“We’ve studied all Union State programmes — focusing on their degree of fulfilment, expedience and scale of expenditure,” explains Mr. Rapota. “We’ve studied all that’s been achieved so far. The 2012 budget was executed satisfactorily, as we’ve already reported to the Union State’s Council of Ministers. Meetings with general contractors are well-established, helping bring problems to light early on.”
Speaking of plans for 2013, the Deputy State Secretary of the Union State, Alexey Kubrin, noted, “Existing and new Union State programmes aim to develop defence and law enforcement infrastructure, as well as promoting staff training and qualifications. Serious work is afoot to develop the GLONASS system, producing new composition materials — including for the aviation industry. All Union State programmes have an innovative aspect.”
Peaceful space exploration is an area for co-operation, with a Russian rocket having already taken the first Belarusian satellite into orbit, as part of the Cosmos-NT Union State programme. According to Sergey Korenyako, from the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences’ United Institute of Informatics Problems, another joint project is now undergoing approval and several other Union State programmes are focusing on space. Some relate to the use of Nanotechnologies-SG and Standardisation-SG.
Belarus is known to be strong in developing broadcasting technology, including the processing and sending of space data to consumers. Meanwhile, Russia is expert at making boosters and space craft. Naturally, progress needs to be swift, before technology becomes obsolete. All areas of innovation are highly competitive, with the leaders taking the largest slice of the pie. The Union State’s Standing Committee has also been looking at ownership of the results of Union State projects.
Mr. Rapota has invited legendary folk group Pesnyary to give a concert to mark Belarus-Russia Unity Day, having visited them at their studio. “I’ve long wanted to meet you,” he told the musicians. “Who among us didn’t listen to your songs in our youth? Pesnyary was among the most talented Soviet groups, while Vladimir Mulyavin was a musical idol. Talks are now underway to erect a monument to him in his native Yekaterinburg.”
The musicians presented a lyre (a symbolic musical instrument) to Mr. Rapota and he, in turn, presented them with a large collection of ballads composed and performed by amateurs.