Traces on land
We should remember events which leave their legacy in time and reality. This issue pays special attention to relations between Venezuela and Belarus. The visit by the Belarusian President to this Latin American country inspires us to contemplate the new quality and content of international opportunities. Agreements signed in Caracas allow us to discuss the advantages of an assertive foreign policy, supported by exact calculations and pragmatism. Belarusian-Venezuelan relationships are bold, occupying a noticeable place in our global hierarchy. Meanwhile, plans to supply Venezuelan oil to Belarus deserve respect, alongside Belarusian economic expansion in Venezuela. We have projects relating to hydrocarbon production, as well as housing and factory construction by Belarusian specialists. The Venezuelan topic is reflected in a range of articles in this issue: Discovering America Anew, Oil Resources and Festive appeal. The latter is dedicated to mutual penetration of culture and spiritual attractions, which is vital.
Politicians, businessmen and tourists who arrive in our country note our hospitality, alongside how clean and cosy our cities are and our wealth of historical monuments. Of course, they notice our unique culture! Meanwhile, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, our forests and lakes and the rivers Dnieper, Nieman, Zapadnaya Dvina and Pripyat delight everyone. Belarusian Polesie is a very special area, boasting huge natural treasures unrivalled on the European continent. A recently adopted state programme aims to develop this region over the next five years, preserving the natural environment and improving social welfare via economic and technological change. Second Wind for Europe’s Lungs is devoted to this topic.
Polesie is one of Belarus’ calling cards, as is the growing of flax. Songs have been dedicated to it and flax flowers grace the country’s coat of arms. Flax and Harvest details the cultivation of this wonderful plant in Belarus. Only three natural fibres grow in the world — wool, cotton and flax — and Belarus’ climate is ideal for flax. Linen clothes have been popular for centuries, with demand ever stronger. Moreover, Belarus has the opportunity to successfully promote sales abroad. Recently, on visiting Belarus’ largest linen mill, at Orsha, President Alexander Lukashenko spoke about its prospects, “I confidently announce that our flax-manufacturing branch will become one of the best worldwide.” However, to achieve this goal, much work must be done.
Orsha is mentioned in this issue of the magazine twice. The city is famous not only for hosting the country’s largest linen mill but for its many historical monuments and its publication of Belarus’ first ABC book, as detailed in Silhouette of Time.
Belarus also has its own Paris, soon to celebrate its 200th anniversary. Belarusian Paris is situated in Vitebsk region, not far from the district centre of Postavy. How Beautiful Paris near Postavy is sure to tempt you to visit.
Belarus is known for its rich landscapes and wealth of talent — from music and art to handicrafts. It welcomes mutually beneficial integration (see the Union thematic issue) and enjoys hosting touring exhibitions. World standard shows visit the republic, such as that of the French Impressionists, currently in Minsk. Meanwhile, Fragments of the Tower of Babel, by State Award laureate painter Victor Alshevsky, is being hosted by the National Art Museum. This unusual project is proving just as popular as its French rival and has inspired the Exhibition as an Event publication.
The diversity of life is moving forward even in those regions which have most suffered from the Chernobyl accident of April 1986. Now, 24 years later, life has sprung anew, as described in Spring Mood. We’ll never forget Chernobyl, which has left its black trace on our land, but we look to the future with optimism.
BY Viktor Kharkov,