Great Victory makes us strong
Each year, on May 9th, at the same place and at the same time, many thousands of people gather in Minsk’s Nezavisimosti Avenue to welcome the solemn parade honouring Victory Day
The parade was headed by the President, who laid a wreath at the Victory Monument. The ceremony was also attended by senior government officials, representatives of diplomatic missions, public organisations, and major religious confessions.
Dear fellow countrymen and foreign guests!
I heartily congratulate you on Victory Day — one of most honourable holidays on the Belarusian land. For millions of people it has become an eternal testimony to the courage of the nations that overcame the world’s greatest evil, which is fascism.
Sixty nine years separate us from that spring but the memory about the Great Patriotic War doesn’t fade. It lives in each city and village, is transferred from generation to generation; it comes from heart to heart while connecting all us together via a live thread of love towards Fatherland.
In those severe years the destiny of the mankind was decided in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine hen. It was the Soviet-German front that decimated the Wehrmacht. After trespassing upon Soviet Union borders the Nazi faced fiercest resistance. Young and old ones alike, the Soviet people rose up to defend their Homeland. Nobody else in the world was as selfless as they were in fighting the ‘brown plague’.
It was in the land watered with the blood of Soviet people that the key battles were fought. Since the very first days of the war the true second front appeared in the occupied Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian lands. Over one million partisans rose up against the Nazi — a great people’s army, whose actions were of strategic importance and were an important factor in destroying the enemy.
In the Soviet land in most difficult conditions ordinary people working on the home front secured the economic supremacy over the aggressor. During the war the Soviet Union produced two times as much combat hardware and weaponry that Hitler’s Germany did. Meanwhile, the moral durability of our nation was the key USSR advantage in its fight against powerful and destructive military machine of the Third Reich.
The Soviet Union countered the man-hateful ideology of Nazism with the ideology of humanism and internationalism. Over 100 nations and nationalities of the USSR rose up together to defend the common Fatherland. Our Republic paid a dreadful price for the Great Victory — we lost every third resident of our Homeland.
Soviet Belarus has made an invaluable contribution to the enemy’s downfall. It was a partisan republic. Over 500,000 people were in the ranks of the underground resistance movement; 88 of these were awarded the high title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The heroic fight of the nation against fascism began in the Brest Fortress, as well as in battles near Grodno, Minsk, Polotsk, Lepel, Vitebsk, Borisov, Mogilev, and Gomel to continue till the last invader was ejected.
We’ll always remember those who fell in battles and were killed by the atrocity of fascists. Grateful Belarus remembers you and honours your deed. We’ll do everything so that your great sacrifice for the sake of the Fatherland would not be in vain. The dreadful fire of wars, destructions and death must never again be lit in the Belarusian land.
I suggest honouring the memory of all the heroes and victims of the Great Patriotic War with a minute of silence.
(Minute of silence.)
This year marks two milestone events in the history. In July, we’ll celebrate 70th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from the Nazis, while August will mark 100th anniversary of the start of First World War.
These memorable dates give much food for thought. Why do we see a new worldwide fire flaring up just following three decades since WWI? How could a cave ideology of the Nazism gain momentum in the civilised Europe? Will the present political elite have enough wisdom and conscience to prevent new destructive conflicts?
Unfortunately, some politicians today bury the lessons of history in oblivion and try to downgrade the role of the Soviet people in the Victory over the Nazis while also encouraging the rebirth of Nazism.
Purposeful steps are aimed at destabilisation of the political situation in sovereign states in order to please some political and geostrategic ambitions. We can see such examples in the Middle East, North Africa and other hotspots of the planet.
It is a pity to see that Ukraine has become one of such hotspots. Our brotherly Slavic country is facing a civil war, where brothers fight each other. We should stop it whatever it takes.
We’re concerned about the fact that these events are used as a pretext for the NATO to intensify their military activity directly at our Belarusian borders. This fact requires special security awareness and the unity of our nation.
We’ve learnt priceless lessons from the tragic events of the 20th century. We know the value of peace and concord and we will stay committed to our ideals.
Our Armed Forces are ready to defend the sovereignty of Belarus, the civil peace and concord from any invasion.
It is a duty of honour for every citizen to defend the Fatherland and strengthen it.
The victory in May 1945 is your greatest contribution to the rescue and development of the human civilisation, to our common peaceful present and future.
Your generation has saved the country, restoring it from ash and ruins. Your generation has created strong industry and well-developed agriculture, alongside advanced science and rich culture.
You’ve managed to move forward and support each other, overcoming all difficulties. You weren’t chasing personal welfare and prosperity. At first you were thinking about your Homeland and then about yourself. Your spiritual legacy will always be a priceless moral basis for us.
Dear fellow countrymen!
We are the heirs of the great nation of victors to whom Europe owes its freedom and prosperity. The understanding of this fact serves as a source of our strength and self-confidence.
On this festive day I’d like to wish you all, as well as your close and dear people, health, success, happiness and well-being.
Happy Victory Day, dear friends!
The President talked to journalists in Pobedy Square, particularly about:
The results of Moscow negotiations
We’ve agreed regarding all issues. We’ve settled the sales of our automobiles on the Russian market and long distance trucking, and solved the issue of supplies of natural gas and oil for the decade ahead in the volumes we’d like. For now this is 23m tones… As far as the notorious customs duties are concerned, we’ll gradually lift them. Next year, Belarus’ budget will keep about $1.5bn from them. Roughly the same amount we will transfer to Russia’s budget. As I said, in 2016, we’ll revise the issue, and I’m convinced that within two years we will get rid of the duties and will trade in a civilised manner.
We’ve agreed that the Russian Federation, as it was promised, will transfer $2bn as a loan to Belarus for the sake of replenishing our gold-and-currency reserves. It will happen in May. Therefore, we’ve managed to solve financial and economic issues with Russia.
The visit was successful and fruitful and we’ve managed to remove all issues and suspicion which we had until recently.
Mobilisation of internal reserves
I simply say that we have to struggle and compete on our own domestic markets with the produce that was manufactured in other countries from our resources… Why can’t we mobilise our internal resources? We need to make our enterprises work at full capacity, manufacture the necessary produce and sell it on the home market…
Therefore, we should understand that, first of all, we have to get our people to work and pay a decent price for it. Then no one will be able to say anything about economic sanctions because we will be a self-supporting wealthy nation.
Readiness to sign Eurasian Economic Union Treaty
I’ve instructed the government to thoroughly revise all the parts of this treaty in order to have a clear understanding by May 29th of what we are going to sign, how we are signing it, what we will get from this economic union, and what are its prospects. Some things will be delayed by several years. It is definitely a bad thing to do, we didn’t want it. You’re aware of our stance: we should build the economic union without exemptions and restrictions. Our partners are not ready, mildly speaking, on all these issues. We are not going to block the signing of this treaty. If we cannot make a leap forward, we should move on in small steps.
Meanwhile, it has to be understood that we didn’t beg. It was a compromise… Russia will provide a loan for our economy… It’s a major step on the part of Russia with regard to finance but on the other hand we had to make some concessions, too. We weren’t satisfied with the approach to medications, alcohol, tobacco products, beer, etc. Nevertheless, it should be understood that we make this step while they make other steps to meet us halfway…
Situation in the monetary sphere
Devaluations, crashes, wars, conflicts — all of it depends on us. If you don’t want it, trust me, it will never happen in Belarus… We don’t plan any devaluation…
A gradual devaluation of the national currency by about 7-8 percent has happened in Belarus since the beginning of the year. Why are we supposed to raise prices for the foreign currency if we don’t have to?
We have about $5bn of gold-and-currency reserves and we are going to get $2.5bn from the Russian Federation this year. It’s more than sufficient for us… Moreover, we can already see some recovery of the global and of our economy… However, this doesn’t mean that we will spend all money to keep the currency. No… The gradual and smooth devaluation of the Belarusian Rouble by another 5-7 percent may continue till the end of the year. Nothing dreadful will happen and people will get used to it and we will bring you closer to it via salaries.
We shouldn’t make abrupt movements… Why do some people, who cannot speak Russian and Belarusian well, start goading us? The worse the situation in the country is, the better off they are. They have failed to make conclusions from Ukrainian events. They don’t understand that things will turn nasty for them, too, if, God forbid, the situation is destabilised…
Forthcoming Presidential elections
If you say that Lukashenko has started campaigning, I will say that I started it in December 2010. Lukashenko launched his election campaign as soon as the previous presidential elections finished. Believe me, it’s true. If you want to be elected, you should start campaigning from the very first days. Our people are no fools. If you do nothing for 4.5 years and keep saying how good you are in the remaining half a year, people will only laugh at you.
People should come and decide; you will have all kinds of candidates to choose from. Most of these persons are familiar to people. Knowing Lukashenko, you can compare them to him and make your informed choice.
I will tell you even more… If you don’t vote for me, I will not be offended. I’ve worked hard enough in this job. A normal person would have said it’s already high time to live for oneself, for children, it’s time to relax a bit, to wake up in the morning not having to think about the problems I face. It is not a simple job. It is not a job but self-sacrifice.
I would be only glad if such a person emerges because I’m a mortal man. Sooner or later I will have to quit but I would very much like to see a successor that will not destroy and will not spit on all the things you and I have created, not only I alone. This is my stance…
My task is to ensure peace and quiet for you and your children. The greatest happiness for me is when you tell me that you sit your son or daughter into the pram and walk along the street in the evening under the light of street lamps. Very many people don’t have this happiness in very many places. Unfortunately, many people in Belarus don’t value this since we haven’t seen the misfortune. Of course, we don’t need this misfortune in any way. May it be the same in the country, as it’s now, after some other president replaces the current president. This will be the greatest pride for me.