Alexander Lukashenko sworn in as Belarus President (inauguration speech)


Alexander Lukashenko sworn in as Belarus President (inauguration speech)

The newly elected President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko officially took office on November 6. The inauguration attracted the attention by novelties in the procedure. In the Palace of Independence, the Belarusian leader was sworn in in civilian clothes, and then appeared in State Flag Square in a military uniform.

According to the Constitution, the President shall take office only after taking the oath. The ceremony, under the law, should be held no later than two months after the elections.

The November 6 ceremony became a bright completion of the campaign and a promising start and a new page in the history of Belarus.

A few hours before the solemn moment guests began to gather in the hall. There was a record number of them this time - more than a thousand.

Andrea Victorin, head of the European Union delegation to the Republic of Belarus:
Belarus and the European Union have common interests. To counter global challenges, we need to unite our efforts.

Cui Qiming, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic to the Republic of Belarus:
I congratulate you on the occasion. I want to say that it will be the opening of a new page in the history of the development of the Belarusian state. I think your country will continue political stability and economic development.

Kozidavlat Koimdodov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Republic of Belarus:
I think that Belarus, with its new leader, will pursue progressive development, as was earlier. It is the creation of jobs, the direction of all efforts on the welfare of the Belarusian people.

Sanaka Samarasinha, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of Belarus:
I congratulate your President on the victory. As you know, just before the election, Alexander Lukashenko attended the session of the UN General Assembly. Belarus has always played a positive role in the UN. Your country has always defended the principles of peace and tranquility.

Thierry Mariani, a deputy of the National Assembly of France, vice president of the friendship group France-Belarus:
The President begins a new term. And, moreover, it is a new point of reference in terms of establishing peace in Europe. You know about the role that Belarus plays in the establishment of peace in Europe.

Leonid Kuchma, former president of Ukraine:
Looking at the situation in Belarus, I would like to wish Ukraine and all other nations such stability. We are on the path which we would not wish anyone to choose in the future.

Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation:
I'm happy for the republic, which for the last 20 years has shown an example of how to get out of a difficult situation even in difficult conditions. We must congratulate the people of Belarus and President Lukashenko, who was able to pursue this policy.

MORE: Guests about Presidential inauguration in Belarus

The political elite, civil servants, the pride of the nation - athletes, musicians, scientists, doctors and foreign guests - were taking seats in the hall.

Vladimir Kovalyonok, Soviet cosmonaut, twice Hero of the Soviet Union:
Belarus chose its own way. And this will continue to be the case. There may be no acceleration or deceleration.

Zhores Alferov, Nobel Prize winner in physics, foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences:
It is good that Belarus has good labor force and clever people. Belarusians and Russians are of course working together.

More than a hundred journalists from around the world - including from the United States and China - were waiting for the end of the main political event in Belarus. 

The Belarusian flag and the standard of the President as well as the Constitution were brought to the Palace of Independence. Having placed his right hand on the main document of the country, Alexander Lukashenko said those 30 words in the Belarusian language.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Assuming the office of President of the Republic of Belarus, I solemnly swear to faithfully serve the people of the Republic of Belarus, to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, to observe and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, faithfully and conscientiously fulfill the high duties entrusted to me.

From this very moment the President takes office. Alexander Lukashenko signs an act of oath. On the stage are senior officials: the chairmen of both chambers of the Belarus Parliament, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.

CEC head Lidia Yermoshina presents the President a certificate. After the official part Alexander Lukashenko addressed the audience and the nation with a speech in which he outlined the main development priorities for the next five years.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We built a lot of housing, schools, hospitals, fine palaces of culture, sports arenas, modern roads and other infrastructure, modernized thousands of industrial enterprises, which, I am sure, will give some effect during these five years. In the short time, we solved the problem of food security. We put clothes on people. Moreover, the products of the Belarusian agro-industrial complex has turned into a solid article of export. The capacity we have built will help us ensure the development of the Republic of Belarus even in a time of global economic turmoil. Maybe the protocol of today's event does not provide this, but I must tell you the following. Yes, indeed, the people have accumulated a very large mass of expectations. Today we live in a free society and people are given different ideas, people are made to think. But the people needs a general line so that someone leads all the people somewhere.  You probably hear today too much about structural reforms but no one said what these reforms are.  But if someone wants reforms, they need to be honest and say that we must break the political system, the political system of Belarus and the state property should be divided. And distributed to someone. This is what these reforms will result in. And some forces in the world today are willing to pay a lot for these reforms. Ask yourself this question: do we need such reforms? Such reforms were carried out by brotherly Russia and Ukraine.  They both tasted these reforms. So what?  What's wrong with the system that we have created? I wonder more and more on some proposals heard from government offices. I increasingly wonder: what have we done wrong? Let's see. A kid is born: up to three years, any parent has the opportunity to sit with the kid and educate him or her and receive free medicines. From the first day we surround the baby and parents with care.

We are in third place in the world in terms of the lowest infant mortality, after Germany and Sweden.  We are among the leaders. We have created the most powerful health system in the world. This is not my estimation. Recently, we welcomed ministers of health and medical luminaries from all over the world. They came to Belarus to study our experience. Our doctors in obstetric points in district and central hospitals know how to act and what to do in any situation. Each person can receive some form of assistance. We equipped our clinical hospitals and centers with cutting-edge technologies. But you can buy any medical equipment. The main factor is people, doctors. We have trained the most modern doctors. Today, in any country, wherever I go, I am asked to help train doctors and engineers.   Sometimes we simply can't accept these people because we have no place for foreigners in dormitories or in classrooms, laboratories. And we create these hostels, create these places, because we get good money for it. And then, these people who leave us, are considered our people since they spread our ideas, our ideology.

They say: reforms. So what? Do you want to reform health care? Let's break it. If you are ready for it and the people wants it, I always say I'm ready for any reform but not at the expense of a neighbor. I say this for good reason: we have recently conducted a sociological research among our people. People agree that they need reforms. When you begin to explain people the essence of these reforms they end up saying: "Yes I am for reforms, but not at my expense. Only if they are carried out at the expense of a neighbor." We will not be able to carry out such reforms. If you are ready for these reforms, let's be honest: we need to raise the retirement age, introduce paid healthcare and education system.  And if you're ready, we can do it in six months. Nothing will be broken, we need just half a year. Here in the hall is the President of Ukraine, he will tell you how reforms in the last few years have taken place in Ukraine, and what has happened to healthcare. So let us learn from the mistakes of others.

Do you pay money for kindergartens? Almost nothing! They are financed from the budget. We have created educational complexes. A baby can go from kindergarten immediately to the next door - to school. We guarantee a person the first job placement. So that people know they will be taken care of and have money. Are we going to break this system? 

They say, in industry, in agriculture, let us introduce private ownership of land. Cut to pieces and distribute to farmers. We have a little over 3,000 farmers, someone comes, someone goes. Today, it is hard to find the head of a large enterprise and you want me to cut land and give it to these poor fellows, who will dig this land with a shovel. State support is used even in France, Germany but it is not enough for peasants. So tell me, what will we break in agriculture? What kind of system will we get instead of the present one? Or in industry. You understand that we can sell only those companies that are working well. But no one is willing to pay much for them. We offered our most promising Belaruskali for $32 billion. It's its cost. And experts recognize this. Has anyone bought at least one share for this price? No. I was even offered a bribe worth billions of dollars only to lower the Belaruskali price to $15-16 billion. But what will I tell the people? You want this privatization? Not with me. I'm not going to divide and give away what the Belarusian people have been creating for decades. If Slavic peoples do so it turns into a tragedy. If not a revolution, then civil war.  Here is my answer to those hotheads - reformers, who now push me to these reforms. I have already given an answer to this: we will start with those who offer those reforms. If they get through, then we will think what to do with the rest of the people, whether to apply these reforms.   Here is my answer to the fundamental question, at least as long as I'm the president, for the next five years.

At the All-Belarusian National Assembly, I will try to develop this idea and reveal what political and state system, including the economic one, was going to be introduced 20-25 years ago.  They wanted the rich, 5-7% of the population, to have all the wealth of the country, and the rest were doomed to gathering crumbs from the table. I do not want this to happen during my presidency - and I am the first President of the country.    

Everyone is protected by law and hence by the President. This principle is immutable. This is the only way to achieve the consolidation of society, arouse its creative energy. We will stick to these approaches in the future. I talked about children. Now tell me about the old. You know our attitude to the elderly. This is generally a stronghold of the country. We chose a humane way, supporting the elderly. Do you want to break this system? What capitalist or a rich bourgeois, forgive me for these classic expressions, will finance these children and the elderly at his own expense? Only the state is capable of it. And the state can only be considered a state and be proud of it if it is suitable for the life of children and the elderly. We have a smart people, and it will not choose the reforms that will break it.

The elections once again proved that the seizure of power in Belarus with the help of color revolutions and rallies is a failure. That will never happen. In a safe and secure country, we have to solve the major problems in the economy. We need to raise it to a higher level. The economy of the next five years is a qualitatively different economy. We will continue the technological, managerial and innovative modernization. Cost, quality and efficient management must be a top priority. At the same time I demand the unconditional preservation of jobs and the payment of decent salaries.

A highly developed economy will be the guarantor of the independence of Belarus. We will build, I once again emphasize it, the state for the people. Therefore, our priority will be improving the quality of people's lives. The introduction of the very best in education, health, and social protection of the population. The health system and education will be maintained, whatever it may cost us. Particular attention will continue to be paid to the strengthening of the family institution, support to parents with many children and lending system in residential construction. Culture, sports, science, and youth programs will get a new impetus for the development.

Today our country is one of the few most stable corners in the world. Quickly developing transport and logistics infrastructure, Belarus has become an indispensable transit corridor. A huge flow of goods runs through our territory. And it will increase. Belarus is a peaceful and friendly country without any fantastic ambitions. Our desire is a simple and clear: to build a peaceful and happy life in our house, in cooperation and collaboration with all our neighbors. We had no problems with our neighbors. We've always been friends with them. And it will be so in the future.

There are no obstacles in order to turn the page of the past and start a new history of the relationship from scratch. We are ready for this and look forward to the same willingness of our Western partners. Fortunately, good prospects have recently emerged in this direction. And at the same time I want to note: after hearing or seeing that we are negotiating with the United States or the European Union, some are beginning to yell up to Vladivostok: Lukashenko is turning around! As soon as the west sees our good relations with Russia, with our native Ukraine and other post-Soviet republics, the West starts to criticize us. Please, do not tear us apart. Let us live in peace on this piece of land. We will ensure the interests of both the East and the West. Everything you want Belarus will do. Just do not break us, do not collide us with Russia or with the West. We are not going anywhere, we want to live on our land. We want to see the vital interests of Belarusians here on this piece of land. We do not have any other claims, just this one. We have no vital interests in neighboring countries. We want a calm and peaceful life. But when the West advises us to keep away from Russia I always honestly say we cannot be farther from Russia than from Ukraine or Kazakhstan because we were born in one basket. God ordained it. How can you break it?

Yes, we have our own point of view, yes, we have our own interests, and we have demonstrated this many times. But we sprouted from the same root. We are the Slavic tree. I came to power with this ideology in the mid-90s. How I can renounce this?  But are going to normalize relations with the West, because they are our neighbors too. We have economic interests there. Today, we sell 42% of our exports to Russia and more than 50% to the European Union. How can we refuse from this? And why push us away from this path if the whole world has here a corridor of 800km where East and West can safely navigate and collaborate?

The confrontation between the East and the West turns into a further escalation of conflicts, humanitarian disasters, a sharp drop in the standard of living and general degradation. An example of this is our native Ukraine. Someone out there sees their vital interests.  But kill children and the elderly? If you want to shoot, please go out into the open field and shoot each other. But do not touch those people who want to live peacefully. This is our policy. We, Belarusians, as a tolerant and open nation, will fully contribute to the growth of mutual understanding and cooperation on the continent. We want to be a link between nations and peoples. I see this as one of my most important tasks as President. And if the goal is reached, it will bring rich rewards for both Belarus and our neighbors and other countries.

From this point in the history of Belarus opens a new page. And the President said philosophically that the future is in our hands.

Do not be offended, dear Belarusians, but I will make you do some things sometimes. Because it is not always the authorities to blame. Look at yourself and think about what you personally and your family are doing for the sake of the country, so that it lives well. Probably you are not doing enough. Let's start the reforms in ourselves. And if we start with ourselves, we will stop all talk about reforms. We will be living well. And we will not have to set some goals for the reform, which will scrap the existing political and economic system. 

Dear friends! I am, of course, an ordinary man! You understand that perfectly. I have never needed any PR. If you start using PR then people will sort out who you are in real life and then kick you out. I am an ordinary person like you and, therefore, I may be wrong. I think we made no mistakes.There were different periods. Maybe we were a bit wrong somewhere, history will show after some time and people will make their assessments. I will never let you down or betray you! I think that is better to be killed than to confess that your ideas were wrong and you betrayed your people. I have always defended you and your children! Yes, I am a hard man, I will demand from the people that they work properly. Otherwise we will not survive as a country.

I understand that some voted for me in advance, giving me a chance to improve some aspects of my work. Excuse me, I'll explain: you made the right choice. Not because I'm exceptional, not because I am the most intelligent.  You voted right because after the voting we are not in debt. We spent little money for the election. I did not give promises to anyone in the East nor the West, in America or in Africa. We were independent during these elections.  And, believe me, it is the greatest treasure when a president is elected by the people.  It is worth a lot when you win not because of money but because the people elect you.  In other countries, big money is behind some leaders. I do not have this money, I have only you, the people. The Belarusian people! And I am ready to serve you until the end. Thank you!

Sergei Sidorsky, minister for industry and agro-industrial complex of the Eurasian Economic Commission:
We have come a long way to establish new enterprises, construct and modernize new enterprises, farms and agricultural enterprises. This is what defines today the face of Belarus, lays the foundation for Belarus' leadership among the five countries of the [Eurasian Economic] Union.

Darya Domracheva, Hero of Belarus, the Olympic champion:
We have done a lot for the life of our country. And today we see how our country is growing and developing, how the capital Minsk is evolving.

Marianna Shchetkina, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus:
We know that the course is always consistent and stability and well-being are the priorities. It is important to know who to go with and what to do.


In Belarus, there is a tradition that after taking office, the President also addresses the military. They swear allegiance to the commander in chief and the country. This part of the ceremony was held in State Flag Square, near the Palace of Independence. This is a symbolic place for Belarus.

In his address to the military, the President spoke about the duty to protect the interests of the country and its constitutional principles and territorial integrity.

Alexander Lukashenko:
As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces I set the highest goal: the protection of interests of our country and its constitutional principles and territorial integrity.
The world around us did not become a better place. And it has its negative impact on Belarus. But we will keep our state. We cherish our homeland. We will be united, consistent and persistent in building, principled and resolute in defending national interests. We have always said that we will never threaten anyone. Our military objective is to protect his little plot of land where a branch of the Slavic people - Belarusians - have been living. This is a clean, beautiful and educated nation.
We do not give up any piece of our land, but without threatening our neighbors and other countries.  We do not need someone else's, but we will not give ours either. For this end we, the military, are working. We are going to defend our land, our families, our children, relatives and loved ones. And we will not spare our lives for that. 

If we are men, we must not let anyone anymore invade our land and abuse our children, the elderly and women. We must protect this country at the cost of our lives, the country in which a peaceful and prosperous nation will live. I am confident that under your reliable defense we will all together overcome all difficulties and solve the most ambitious tasks for the benefit of our common home - the Republic of Belarus! Long live the hardworking people of Belarus and our brave defenders of the Fatherland!

The troops in State Flag Square answered three times "We swear!" 

After the inauguration, well-known artists and young performers took to the stage. In Belarus, everyone has an opportunity to prove themselves. This is even more important at the start of a new stage. A key message of the President's address was the following: it is we who determine where Belarus will be in the next 5-10 years.