Future of good traditions
The future is real, originating in the present; the relationship between the present and the future is obvious. Today, children attend a contemporary school and, tomorrow, will become intelligent and educated young people, bringing to life our most ambitious plans. It is a result worthy of investment. This month, Giving an Open Lesson describes the road to knowledge, as experienced by pupils at one of our new schools.When asked about our comfort, we tend to think of our physical wellbeing but sociologists also think of our social standard of living. Belarusians were asked to assess their financial state and satisfaction with life, while sharing their views on international and national problems, including the political and socio-economic situation in the country. They were questioned about how much they trust state institutions and an interesting ‘picture’ became clear, as detailed in Portraits of Social Environment.
When asked about our comfort, we tend to think of our physical wellbeing but sociologists also think of our social standard of living. Belarusians were asked to assess their financial state and satisfaction with life, while sharing their views on international and national problems, including the political and socio-economic situation in the country. They were questioned about how much they trust state institutions and an interesting ‘picture’ became clear, as detailed in Portraits of Social Environment.
We all know from school that geographical locations can be favourable or unfavourable. Belarus is considered to be lucky in this respect, often noted as being at ‘Europe’s centre’; it is called ‘a bridge between East and West’ or ‘a transit state’ by journalists. Certainly, we can turn our location to profit. Belarus’ Transit Potential Development Strategy for 2011-2015 has recently been adopted, covering the spheres of energy transit, air transportation, railway and automobile transport and Internet traffic. The Government expects the implementation of this comprehensive programme to raise transit revenue – reaching $3bn by 2015. At the Crossroads of Europe explores the advantages of Belarusian transit.
This year, our country has entered the world debt market for the first time by issuing $1bn of Eurobonds, with the same amount to be attracted next year via a new financial instrument. Financial Debut is dedicated to the attractiveness of Belarusian bonds for investors.
According to world practice, business incubators reduce the risk incurred by small businesses during their first year of existence by around 30 percent. However, structures in Belarus providing assistance to start-up entrepreneurs are currently following their own laws – rather than by world experience. The Belarusian Economy Ministry has calculated that, at present, 50 entrepreneurial support centres are operating countrywide, offering information and consultative services. They assist in preparing business plans, in organising market research and in training personnel for small firms. The Economy Ministry stresses that these entrepreneurial support centres are very popular, with almost 35,000 people using their services in the first six months of 2010. Business Immunity describes the usefulness of these business incubators.
Lithuania and Belarus are building a common bridge uniting Western and Eastern Europe. However, it’s most correct to say that our two countries are reconstructing this ‘bridge’. Lithuania has access to the Baltic Sea and is a European Union member, while Belarus borders Russia. As a result, our countries unite the two halves of Europe – eastern and western. Two hundred years ago, they co-existed within a single state – the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Lithuanian Trakai and Belarusian Novogrudok have Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches nearby, in addition to synagogues and mosques: symbols of our multicultural lifestyle. Belarus and Lithuania are good examples of tolerance between different nations and religions in Europe. The state remembers this important experience, with citizens often visiting their neighbours. Neighbourly Relations researches this topic in depth.
In 1720, Duke Anthony Kazimir Sapega, the owner of Zelva (now a town in Grodno region) received the right to hold an annual fair to honour St. Anna’s Day. Granted by the Polish King and Grand Duke of Lithuania, August II, it lasted for a whole month and soon became one of the largest fairs in Europe. Merchants from Belarus and Lithuania, Moscow and St. Petersburg attended, alongside those from Warsaw and Riga, numerous Russian provinces, Prussia and, even, exotic Turkey. Travellers and historians have long spoken of the Annenski Kirmash, with famous writers and poets mentioning it in their works. However, by the late 1930s, the tradition had ceased. It wasn’t forgotten though, with Zelva residents reviving their well-known trade fair, as seen in Tradition Revived in Zelva.
We harbour a desire to drive business forward, ensuring a secure and prosperous future, but also wish to keep our ties with the past, cherishing our traditions. Ancient and modern can co-exist, bringing good results.
BY Viktor Kharkov,