“This might be called a meeting of like-minds, since we share almost the same views on so many issues,” noted Mr. Lukashenko, choosing to speak informally. Emir Kusturica has Serbian citizenship but still calls himself Yugoslavian, although Yugoslavia hasn’t existed on the political map for quite a few years. The film director was against the division of his country, as we see from his vividly depicted films on the Balkan War: Underground and Life Is a Miracle. “I’m glad that you are Yugoslavian and always will be … I’m happy to meet you,” Mr. Lukashenko welcomed his guest.
Mr. Kusturica didn’t conceal that the meeting touched him. He likes Belarus and believes that our country has managed to avoid the destructive influence of large corporations, which ‘bring jobs but take away profit’. Mr. Kusturica shared his own assessment of Mr. Lukashenko’s activities, saying, “You rule the country in such a way that acquired profits are passed on to people and the country. You wish to preserve independence and I’m aware that this has its own high price.”
Of course, the meeting tackled political and economic issues, as well as culture. The President awarded Mr. Kusturica a major award of Minsk’s International Listapad Film Festival — a special prize ‘For Preserving and Developing Spiritual Traditions in Cinema Art’. Mr. Lukashenko noted that this acknowledges the guest’s exceptional merits and hopes that the famous film director will visit Minsk many times again. “We would consider your co-operation with our country as a great honour,” underlined the Head of State.