Progress in a Broad Sense

2006 has just started and the events that are to become the substance of the year are still ahead. However, it is evident even now that the core event of the year is the presidential elections — an event that a priori has a special significance. It stands out not so much for its political coloration, but rather for its pronounced civic character. Elections are, perhaps, a “barometer” that measures the temperature in the society and evaluates its tone. No doubt, the weather in March will be exactly of this kind
2006 has just started and the events that are to become the substance of the year are still ahead. However, it is evident even now that the core event of the year is the presidential elections — an event that a priori has a special significance. It stands out not so much for its political coloration, but rather for its pronounced civic character. Elections are, perhaps, a “barometer” that measures the temperature in the society and evaluates its tone. No doubt, the weather in March will be exactly of this kind.

During the first months of a new year, though, we live under the impression of the developments of our recent past. Judging by the materials published in this issue of our magazine, one can naturally conclude that life is changing. It acquires new, more up-to-date and often technological features. Examples? They are aplenty.

Cognition comes through comparison. Not so long ago mobile technologies sprouted up in Belarus and mobile phones were a novelty. And now we hear that the number of mobile networks’ users has reached 2 million people.
This is one fifth of the country’s population. The affordability of the state-of-art modes of communication is a clear evidence of easy circumstances. On the very edge of the new year the third mobile network provider — a purely state-owned company — launched its services in Belarus and announced a considerable social component of its commercial activities. And such a kind of circumstance naturally comes into notice.

However, these are not all the recent developments. There is quite an interesting novelty in the sphere of mobile networks. “Beltelecom” has launched a new service that enables its subscribers not only to talk, but also exchange video information. Speaking on the phone one can see one’s interlocutor despite a long distance between them.

Yet, there is another piece of news. Nowadays one can book a plane ticket, as the phrase goes, not stirring out of the house. One can easily do this using a mobile phone or a computer that provides connection to the Internet. It is pleasing that the National Airlines “Belavia” have risen to such a high standard of service.

Actually, I didn’t intend to draw examples by pure enumeration of the new kinds of services that are becoming part and parcel of our life. It has happened on its own account, because we are still under the impression of the past when we experienced an acute shortage of all these amenities. The changes in our way of life are evident and they are likely to become more. Let’s hope that many of them will occur this year. It is pleasant to meet with courtesy in shops, cafes and public transport. Nowadays these by far not the least things are being paid more attention to. Mutual respect has become common practice, which is a testimony of a sensible human communication. And this is agreeable. Because we rely on progress not only in the economy, but also in human relations.

Viktor Kharkov
Editor of “Беларусь.Belarus”
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