Posted: 18.07.2023 14:19:00

Important mission of art

From year to year, gathering under the dome of the Vitebsk amphitheatre, both Belarusians and guests of the Slavianski Bazaar create peace. This is the main mission of the festival. This was stated by the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, during the opening ceremony of the 32nd International Festival of Arts Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk.


  According to the Belarusian Head of State, for a third of a century the festival has been making the beautiful city on the Dvina a place of attraction for real talents and true connoisseurs of art.
“We, Belarusians, do not call Vitebsk the cultural capital for the sake of pathos. This status is predetermined by history. And a thousand years ago, when the path from the Varangians to the Greeks passed here, and today the city has been and remains a crossroads of national cultures and traditions of different peoples. The rhythm of creative ideas and designs has always beaten here,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Aleksandr Kushner

 The President recalled that at the beginning of the last century, innovative art forms were created in the creative workshops of Malevich, Chagall and other avant-garde artists. Now they are recognised as world classics. In our time, the Vitebsk Region has become the birthplace of large-scale creative festivals, competitions, forums of the republican and international levels. Here new traditions are born, new talents are discovered — the history of modern art is being created.
“This story is written by you — our favourite artists, painters, composers, poets, craftsmen. I sincerely thank everyone who gives our holiday a piece of their soul. We hear it in songs, we see it in theatrical performances, dance numbers and street performances, in unique decorative items. All of us, participants, organisers, guests, create here an amazing atmosphere of true, real art that unites peoples and states. Art, which is beautiful with its national colour, which is truly high, always rising above political games and intrigues,” emphasised the President.
The Head of State added, 
“The motto of the festival ‘Through art to peace and understanding’ has never been as relevant as it is today. Slavic unity, the unity of all reasonable people, is again being tested for strength. But here, in Vitebsk, from year to year we see how it only gets stronger. And we have more friends. Artists from the farthest corners of the planet perform on this stage. Coming to us, they say no to all artificially created barriers between peoples and countries, to all imposed stereotypes and opinions about our countries... 
From year to year, gathering under the dome of the Vitebsk amphitheatre, together we — both Belarusians and Russians, and, I am sure, there are many Ukrainians here, and our guests — create peace! And this is the main mission of Slavianski Bazaar.”
The festival, which has become a hallmark and brand of Belarus, has been held under the patronage of the President since 1995, and Aleksandr Lukashenko also has his own important mission at the event — to present well-deserved awards.

Grand Prix of the 21st International Vitebsk Children’s Song Contest was won by Sherkhan Arystan of Kazakhstan Anna Kasper

This year, the Head of the Belarusian State presented the Grand Prix to the winner of the 21st International Children’s Music Competition Vitebsk, a young performer from Kazakhstan, Sherkhan Arystan. At the opening ceremony of the festival, the President also presented the Honoured Artist of Belarus and the permanent host of the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, Yelena Spiridovich, with a special award ‘Through Art to Peace and Understanding’.
“Like all previous years, we honour those who take their first steps in the profession, and already accomplished masters. We appreciate the experience and contribution to the development of national culture, we see new talents, we open the way for them to a great life and to the big stage. To some extent, this ceremony reflects the essence of the policy of our states, built on the principles of continuity of eras and generations. 
We, Belarusians, have great respect for our predecessors, on whose shoulders we rely, strengthening and developing our statehood. And we do everything to become a reliable support for our children and grandchildren. We have always been an island of safety and a reliable support for all peace-loving people. Believe me, Belarus will always be like this,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The President wished that the history of Slavianski Bazaar and Belarus would be eternal, that the best melodies and voices of not only Belarusian masters of art, but also those close to Russia, Ukraine, neighbouring Slavic and many other peoples always sound on the festival stage. The President also expressed the wish that peace and creation remain the main goals of modern and future generations.

Aleksandr Kushner

“You gave me wings!”

Yelena Spiridovich thanked the President of Belarus for the award ‘Through Art to Peace and Understanding’, “Dear Aleksandr Grigoryevich, you just gave me wings! This is a great honour and great trust. And I know that I will do everything possible and even impossible to justify this trust. Thank you for doing this here, in Vitebsk, on the sacred stage for me… I know that the world we live in is ruled by love. And everything is very simple: you need to love the work that you do, the people for whom you live, and love your country. This is how I have lived until today, and this is how I will continue to live!”

A significant contribution to the strengthening of spiritual ties between the Slavic peoples

The International Festival of Arts Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk makes a significant contribution to the strengthening of spiritual ties between the Slavic peoples, to the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. This is stated in the congratulatory telegram of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin addressed to the participants and guests of the festival, the text of which was heard today at the opening ceremony of the musical festival.
The head of the Russian Federation stressed, “This large-scale and truly extraordinary international forum has been enriching the cultural life of many countries for decades, making a significant contribution to strengthening the spiritual ties between the Slavic peoples, to expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. Slavianski Bazaar is famous for its good creative traditions, the atmosphere of friendship and creation, and fully implements its motto ‘Through art to peace and mutual understanding’.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko told how he saved the festival in Vitebsk at the dawn of his presidency

After presenting the special award of the President of the Republic of Belarus ‘Through Art to Peace and Understanding’ to the Honoured Artist of Belarus Yelena Spiridovich, the Head of State told how, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, individual businessmen offered to hold the Slavianski Bazaar in different cities and countries. Only a few people opposed this approach, including Yelena Spiridovich.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the history of the festival at the very beginning of his presidency and spoke about his first steps on the Vitebsk stage, “You know, in what state a person goes out in front of a huge audience... This is 7 thousand here (in the Summer Amphitheatre — editor’s note), millions are watching. And I’m coming up to our top presenters. And it seemed to me that such a young girl (today already an adult) is trying to throw out some information to me right away, realising that it would be difficult to meet with the President, especially in those days. I listen to her word by word. And I recall Alena’s phrase: ‘Aleksandr Grigoryevich, please save the Slavianski Bazaar!’”
According to the Belarusian leader, there were difficult times then. And it was not the collapse of the Soviet Union or the lack of finances, “The fact is that the skilful businessmen who appeared at the forefront of our society tried to move this Slavianski Bazaar through cities and towns. Only a few people, including Alena, felt that there would be no festival, that it would dissolve and perish. When I returned from this first event, I understood it all.”
The President fundamentally indicated that he spoke about this not in order to emphasise his role, “And so it is emphasised... What I did, did not do, bad, good ... Such is the fate of the presidents. But I want to say that there were quite a few — three or four people, maybe five, who, having become attached to our festival in their souls, clung to it with a stranglehold and asked everyone they could to save it. We gave this prize to Yelena Spiridovich not in vain. Maybe a little too late. Therefore, Alena, do not be modest. You deserve this award...”

Based on materials of and