Today’s level of Belarus’ demand in Russia has never been seen before
The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, met with Governor of Russia’s Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Kondratyev
The Head of State noted that the withdrawal of ‘old friends’ from Russia and Belarus enabled the two countries to develop their industries using their own base. Fortunately, this base has been preserved.
“Today, Belarus is in demand as a high-tech country. I am saying this not because I consider my country the greatest one, but because we were a high-tech region in the Soviet times (this is how the national economy was built then). All raw materials moved to the West via us. We processed them and made competitive goods. Otherwise, the Soviet Union would not have been able to sell them outside the country. We have preserved this base,” the President emphasised.
Belarus has preserved its industrial giants, including thanks to the government’s well-considered policy: the authorities have introduced a ban on a sweeping sale of property, especially large enterprises.
“As it was the case in the 1990s with private traders seen as general welfare. Private traders seek their own interests only. The state always bears huge responsibility. The state is responsible for the people living here,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
At the same time, the Belarusian leader noted that the country does not prevent the private sector from developing, with these enterprises making a significant contribution to the national budget.
“We have preserved the fundamental, key industries. We are now trying to build a network of small-sized enterprises that will work for the key enterprises. In mechanical engineering, small companies can produce nuts, bolts and parts and help huge companies make progress. Of course, we still have to do a lot in this area, but the main thing is that today’s level of Belarus’ demand in Russia has never been seen before,” the Head of State added.
Veniamin Kondratyev belta
Moreover, Belarus makes both large equipment and goods for the microelectronic industry. All this due to the fact that the country has preserved its machine tool and equipment manufacturing base.
“Russians are ready to invest a lot of money in the sector, because it is hard to imagine development without these microchips. The country has tremendous technological capabilities. We have preserved our science, including fundamental science. Here, we have proceeded from our needs and export opportunities. We have built the same system in agriculture, industry and other areas,” the President stressed.
Belarus has recently launched the production of passenger cars. China has provided support here. Today the country is working to expand the localisation scale, Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Belarus also pays close attention to the defence sector: the recent developments in the region and across the world are pushing for such steps. Since Soviet times, Belarus has been working on electronic warfare and communications systems. And today, as events show, this is one of the main components in the conduct of hostilities. In addition, the republic is involved in rocket science. Initially, the partner was the People’s Republic of China, now Belarus is using Russian technologies.
“Together with our elder brother [during recent negotiations of the Presidents of Belarus and Russia in Sochi] we agreed how we will act in Belarus. Certainly, we don’t want to reveal it in public. Our latest talks in your country were dedicated to defence and security,” the Head of State said.
He emphasised the importance of joint actions for the sake of reducing the possibility of growing challenges and threats,
“Ukraine is only the beginning. We may see worse things if we don’t mobilise and don’t show to them that we can retaliate well. We and Russia are most of all concerned about Poland. And America stands behind Poland. They have decided to destroy everything in this area. First and foremost, the European Union. Poland is the key foothold. In 2020, they wanted to merge Belarus with Poland and make us a dividing line between Russia, the East, and the West. But they failed. This is why now we pay close attention to defence.”
The Head of State stressed: Belarus is trying to develop in all the areas.
“But we are not a giant country and do not have giant resources to come to any country, including Africa, to give loans and develop technologies there. We, however, have technologies in all the areas, and we are in demand today, including in Africa. The formula is simple, and the reason is clear why we were persistently interested in your visit to Belarus. Kuban is the breadwinner, the advanced region of the Russian Federation in all respects,” the Belarusian leader said.
The President recalled that Belarus is actively developing co-operation with various Russian regions. He stressed that the main thing was to implement all the agreements which were many.
“This is our principle: if we have agreed, we have to fulfil them. We have come to the understanding lately that we need to determine the key regions in Russia, from where we can work with neighbouring regions and so on. We consider Kuban as a key region where we should secure a firm foothold. It is not just delivering equipment and selling it. We want to set up a certain hub with you. Furthermore, we are ready to develop several such large centres across Russia and produce equipment together with you, train your people if needed. We are ready for this,” the Head of State said.
For example, St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast are such key regions for Belarus in the north of Russia. Co-operation with Africa is developing along the same lines. Here, Belarus considers Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea as hubs to work on the continent, the President cited a few examples.
“We are ready to develop co-operation with you on all fronts. You know it very well. This includes agriculture, machine building, and elevators. Our policy is not to rush into something great and new (because this means big investment and “catching up and overtaking” is not our principle at all), but to develop what we know how to do. We have tractor building industry. Why not develop it? Russia, for example, is huge and needs a lot. The same is true about harvesters, BelAZ trucks. We are trying to develop the areas where we have experience, competence and specialists. Therefore, if Kuban needs something, we will surely reach the relevant agreements and implement them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko assured.
At the same time, the President noted that Belarus could supply passenger vehicles fitted with various types of engines, but with one request only — they need to be serviced well and in a timely manner. If there is no such possibility locally, Belarus is ready to help in this regard, which means to send its specialists, to organise personnel training in the region.
Belarusian builders are showing interest in co-operation with Krasnodar Territory. They can take part in the region’s social construction projects.
Trade turnover between Belarus and the Krasnodar Territory is growing dynamically and at the end of 2022 exceeded $556 million. Compared to 2021, the increase was almost 60 percent. Over the seven months of this year, we reached $340 million, which is a quarter more than in the same period last year.
Thanks to its mild climate and fertile lands, the Krasnodar Territory occupies a leading position in Russia in many respects in agriculture. A tenth of all Russian grain is grown here. By the way, last year, for the first time in history, 10.7 million tonnes of wheat were harvested. Kuban is one of Russia’s three leaders in milk production, produces 40 percent of all fruits and berries in the country, and is the main producer of Russian tea. In addition, Kuban rice is the most competitive in the world due to its environmental friendliness and is exported to 25 countries.
At a meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko, Veniamin Kondratyev admitted that when Russia faced new challenges and difficulties, he analysed and looked for an answer to the question of where to find a partner who would preserve the high-tech agro-industrial complex of the region, “This was important, because Kuban must remain both a guarantor of food security and the breadbasket of the country. Apart from Belarus, I have not found another partner for myself.”