President cast his vote in the elections of deputies to the House of Representatives
Alexander Lukashenko took part in the voting at polling station #509 of Starovilensky electoral district #105, located on the site of the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture in Minsk
He also chatted with media representatives, answering questions of Belarusian and foreign media, the Head of State tackled the following topics:
Alexander Lukashenko at the polling station
Aspiration for power
Aspirations for power is a normal ambition. May God give this aspiration to young people. However, one should understand that, on getting this power, as a deputy for example, one will have to carry out very difficult obligations. One has to be engaged in lawmaking and to deliver on promises: to perform useful tasks for the state and the nation. Therefore, I support and approve aspiration to get into power but it shouldn’t become commonplace. One should understand that it’s necessary to give of oneself as well.
Lawmaking and politics are two sides of the same coin. I’m convinced that 70-75 percent of those elected are newcomers; usually up to 30 percent win who have been previously elected into the parliament. Newcomers become politicians in the parliament, so they need to prepare for hard and difficult lawmaking work. According to the Constitution, the Parliament is the higher lawmaking body. This is the most vital thing. I’ve said many times that our deputies should become more politically and diplomatically involved, enabling them to be more active both inside the country and on the international arena.
Often they are too far removed from people. But you cannot go against your people and the country. They should be grateful that they are not marginalised at all as I strive to make them more involved. I don’t want the opposition to be the fifth column inside our country. I want the opposition to exist and be constructive. I was once in such a place. It’s necessary to be closer to people, even if it’s very difficult objectively. Everybody must show consideration for others, starting with the president and ending with the chair of the village council. Who is against the people? Nobody! But the only difference is that some people make things happen and others just like to make speeches.
Let’s excuse them for this. They are already punished for this… They are not simply far from people. It seems to me they don’t even want to come closer to people. I mean they don’t even want this power. Believe me, power is a hard cross to bear. Today one can promise much and say that you’re a history maker in order to gain support. However, in six months, people will ask for results from you after they have dipped into their pockets and purses.
Many of the opposition members (many of them took part in the country’s first presidential race) realised that this is difficult and decided to fight against everyone and everything, be it good or bad. They decided to deny everything just in order to get funding from abroad. I believe this is not right but this is their choice.
Dialogue with the West
I start from the point of view that the Slavonic people have in their blood the desire to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours. The second aspect is that we have a multi-vector foreign policy. I don’t think that there is a Belarusian who will criticise the authorities for this. We’re situated in the heart of Europe while our brothers live in the East, although we’ll always be connected to them. As far as the high-tech West is concerned, our trade turnover is 2 percent more than that with the Russian Federation. Of course, economy and trade are our life. In order to compete we need modern technology and investments, therefore, we have a huge interest in trading with the West. We have learnt a great deal from them and they also learn from us. To say that we have started a dialogue with the West at the expense of our Eastern brotherly nation is nonsense. Our destiny is to be a bridge between the East and the West, whether we like it or not. As long as we’re situated between the European Union and Russia, and further the People’s Republic of China, we’ll have to play this role.
Renewal of work of ambassadors of USA to Belarus and of Belarus to the USA
Will there be an ambassador? We’ve agreed on it. When? You’d better ask the Americans. I think the issue will be addressed after the election of the US president. It was not us who initiated the recall of the ambassadors; but we’ve agreed to settle the matter in the near future.
We don’t want to live under sanctions. They affect us all, in Russia to a lesser extent and us to a greater degree. We’re not pleased that these sanctions were imposed. Their abolition testifies to the fact that we were right and didn’t deserve them. The same refers to the Russians across many issues. If the sanctions are completely lifted, we’ll be very grateful. However, when we’re given conditions we need to consider carefully whether they correspond to our interests or not and whether or not we’re able to accept them. We’re doing everything we can to promote an agreement within the limits of our Constitution.
Russian flag in Rio
This is the position of the state, including the President of Belarus. These athletes have surpassed us in their achievements in the face of adversity and should not be humiliated in this way after all their efforts.
The second point is that I’m a strong advocate of clean sport without doping. If there’s talent, just work hard and win fairly. If you blame a country, especially our brotherly Russia, then present concrete facts. Why have you imposed a collective ban without evidence?
My Russian colleague correctly remarked that it’s necessary to ‘reshuffle’ the International Olympic Committee. I say this as the Head of the National Olympic Committee. We don’t know what’s happening there. This especially refers to the World Anti-Doping Agency. All these are deep issues which inspire me to support our Paralympic athletes.The protest was done in solidarity; it was a protest against injustice. In this case we’re in one boat with the Russians. We’ve always supported the Russians and we’ll continue to do so.
Development of Minsk
We need to preserve the identity of Minsk. I want Minsk to be convenient for living. We expected to reach a population of 2m in a decade but we have almost reached this figure now. Nevertheless, there’s enough room for all. Minsk will remain comfortable for living space and people will continue to be able to walk around freely with their children. We will build more bike lanes and ski roller tracks. As far as modern high-rise buildings are concerned, I’ve looked to find suitable places and put them only in some areas. We don’t need to bring together the whole Belarusian nation in Minsk, so we’ll be shifting construction sites and business enterprises into satellite towns. Electric trains will run carrying the population to the industrial areas within 20-30 minutes.
Oil and gas negotiations with Russia
Another stage of negotiations on these issues has been completed at the level of deputy prime ministers. I can say sincerely that when questions arose, I personally sent a telegram to the Russian President, in this way we have a direct means of solving many of the issues. After the additional efforts of the presidents, agreement is almost reached.
The Russian side has proposed its amendments and is under review. I expect resolution soon. We have suggested improvements to the agreement based on sound evidence and good ideas. The Russian Federation also has achieved a definite position, based on their interests. We should take these into account, as it’s on this basis that we’ve found mutual points acceptable for both of us. After all, if we are unable to agree with Russia, with whom can we agree?