A new year traditionally opens with the Presidential ‘For Spiritual Revival’ awards ceremony, as well as special awards to figures of culture and art and the Belarusian Sports Olympus Award. 2016 is the Year of Culture, so the awards have a special symbolism. Alexander Lukashenko underlined the importance of the event saying, ‘The state places a great deal of importance on the development of such a vital sphere as culture’.
“Our key task is to encourage the intellectual and spiritual power of our people, while supporting initiatives to ensure the preservation of our historical heritage, uplifting modern art to a new level and reflecting our people’s love for their Motherland,” said the President during the official ceremony at the Palace of Independence. “We are proud to say that Belarus is rich in talents and artistic achievements. This year, we are celebrating several great anniversaries of our outstanding art figures: Vladimir Mulyavin, Maxim Bogdanovich, Kondrat Krapiva and Ivan Shamyakin,” Mr. Lukashenko said, assuring all those present that the forthcoming 25th jubilee Slavianski Bazaar Festival of Arts in the Vitebsk will also be a special celebration; the latter is already a global venue ‘where acknowledged masters perform and where new stars are found’. The President added that, during the Year of Culture, attention will also be given not only to different aspects of art, but also to citizens’ spiritual life.”
Aside from the topic of the formation of national cultural values, Mr. Lukashenko also tackled some burning social issues, “We live in uncertain times. I often speak of this and with good cause. The deepest spiritual crisis has affected many states and attempts are being made to destroy our system of traditional values. Aggressive assaults on the fundamentals of morale are becoming an ominous feature of modern times.” The President believes that technology and the incredible speed of communication have failed to help people become closer to each other. On the contrary: in the wrong hands, these transform into a means of manipulation and an instrument of stirring enmity. Sadly, the fruits of this policy are already evident: the institute of the family, the value of human lives and social justice are neglected. Egocentrism, permissiveness and greed adversely affect society.
The President made an important point that recent events suggested that freedom for the sake of freedom would have made people happier. However, this can result in contradictions which are difficult to reconcile, as well as bloody wars and conflicts. Mr. Lukashenko believes that modern life teaches us a new lesson — which is hard but important. “We must understand: everything which lacks any deep spiritual basis will never benefit people and society.” The 70th session of the UN General Assembly named Belarus a world leader in this respect because of its work to affirm traditional values.
The Belarusian nation can also learn from the past, it is faithful to old moral values and traditions. Mr. Lukashenko views it as important for figures of culture and art to understand this and — through their artistry — oppose lack of culture and other negative influences. He believes these awards — honouring outstanding contributions to the development of culture and art, charitable activities and projects dealing with the preservation of childhood and motherhood — indicate that spirituality, moral and aesthetic principles play an important role in the life of modern Belarus.
This year, the ‘For Spiritual Revival’ awards went to staff of the Mother and Child Republican Scientific and Practical Centre and the National Art Museum, representatives of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and authors of the Live and Remember book-requiem. Among the holders of the President’s special awards to figures of culture and art were journalists, scientists, artists and staff of the Belarusian State Great Patriotic War History Museum.
“We also honour laureates of the Belarusian Sports Olympus Award. Your determination, diligence and will to succeed are a good example of how champions — glorifying Belarus — should conduct themselves,” the President said, expressing his confidence that the national recognition would give the winners new impetus to achieve even greater things for the benefit of the Motherland.
Based on BELTA information
By Dmitry Krymov