Veterans in high spirits

[b]State takes care of children and the elderly[/b]The policy shows true humanity, allowing people to enjoy their twilight years rather than simply surviving, as was heard repeatedly during the President’s visit to the Republican House of War and Labour Veterans. Most are already over 90 years old.The veterans’ home was reconstructed at the instruction of the President, who believes that all such institutions in Belarus should offer the same level of comfort. Even without hearing the veterans’ views, it’s clear that they enjoy active and interesting lives. The gym and swimming pool are never empty. Others are involved in needlework or writing poetry, devoting themselves to hobbies for which they lacked time previously. Moreover, they’ve achieved great success in these pursuits.
State takes care of children and the elderly

Warm greetings during a visit of the Republican Home for War and Labor Veterans  by Alexander LukashenkoThe policy shows true humanity, allowing people to enjoy their twilight years rather than simply surviving, as was heard repeatedly during the President’s visit to the Republican House of War and Labour Veterans. Most are already over 90 years old.
The veterans’ home was reconstructed at the instruction of the President, who believes that all such institutions in Belarus should offer the same level of comfort. Even without hearing the veterans’ views, it’s clear that they enjoy active and interesting lives. The gym and swimming pool are never empty. Others are involved in needlework or writing poetry, devoting themselves to hobbies for which they lacked time previously. Moreover, they’ve achieved great success in these pursuits.
Cheslav Vysotsky is keen on art, with various oil paintings hanging on the walls of his room. He presented Mr. Lukashenko with one his works. Mr. Vysotsky came to Belarus two decades ago from Lithuania and has spent the last decade at home. He admits that he never had time to indulge in painting before, but can now dedicate himself fully to exploring his talent. The President also received a gift from some of the women: an embroidered Christmas tapestry. Talent is in no short supply.
The home is clean, cosy and warm — just as it should be. Of course, its facilities surpass those of any ‘normal’ home, since medical services and caring staff are on hand day and night. Meanwhile, residents are never short of company, despite lacking their own family to care for them. Sadly, some do have family, but are unable to live with them; instead, they pay a nominal sum of Br3m per month for their keep. The President is dismayed that some elderly people’s children refrain from upholding their duty of care to their parents; others are pensioners themselves, so the situation is complex.
Mr. Lukashenko made his feelings known, saying, “We should oblige children to look after their elderly parents; if they don’t wish to do so, they must pay for their care. If legislation is lacking, amendments should be made in the first half of the year to ensure that children take care of their parents.” A corresponding instruction is now underway.
A similar system obliges neglectful parents to pay for the maintenance of their children by the state, with fees covering expenses fully. Homes for the elderly would benefit from similar funding.
The President was then invited for a cup of tea, entertained by the young-at-heart veterans’ reading of verse and singing, accompanied by a bayan. Mr. Lukashenko joined in the choruses with pleasure, since most of the melodies were familiar from Soviet times: folk ballads and war songs, alongside those composed by the residents themselves. The President was praised for his singing and was invited to join the choir. Everyone was delighted.
The elderly are also interested in politics and spoke of the war. Someone lamented that partisans are being undeservedly forgotten, so the President replied, “People certainly know of the contribution played by the partisans. Some are now trying to discredit the movement but, in our country, we have not allowed your deeds to be distorted.”
The partisans are honoured at the new Museum of Great Patriotic War History, which is destined to be recognised as a leading museum worldwide dedicated to WWII. Mr. Lukashenko stressed that, this year, the site is to be finally completed, launching its halls dedicated to the partisan movement. He notes, “It will be a grand museum: the most modern and majestic. Everyone visiting Minsk, entering the museum, will understand the sacrifice made by our nation on their behalf. Western Europe should realise that it owes its modern existence to us and should remember our sacrifices, appreciating that they owe their lives to our resistance and determination. Occasionally, we Belarusians are blamed, which should stop. We haven’t been paid for our contribution to the Great Patriotic War victory. You live thanks to many of our people dying.”
The veterans nodded in agreement while the President admitted that he’d like to see them at the opening of the new museum. “I’d like your lives to continue, as an example to others, so they can appreciate the value of life,” underlined the Belarusian leader.
A certain poem recited at the tea table echoed this sentiment: ‘One can be young at 90 or old at just 40’.
Certainly, the elderly can inspire us. Meanwhile, on reaching a venerable age, life takes on a different hue.

By Dmitry Krylov
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