The great bond

Time is a great healer, we are told. In contrast, certain memories never fade; rather, they bind us to friends and family… 23 years separate us from the events which unfolded in Chernobyl one sunny April day. The nuclear power station tragedy brought most of Belarus under its black wing and, however we look at it, unveiled decades of suffering. Affected regions have never been the same, despite so much being done to minimise the consequences of that unfortunate accident
Time is a great healer, we are told. In contrast, certain memories never fade; rather, they bind us to friends and family…

23 years separate us from the events which unfolded in Chernobyl one sunny April day. The nuclear power station tragedy brought most of Belarus under its black wing and, however we look at it, unveiled decades of suffering. Affected regions have never been the same, despite so much being done to minimise the consequences of that unfortunate accident.

Those who were forced to leave their homes will never forget them, although the state allocated huge resources for rehousing, building new towns and creating employment… It’s senseless to spend time re-exploring why the disaster happened back in 1986 but, each April, we remember the self-sacrifice of the rescuers and firemen who performed their duty in the ‘zone’, risking their lives.

Chernobyl showed that, when nuclear disaster strikes, it affects more than the local area. It’s a pity that Belarus was the country obliged to prove the truth of this, being forced to suffer most from the disaster. Chernobyl brought disaster 23 years ago, as we all know and remember. In response, it awoke the sympathy and initiative of many people around the world, who accepted the disaster as if it were their own. Those from Italy and Spain, Ireland and Germany, the USA and Canada have been especially active in helping Belarus. We thank them for their friendship, for their love of our children and for their assistance which continues even now. This is what binds us together.

Twenty three years have passed and much has changed since that fateful April day. State policy has helped the affected regions, while huge scientific resources have been put at the disposal of rehabilita-
tion projects.

One article, entitled ‘Gravity of life’ tells of the central provincial town of Dobrush in the Gomel Region, in the south of the Republic; it now shows no sign of the Chernobyl tragedy. Rather, its old architecture remains as beautiful as ever, while a new image and aspirations are emerging. This issue of the magazine covers various international topics, including ‘Distance is no problem’ — about diplomatic negotiations relating to the spheres of policy, trade and expansion of investment.

Each time a new foreign ambassador takes up residence in Minsk, he presents his credentials to the President. It is a traditional ceremony yet has great relevance in our modern world, symbolising the dynamism of foreign relations. ‘Changes within the diplomatic corps’ details ten new foreign diplomats, recently accredited in Minsk.

The European Union has presented its new ‘Eastern Partnership’ Programme, inviting Belarus to join. We are well-disposed to the initiative, which is non-discriminative. ‘De facto partnership’ explores its goals and how Belarus will be participating.

We are open to co-operation, are grateful for your support and are ready to render assistance — as is characteristic of Belarusians. Our attitude unites us with other nations around the world. We have many beautiful places for holidaying and recuperation, as explored in the article ‘Short road to health’. Russians, Germans, Israelis and, even, the Crown Prince of Dubai have felt the advantages of such stays. You are welcome!

Viktor Kharkov, magazine editor Беларусь. Belarus
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