The old proverb that a summer day feeds a year sums up the work of our farming community, to whom we owe so much. They work tirelessly through the hottest month of the year gathering in the harvest, to ensure that we’ll have enough bread. Of course, there’s always plenty of grain in our stores, so no real cause for concern. However, with so much hard work at the heart of preparing the soil, sowing and tending crops, it’s essential that our harvesters call on all their professionalism to skilfully gather in the fruits of so many people’s joint efforts.
The appeals of yesterday for everyone to go to the fields to bring in the harvest are certainly a thing of the past; modern technology allows the process to be conducted by a smaller, skilled team — quietly and more efficiently. Grain farmers still spend the whole day in the fields though, dedicating every waking thought and deed to their mission. They need no cajoling, since they already have a strong sense of responsibility and conscientiousness.
Everyone feels the importance of moment. The traditional concerns of rural workers remain, with villagers and urbanities, young and old, feeling that August is a ‘bread affair’. People recognise that a thrifty attitude is essential, even in these technically advanced times. It’s especially evident to those involved in agriculture.
This issue of the magazine explores several serious topics. The recent informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, hosted by Astana and chaired by President Alexander Lukashenko, saw our country propose range of initiatives. We aim to ensure prompt response towards crisis situations while enhancing the role and influence of the CSTO. The development of a collective rapid response force is being discussed, alongside how best to battle contemporary threats and challenges. Minsk is advocating the expansion of the CSTO’s liaisons with other international organisations: the UN, OSCE, CIS, NATO and EU. Events in North Africa and the Middle East are influencing the CSTO zone of responsibility, as we discuss in Security is collective matter.
The informal summit was hosted by the Kazakh capital but we are choosing to tackle the eastern vector for other reasons also. Belarus’ bilateral collaboration with these states is explored in Eastern partnership. For example, Belarus and Azerbaijan are united by many aspects besides their common Soviet history. Our two states have an almost equal population, GDP per capita and human development index (as annually calculated by the UN). There are many examples of mutually beneficial Belarusian-Azerbaijani collaboration, guiding us to focus on this foreign political vector.
The notion of ‘foreign policy vectors’ is quite new, guiding the country’s strategies to ensure its national interests. Of course, the East has a vital role to play, while the West is of no less importance. The latter primarily determines the European vector of our foreign policy, with regional collaboration at the forefront. Belarusian-Polish co-operation provides a good example, as Candidate of Political Sciences Ruslan Yesin, the General Consul of Belarus to Gdańsk, explains. He tells us how these liaisons are developing in Outpost of good neighbourhood.
From years gone by and our forefathers continues this topic, describing how ethnic Belarusians in Poland honour the traditions of their ancestors.
August has been rich in achievements, including those in sports. Alexandra Gerasimenya became world champion in 100m freestyle swimming. With good reason, we bring the emotions and joy of this young athlete to our magazine cover. Her determination to succeed is symbolic of national feeling. To read more about Gerasimenya’s triumph, turn to Golden race.
editor of magazine