Land which is both close and remote

A couple of years ago, few could have imagined that Belarus would enjoy close ties with Russia’s Amur Region, even despite the great distance which separates Minsk from Blagoveshchensk. However, efficient business ties confirm that the modern world is narrowing
By Vladimir Khromov

Distance no longer plays a decisive role in the establishment of useful partnerships. In 2012, our mutual turnover demonstrated a vigorous growth. Actually, the trend could have continued last year, if it were not for the flooding which affected the Amur area and therefore some business projects.  But life goes on. The two sides are still interested in fruitful liaisons, as is seen from the recent talks between the Belarusian President and the Amur Region Governor, Oleg Kozhemyako.

Battling the consequences of the flooding was a key topic. In this respect, Alexander Lukashenko stressed, “You should know that, in hard times, I have ordered that the Government must react to any of your requests. However, not everything has been realised to the full, due to the long distance. If we can mend the situation now, then let’s do this. If we can agree to settle the issue by spring or summer, you simply need to tell us. We’ll then work hard in this area. You are not alien for us. We are proud that a geographically remote region is actually close to us. We’ll always accept your proposals of co-operation.”

Mr. Kozhemyako thanked Belarus for its support in hard times, noting, “The humanitarian cargo came in good time and that aid was distributed among those in need. The move contributed to our relations and our citizens felt that a fraternal nation lives in your country, which renders assistance in times of hardship.”

Apart from humanitarian aid, the region is in need of assistance in ensuring its further economic development. Mr. Kozhemyako informed the President that there is a shortage of accommodation for forcibly displaced people. On hearing that, the President said that Belarus produces high-quality wooden houses which can save the situation. The Governor showed interest in the idea and proposed to allocate a territory for turn-key construction of accommodation by Belarusian specialists. The project is undergoing discussion now.

Belarusians have also been invited to participate in another major project — the construction of the Vostochny space-launch complex in the Amur Region (including infrastructure and accommodation). This long-term project would involve many orders, and Minsk is truly interested in the idea.

In addition, the guest loved the Belarusian experience of building dairy commodity complexes, and felt the idea could be realised in the Amur Region. The sides are also eager to develop their traditional projects in the sphere of industrial co-operation, such as the assembly of Belarusian agricultural, communal and road machinery.
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