of a new, fourth generation trolley bus, which can travel without cables. It is also able to lean to one side, with its step almost touching the ground. The guests highly praised this achievement and were in admiration of the novelty. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Serbia to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Srecko Dukic, is already familiar with such vehicles however, since they run through the streets of Serbia.
Examining contemporary Belarusian machinery, pilot-cosmonaut and twice Hero of the Soviet Union Piotr Klimuk told me that trolley buses and buses are, of course, a good area. “However, space research, to which the Belarusian President devoted much attention in his speech before the All-Belarus People’s Congress, is also essential. Goods manufactured by Belarusian Peleng are produced by just a few companies worldwide,” he added.
The past five years have been extremely difficult for everyone, but Belarus has emerged worthily from the world crisis, according to our foreign guests and Belarusians from abroad. “The President’s major accent has been the social component; the greater part of his report was dedicated to it,” notes Sergei Lebedev, the Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee and CIS Executive Secretary. “I think that the proclaimed goals will be supported by the Belarusian people. I’m very glad that Belarus has preserved a calm atmosphere. Moreover, it remains an active CIS participant, regardless of some rough edges.” According to Giuseppe Carboni, the Honorary Consul of Belarus to Italian Sardinia, the social orientation of politics and the economy is the country’s biggest achievement. “Belarus has shown the rest of the world that it has its own path, which is correct. The country should not be compared with Italy, but with those countries which have grown from a similar starting position,” Mr. Carboni is convinced. “I like that the President has sincerely admitted the country’s weak points and would say that the problem of reducing red tape is also well known to Italians: we continue to struggle against it.”
Azerbaijan has its own Universal Azerbaijani Congress, bringing together Azerbaijani people from all over the globe. President Ilham Aliyev always takes part. Kamal Abdulla, Rector of the Baku Slavic University, notes that our two assemblies are strikingly similar. “I’m very impressed. When the Belarusian President spoke about friends, he named Azerbaijan. We’ve set up trusting relations, bringing our two countries closer. I’m convinced that this is largely due to the friendship of our presidents. Personal contacts are very important for nations.”
Martin Vidovic, Archbishop of Nin and Apostolic Nuncio of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, believes that people’s opportunity to take part in choosing the country’s future is ‘a very important principle of democracy’. “People take part in the process while jointly working to achieve these goals,” he added. Discussions on the Socio-Economic Development Programme were divided into ten sections, hosted by the largest enterprises from Minsk and the Minsk region. The delegates visited MAZ JSC, the National Library, the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture, the Belarusian National Technical University and the National Academy of Sciences. Participants of the Forum penetrated deep into the tiniest nuances of the country’s most important future document.