In July, we celebrate the country’s major holiday — Independence Day. It seems that, with each year, this holiday gains in significance, while acquiring expressive new features.
This year, Independence Day saw the solemn opening of State Flag Square in Minsk. Symbol of Unity explores this topic. As ever, Independence Day was diversely celebrated, emphasising our nation’s sovereignty and adherence to tradition, as well as respect for the generation who struggled against Fascism during the Great Patriotic War years. Further on in this issue we present a timeline showing the chronology of Belarus’ contemporary political, economic and cultural life.
Negotiations in Kiev, between the presidents of Belarus and Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko and Viktor Yanukovych, included discussion on border demarcation, joint steps towards Eurasian integration, the expansion of economic collaboration and production co-operation, and the establishment of joint ventures and enterprises in the sphere of agro-machine-building. Read more in New Countdown.
Belarus is ready for constructive co-operation with its closest neighbours, as well as with those separated by distance. Really, geographical obstacles count for nothing, as the recent visit of the President of Laos, Choummaly Sayasone, revealed. New facets of co-operation exist between our two countries, with dynamically developing South East Asia becoming ever more attractive for investors and trade partners. Laos is no exception in the region, with annual growth rates exceeding 10 percent in some industries. Laos boasts major deposits of gold, copper and potash ore while being interested in Belarus’ industrial and agricultural potential. It is keen to buy our machinery, food products and medications.
Laos supports Belarus’ aspiration to join the World Trade Organisation, as you can read in Moving Towards Each Other, which is dedicated to the expansion of liaisons between Belarus and Laos.
During his first official visit to Minsk, President of Venezuela Nicolбs Maduro assured the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, that Belarus and Venezuela will soon elaborate a new ‘road map’ for bilateral relations. The meeting tackled the whole range of Belarusian-Venezuelan relations, including trade-economic and political collaboration.
Mr. Lukashenko underlined that Belarus hopes to build upon the foundations laid during the presidency of Hugo Chбvez, as you can discover in Expressive Accents, which explores the history of Belarusian-Venezuelan relations.
Meanwhile, the Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Valery Sadokho, tells us about the successful promotion of Belarusian interests in South East Asia: Path to Strategic Partnership.
The 15th World Congress of Russian Press proved itself a venue for professional communication, allowing discussion of burning issues of media development. On June 22nd, at 4am, those gathered at Brest Fortress recalled how the Great Patriotic War began. Language of Mutual Understanding and Words and Memories are dedicated to this topic.
On a different note, people once believed that the human soul resided in our hair. Secrets of Life explores this topic, providing fresh information from Belarusian scientists.
Strength and Power looks at why the Mogilev Region is focusing on developing alternative power engineering.
Sometimes, our authors generate interesting parallels. One recalls the story of famous Baron Munchhausen shooting a deer with a cherry stone shot from a gun, inspiring a cherry sapling to sprout from the deer’s forehead. By strange coincidence, the Baron and cherries are closely connected with the small town of Glubokoe in the Vitebsk Region. His grave is found in ancient Koptevskoe cemetery, its cross bearing the inscription: ‘Ferdinand u. Wilhelmina von Mьnchhausen’. The tastiest and sweetest cherries are thought to grow in this district centre of Belarus — perhaps thanks to Baron Mьnchhausen hunting. In spring, the streets of Glubokoe are filled with beautiful, snow-white blooms, while the summer brings a great cherry harvest. Glubokoe residents have decided to make the cherry their symbol, organising their first Cherry Festival in July 2013. Read more in Festival with Cherry Aroma.
I wish you pleasant reading!
By Viktor Kharkov