Posted: 05.04.2023 09:16:00

Crucial conditions for maintaining sovereignty and independence

President Aleksandr Lukashenko outlined the most relevant and important aspects in the development of the country in his annual Address to the Belarusian People and the National Assembly. The Head of State outlined the conditions for maintaining sovereignty and independence as the main idea of the Address. During the 3 hours of his speech, Aleksandr Lukashenko thoroughly explained the geopolitical situation in the world, outlined the most important external vectors of Belarus and historical lessons for our state, and, most importantly, drew attention to the real possibilities of maintaining peace and continuing progressive development. We invite you to familiarise yourself with the key statements of the President during the Address as well as his answers to the participants’ questions.

President of the Republic of Belarus, 
Aleksandr Lukashenko:
— Recall how all major conflicts of recent decades began. With the unwavering determination of the West to subjugate the whole world. And not even the West, but one country. With the transition of self-sufficient, sometimes very strong, truly independent states under external control. Like a virus, it penetrated the political landscape of a country either through the incumbent government or through the opposition. As a rule, it was done through the elites bogged in rampant corruption, because those who have something to lose, who have a hefty bank account abroad, will serve anyone and in any possible way...
— The so-called pivot to the East in our policy is the most reasonable reality dictated by the spirit of the times. After all, the sun sets in the West and rises, as we know, in the East...
— Let me emphasise once again: Belarus is our land. Only we ourselves know how Belarus should develop, only we determine and will determine the strategy for this development, only we bear real responsibility for our future. 

Six conditions for maintaining the sovereignty and independence of Belarus
• National unity
• Historical memory and national traditions
• Economy is 
the foundation
• Social justice
• Independent foreign policy
• National defence capability

On sovereignty and independence

• I want to ensure security of the Belarusian state and ensure peace for the Belarusian nation. My nation has earned it with its history, with its entire existence! We don’t want to live in slavery anymore and we will not be slaves!
• Sovereignty means that only we, citizens of Belarus have the right to talk about our national interests and determine national goals of further development in the territory of our own state. 

• If we want to be sovereign and independent, I repeat once again: there is no need to be in the clouds, there is no need to think about extraterrestrial civilisations there. Everyone should mind his or her own business.
• We must simply preserve sovereignty and independence today. That is why I based my today’s appeal on this very thing. And we will preserve this sovereignty and independence and provide them with everything possible, including a nuclear arsenal.

On events in Ukraine

• The events in eastern Ukraine — Donbass — became a continuation of the policy of destroying everything Russian. The ideology of fascism is put into practice: murder of dissidents and arsons that set people ablaze (recall Odessa).
• Through efforts of the United States of America and its satellites, a full-scale war has been launched in a country that is kindred to us. A war ‘to the last Ukrainian’. End of quote. About 0.5 million people from both sides have been killed and maimed over the course of one year because of the war. Millions are now refugees. As a result, World War III with nuclear fires now looms ahead.
• I will try to risk proposing to stop the hostilities. Indeed, many people now, especially in Russia, can say: ‘Well, we already stopped in Donbass then’. It was another moment, another situation. But given those conditions, it is necessary to stop hostilities. To declare a truce without the right to move, regroup troops of both sides, without the right to move weapons and ammunition, manpower and equipment! For everybody just to freeze!

On the actions of Poland

• In 2023 alone Poland intends to spend about €21 billion on military needs or about 3 percent of the GDP. 70 percent more than in 2022. By 70 percent! Even the Americans did not allow themselves such growth.
• The decision to increase the number of military personnel up to 300,000 people by 2035 has been made. In other words, practically two times as many as what Poland has today.
• Besides, the formation of some regiments, legions for the sake of deposing the Belarusian government is in full swing. All these facts will be published with time… They are getting ready to invade Belarus’ territory in order to destroy our country!

On deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

• In emerging conditions and the military and political situation around our country I’ve reactivated negotiations with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the return of nuclear weapons to Belarus.
• I have the right to raise the issue of returning nuclear weapons, which back then, before me, the madmen decided to give up, signed obligations to return them. I remember how they pressed me back then.

• Any encroachment upon the sovereign territory of Belarus, our military and civil infrastructure will be met with an immediate response. I have always told you this. You sometimes listened, but thought your own. Some believed, some did not. Do you now believe that we will respond? We will, and we will do it to the fullest.
• Everything will be according to the law and according to the rules. There are no uncontrolled weapons in Belarus and cannot be such. Therefore, it is we who will be here to manage everything in Belarus. 

On Belarusian People’s Congress and parties

  • Delegates of the Belarusian People’s Congress, representatives in municipal councils of deputies and members of the parliament will be elected by the Belarusian nation and only by the Belarusian nation instead of mythical OSCE observers.
• Whatever party or public movement they represent, MPs should first and foremost serve people instead of interests of individual oligarchs and politicians. Even more so foreign ones.

• But I repeat there will be no foreign agents funded by foreign countries in our political field. That’s the end of it! And there will be no party of power either. For those who have forgotten with what programme I went to the first presidential election, let me remind you: ‘not with the left, not with the right, not with the party, but with my own people!’ My stance has not changed.

On historical memory 

• Time itself has forced us to take a tougher state stance on matters concerning the preservation of historical truth. To give a principled and uncompromised evaluation of individual facts.

• Medieval oligarchs made money off the hard work of ordinary people who were really struggling. However, is it mentioned during excursions around these castles, these palaces that we restored and refurbished? This is a question of the historical truth and objectivity. 
• Belarus’ official national symbols are a kind of custodians of historical memory. The fact that we have three national symbols (coat of arms, flag and anthem) and state holidays for only two of them, is probably wrong. We need to rectify this situation.

On the economy

• Let’s take care of our country. There will be an economy — no missiles, armed terrorists and others will not threaten us. Give me that economy. It depends on you. Everything else I will decide myself.
• Great financial ‘experts’ predicted the fall of our economy, the fall of the ruble, the poverty of the population. Now when those predictions are far from the truth, it is necessary to explain to citizens of the European Union why Belarus endured when they had to be frugal about heating, hot water, gasoline.

• Our enterprises keep working and goods are being shipped to new markets despite all the sanctions. We secured a record-high foreign trade surplus of nearly $4.3 billion (we even beat the record high of 2021), thus preserving the stability of the national currency.
• The development of our port infrastructure and new overland routes to China, Iran and other Asian countries must become the absolute priority of our transport industry. 

On IT direction 

• The status of the IT country provides for creating a product to serve needs of our own economy first. Preferences were granted with that in mind. I have yet to see the results.
• Not only resident companies of the Hi-Tech Park but the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, industrial groups, the financial sector, scientific and educational institutions should be granted support for creating new information technologies.

• The development of Belarusian software and its deployment should become an unconditional priority for all the organisations that are involved in the relevant business.
• The Hi-Tech Park should get seriously involved in this process, should create new competitive products for the benefit of its own country while leaving intellectual products here… We have to shake up this sector.

On social justice

• When I hear that the richest man has $300 billion as assets or in his pockets, I don’t think it is acceptable. But nobody has calculated how many millions of people had to work to earn these billions and what these people got in return.

• The mankind is being gradually led into the so-called new world where there will be billions of redundant people. They will be deprived of rights, hungry, and poor but allegedly free in the most versatile liberalistic manifestations. You know which ones. People feel it and take to the streets. Look at what is going on in the West, for instance, in France
• In our country, everyone who wants and can work, work and earn.
• We always remember our elders. Pensions increased three times last year.
• Overall, income growth this year should exceed 4 percent in real terms. We’ll take it.
• All decisions on price regulation have been made. Indeed, they are tough. You know my principled approach: no one is allowed to raise prices unreasonably and rob people. This is the first. Secondly, Belarusians should not pay for ‘empty’ dollars, as the whole world does today.
• That’s true, tariffs are set at the full rate for those who are fundamentally unemployed and self-exiled. I ask the State Control Committee to check whether this is so... This was done, but what is the reality? Part of society is already demanding from me, especially for self-exiled opposition. Their relatives are in gold, the property of these extremists is not touched. They are carrying out terrorist attacks today. Of course, we will not rush here, but there is a question.
• But we do not plan to increase payments for the population by more than $5 in equivalent.

On the development of regions

• People need jobs where they live. In addition, the implementation of the ‘one district – one project’ principle is designed to promote the creation of new jobs and employment in the current five-year plan.

• We will move from targeted support for individual regions and the provision of an individual package of benefits to the implementation of the ‘farther from Minsk and regional centres, the more benefits and preferences’ approach.
• The economic development of all regions must be fair and balanced. This is a priority of the regional development programme. We must not allow the division of our compact country into Minsk and the rest of Belarus! There are seven ‘I’ — six regions and Minsk. This is our slogan.
• It is necessary to actively develop a single portal of electronic services and increase its accessibility, regardless of the place of residence of people.

On medicine

• The production of Belarusian medicines is under special control. Their share should increase incrementally, the assortment should be expanded. The same pertains to domestic innovative technology and equipment.
• The fact that the West is using sanctions to hurt sick people, including the elderly and children, is simply outrageous. They have hit rock bottom. I will tell you one thing: we will pull through. This is a matter of honour. We will not depend on them in the medical field.
• In the near future, we plan to dramatically shake up the healthcare sector of Belarus.

• All healthcare facilities of the country should epitomise comfort and sterility. The governors and the minister should keep this matter under close control.
• Special focus will be on our little patients. It is necessary to create the most comfortable conditions for them! Children’s health is also a matter of demographic security, without which it makes no sense to think about tomorrow.

On demographic security

• We provide for large families. Nevertheless, there are thousands of facts, when we give money to children, but parents drink them away. You know that large families are not always on Easy Street. Whatever it costs us, the government and governors should solve this problem. If you see that the family is drinking these funds away and the children are not getting it, make a decision on your level and provide for the children! Make sure kids get these benefits. So that these crazy drunk parents don’t get this money in their hands if they don’t deserve it.

• Any popularisation of the ideas of childfree families in our information and cultural space should be suppressed. Any such veiled appeals, as well as all non-traditional trends, is nothing but an attempt to depopulate and weaken the state. No less. Such ideology should be outlawed.
• The cult of a full-fledged family with two or more children should be the lifestyle of Belarusians. Only in this way can we be sure that the generations that follow us will grow, which means that we will firmly hold sovereignty in our hands and are guaranteed to live in peace.
• We need to break the ‘career or family’ stereotype. All necessary conditions have been created in the country for a woman to realise herself as a mother and as a professional. There are such examples. Last year we introduced Father’s Day.

On education

• Thousands of foreigners find a new home and a new homeland on Belarusian land... People come to us, among other things, for knowledge. Today Belarus is an educational hub of Eastern Europe, where all conditions have been created for obtaining fundamental and applied education in the widest range of specialties.

• The entire education system should be directed to the future, to form a new type of worker — competent, flexible, proactive, and ready to live and work in an open information society. This principle applies to all specialties — from combine operators and builders to doctors.
• Only a patriot can raise a patriot. We have a colossal omission in this regard. We need to shake up our rectors. 

On foreign policy  

• The intensification of interaction between Belarus, Russia, China, Iran, the countries of the Middle East, and other constructive centres of power poses a real threat to the concept of a unipolar world. What is our common response? It is in unity and common approaches to the formation of a just and multipolar world. They choke us with economic sanctions — we open up new markets for ourselves. They want to close transit — we build new logistics routes for trading with friends.
• Our merchandise export to Russia grew by 1.5 times to over $23 billion (what was considered) in 2022. The overall trade (goods and services) went beyond $50 billion.

• Achieving the status of all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership was a logical result of Belarus’ interaction with China. This level of partnership will help Belarus explore new promising avenues in all the key areas regardless of any external factors.
• The forthcoming accession of Belarus to the SCO as a full member opens new prospects. Today this organisation is one of the world’s largest regional associations. As part of it, we will become stronger, and we will make it stronger by providing additional opportunities for co-operation in many areas.

On defence capability

• I’d like the public, including Belarusian public and the Western public, to know that Belarusian Polonez is as good and in many parameters better than the famous MLRS HIMARS that Ukrainians use today. An American weapon.
• Our army has also acquired an even more powerful missile system Iskander. This weapon is unmatched in the world. A weapon capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Our refitted aircraft can also carry nuclear munitions. I am convinced these measures will give pause to overseas hawks and their satellites. We will make them reckon with our nation if they cannot understand another language.

• I must say: if we have to, Putin and I will bring strategic nuclear weapons here, too. And those foreign scums, who are now trying to blow us up from the inside and from the outside, have to understand it. We will stop at nothing in defence of our countries, our states, and our peoples.
• Once again I’d like to calm down everyone, who worries about peace and security in our country: don’t be afraid of anything, everything will be fine. We will defend peace as good as we can instead of destroying it… All the defence, security, and law enforcement agencies had been instructed to preserve peace in Belarusian land whatever the cost and the task is being fulfilled.

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