You are here

What unites Belarus and Spain: cuisine, sport, food and tractor Belarus

Spain is a country that knowns terrorism well, but, thank God, say Spaniards, trouble has not recently disturbed these blessed and lively regions, which live full life even in winter, especially the capital. An important political event took place in Madrid - the embassy of Belarus in Spain opened there and we briefly reported about it. And today we offer you a big report on the country to which many Belarusians go for holidays and which cuisine we love tasting. And it's time to show ourselves, too, because Spaniards don't know much about Belarus, but, as it turned out, they appreciate us! Let's watch the movie.

In Madrid, tourists from around the world shine the polished sides of Rocinante - for good luck. For those who have forgotten - this is the trusty horse of the knight named Don Quixote. And almost everyone takes a photo with the world-famous character of Cervantes.

Yuri Koziyatko:
"Know, Sancho, that only those men rise above others who do more than others," said Don Quixote 400 years ago.

The Spanish classic write himself rose above the others. His story about the noble knight a few years ago was named the best work of world literature.

In Minsk, Don Quixote performances at the Bolshoi Theater of Opera and Ballet have been sell-outs for 30 years.

Minsk and Madrid, together with the entire educated world, experience a common literary history. The economic and political history can also be developed in a new way. The embassy of Belarus opened in Madrid. The presentation took place at the hotel Intercontinental.

Luis Fraga, member of the People's Party of Spain:
It is very important that Belarus has decided to open an embassy in Spain.

Yevgeny Shestakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus:
First of all, politics. Politically, Spain is an influential member of the European Union.

The embassy is created a quarter century after the establishment of relations between the two countries. Spain is ready to make a reciprocal step.

Ignacio Ibanez Rubio, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spain:
We, in turn, pledged to open the Spanish Embassy in Belarus. We will work on the economic component of our relations.

A hundred VIPs attending the presentation were surprised not only by official speeches.

"The Roman set" - bread and circuses! - has not lost relevance. Products from Belarus plus singing creativity were presented to the public.

Alexei Panfyorov, Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Kingdom of Spain:
These products, like in any EU country, have their consumers and comply with all the standards that allow them to be sold here.

Foodstuffs produced in Belarus can now be found on the shelves of Madrid stores.

Olga Savchak, saleswoman (Madrid):
Kvass "Lidsky", very delicious, capelin roe, herring fillets, sea cabbage. These products are appreciated, because they are without preservation agents. People buy them in large quantities.

Spaniard Antonio told us how juicy are strawberries, which the bear, the symbol of Madrid, eats. Antonio adds that Belarusian yummy foods will be appreciated by Spaniards. He himself has very "yummy" memories of his trip to Minsk.

Antonio Lopez Llorente, coordinator of a retail chain:
You could supply to Spain smoked meat and fish. In Spain, we haven't developed such production. Belarusian cuisine is very tasty. I tasted soup, cabbage rolls, dumplings, and potatoes. That is the best potatoes in the world!

It would seem that Spain is a country with lots of maritime products, but the Belarusian canned food we took with us made this Spanish family very happy.

Angela Redondo Borrego, resident of Madrid:
Wow! Caviar, yeah! How amazing! We were in Belarus six days. We were not able to take it this time because we put it in hand luggage.

Yuri Koziyatko:
You bought butter and still haven't eaten it?

Angel Redondo Borrego:
No, we have not. We brought four packs and save them for a special occasion, store in the refrigerator. We loved beetroot soup, herring under a fur coat, vodka... Borscht is very tasty too. Milk is very good, a very different taste. And, of course, we were surprised by Belarusian people. They are very good-natured and very welcoming.

Yuri Koziyatko:
At the market near the persimmon we see chanterelles and mushrooms. Saffron milk caps are 29 euros per kilo. Why couldn't Belarus ship its mushrooms to Spain?

Gifts of nature is a fashionable food, especially because Spanish gastronomy is at the highest level and is looking for something unusual and new for the exquisite dishes, according to the teacher of the Madrid University Olesya Slizheva.

Olesya Slizheva, university teacher (Madrid):
Our berries are completely unknown here. The same mushrooms are presented as the greatest delicacy. In Belarus, we have already got used to it. That is, we could make that kind of exchange.

We accidentally looked into the Spanish passport and found out an interesting fact.

Faustino Ramirez, teacher of a military academy:
The pages of the Spanish passport depict animals and birds that live in Belarus. For example, the bison and the stork. The stork is very popular in our country, but it is also a symbol of Belarus. The bison, which is depicted on the previous page, is not so common.

Yuri Koziyatko:
The Spanish passport unites Belarus and Spain.

Spaniards who visited Belarus are convinced that Belarusian nature and authenticity of the country are very attractive for Western Europeans.

Antonio Lopez Llorente:
Belarus is a country with great potential, including tourism. Your country is authentic, which can attract people from other countries.

Angel Redondo Borrego:
We thought we would see something modest but in fact we are really impressed. We would very much like to return to Belarus in the spring, because it should be even more beautiful.

Francisco Cortés Pascual, resident of Madrid:
In winter, I saw a lot of beautiful places. Here in Spain people don't know about their existence. Winter and snow are very popular with Spaniards.

In Spain, snow is a rare thing, except for mountain tops. What is noticeable about Spain and how is it different from Belarus?

First of all its name: Spain is a kingdom, although it's a parliamentary country. Cortes Generales (this is the name of the legislative branch) and the government really affect the daily life of the country.

Jesús Palasius, writer, journalist:
In better times, Spaniards were not involved in politics. It was the business of a smaller part of the society, which later became part of bureaucracy or political elite. Now interest is shown as Spaniards are concerned about their own future and development of the country.

Spaniards vote regularly and think about their decisions first.

Miguel Angel Ruiz de Azua Anton, director of the National College of Political Science and Sociology:
Turnout is usually high - 70-80% at general elections to the national parliament. When it comes to European and municipal elections, fewer voters turn out. But this is a pan-European trend, because these are the so-called secondary elections.

The king is, of course, not elected. The throne is inherited. In 2014, Juan Carlos I abdicated and handed the crown to his son Philip.

The King is the head of state, the symbol of unity and even, perhaps, a historical symbol that reminds of the great Spanish era.

Yuri Koziyatko:
In the center of Madrid there is a huge flag (ours in Minsk Flag Square is higher). But it's hard to compete with the history of once great colonial empire that paved the way to America. The Columbus Monument opposite reminds everyone about it.

Having conquered the New World, the conquistadors sent Indian civilizations to the backyard of history. But Spaniards believe that talk about the genocide is a fiction.

Jesús Palasius, writer, journalist:
It's black PR, created by the British in order to challenge the power of Spain. For over two centuries, during the reign of Philip II and Philip III Spain was an empire in which the sun never set.

The colonial era has sunk into oblivion, but the Hispanic world remained.

Yuri, chairman of the Russian-speaking community of writers in Spain:
Spanish is spoken by almost a third of the population of the world - 23 countries.

Today, Spain is one of the largest and most influential countries in Europe.

Pavel Latushko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the French Republic and the Kingdom of Spain:
Spain is a leader, a global leader and a key figure in the EU. And Spain's voice in Brussels is very important for us. And if Spain supports our efforts to normalize relations with the EU, it affects the overall EU policy.

By weight, the economy Spain is ahead of many important partners of Belarus - Russia, the Netherlands, Austria...

Olesya Slizheva:
6 out of 10 businesses in the world are Spanish: textiles, wind power, alternative energy - after Germany - this is one of the most powerful countries.

In recent years, Spain has shown a three-percent GDP growth - one of the best in the European Union. But do not forget that the country was seriously crippled by the global economic crisis.

Jesús Palasius:
We are still in one of the crisis' phases, although there is financial development. We experienced a serious collapse in 2007-2008.

Francisco Cortes Pascual:
The crisis has been very heavy. Families that used to have an average prosperity suddenly found themselves in poverty or with a very limited income. Unemployment in Spain reaches 18-20%.

The trade turnover between Belarus and Spain has halved in recent years. Even long-standing joint projects felt the effects of the crisis. For example, the shoe company Belkelme.

Shoes and clothes is one of the trump cards of the Spanish industry, and Spain has been a trendsetter many times. Suffice it to recall the famous Spanish collar (not from the times of the Inquisition, of course).

Yuri Koziyatko:
Three characters in Madrid in which you can turn into in a second are a bullfighter, a flamenco dancer and Carmen.

Today, fashionistas are interested in Spanish brands. Billionaire Amancio Ortega earned record high money thanks to shops to which even Belarusian girls rush.

But the Spanish feature is, of course, agriculture. Europe eats with pleasure Spanish fruit and vegetables. In the Belarusian market, this fruit story has taken an unexpected turn.

Alex Panfyorov:
They have a variety of persimmon, which is called Talaka. There is a Spanish corporation that is the major exporter of persimmon in the Republic of Belarus, not only persimmons but other fruits as well. They wanted to choose the word that very well characterized Belarus. And they chose Talaka (in the Belarusian language, the word "talaka" means collective help to a person from the same village who faces temporary difficulties - note by CTV.by).

Besides fruit names Belarusians and the Spanish can find a lot in common today. Even in the world of football, in which Spain celebrates victories and Belarus triumphs so rarely.

Yuri Koziyatko:
Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid's downtown is the home stadium of Real Madrid. It was here where FC BATE Borisov played Real and lost 0:2. Disappointing, but we should not be too ashamed, because Real beat even Barcelona with a score of 11:1.

The collection of Belarus and Spain matches is uneventful - BATE played two games against Real and four national teams matches, and Spaniards won on all occasions. We can recall a couple of Belarusian footballers who played for Spanish clubs, but did not acquire the fame of Ronaldo or Benzema.

Andoni, former football team coach (Bilbao):
I know little about Belarusian football, I only know that Hleb played for Barcelona. Football in Spain is very important. Here we give great importance to it. We are very proud of it. Spain was the world champion, the European champion. The best players in the world today play in Spanish football leagues.

Spain has 1 million professional football players! A almost everyone is a fan. Football in the minds of Spaniards competes with basic instinct.

The Spaniards don't argue that there is no sex in their country. But we did not see "women of pleasure", probably only on a lingerie store window. Men love to try a macho image. Our ladies sigh when seeing a macho in a gilded jacket with a sword in his hand. Bullfighter!

December is not the season for bullfighting. But in the outskirts of Madrid, we managed to find a bullfighter who fights with bulls on horseback. Such people are are called picadors.

Raul Martin Burgos, picador:
This is play with life, you need to control the horse you're sitting on.

The main audience of Spanish bullfighting are tourists. Moreover, many of them are waiting for the bull to win. In the 20th century, 134 people in Spain were killed by bulls, 33 of them were bullfighters. Until this summer this has not happened for the past 30 years. But in July 2016, the bull again killed a man.

Raul Martin Burgos:
I'm not scared. But it is a pity. Because there are very good bulls, who help you to earn a triumph, and still you have to kill them. This is, of course, unpleasant, but it's part of the show, part of Spanish culture and tradition.

The European community condemns bullfights and calls to ban it. However, when Europeans are killed in terror attacks and innocent blood is shed, talk about humane treatment of bulls is not that relevant. Spain is familiar with the threat of terrorism in connection with the long-term struggle of the Basque and Catalan independence. In 2004, with the participation of an underground Islamist organization, there happened the worst terrorist attack in the country's history: four commuter trains exploded in Madrid killing 191 people and leaving more than 2,000 injured.

Miguel Angel Ruiz de Azua Anton:
Terrorists killed many people in our country. I think the experience of our special services in the face of a new jihad threat hanging over Europe could be useful for other countries.

ISIL constantly threats Europe and now, on the eve of Christmas, another terrorist attack was committed in Berlin and Russian Ambassador killed in Turkey.

Miguel Angel Ruiz de Azua Anton:
The whole of Europe is in danger. But we have become accustomed to that.

Terrorist threats have forced Spain to stop the development of nuclear programs.

Jesús Palasius:
Actions of the Basque terrorist organization forced to stop the Lemoniz Nuclear Power Plant, located in the north of Spain. However, nuclear power plants still exist but a lot of work was done to develop alternative sources of energy.

Today, seven nuclear power plants operate in Spain. Nuclear safety is not a new theme for that country. Maybe that's why Spanish families willingly accept children from Belarusian regions affected by the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Ron Watson, a resident of Madrid:
We send them a parcel home at this address. These children are very good.

The Watson family notes that Belarusian children are more disciplined than the Spanish. In their opinion, Belarusians and Spaniards are different like night and day.

Maria Ordonez, resident of Madrid:
Americans are individualists. Belarusians are individualistic too. Spaniards... no. Spaniards like walking through the streets.

Ron Watson:
They walk, eat in bars. Music. Eat, drink, dance! Ole! Ole!

It's time to tell you about Spanish cuisine. The main specialty here in Madrid is paella.

Jesús Palasius:
The world famous paella, which was appeared in Levante, in Valencia. But this dish has become known throughout the world.

This is a dish of white or black rice with seafood or meat. But if you ask a Belarusian what to bring from Spain, they will certainly reply - jamón.

Yuri Koziyatko:
Here is the kingdom of jamón. Here are a number of pork legs. The best are black pigs with black hoofs, which are fed with acorns.

Maria Kubareva told us about jamon and other delights of the Spanish cuisine during the emigrant party in her cramped apartment on the outskirts of Madrid.

Maria Kubareva, vice-president of the association Cumbre Eslava:
Special pigs on long legs, meat pigs. Our pig have a lot of fat. Spaniards take potatoes, cut into slices and fry in oil. They scramble eggs, add onion, spices and fry.

Incidentally, potato sounds the same in Spanish and Belarusian.

Luis Miguel Conde, farmer:
In Spain they say bulbo - a seed potatoes (in Belarus it sounds "bulba" - note by CTV.by).

Bulba is grown in northern Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, where Belarusians can now buy a direct flight from Minsk in order to enjoy a firm wrinkled potatoes and a taste of Spanish wine. Spain is one of the first wine-producing countries of the world. It is also famous for its cocktail called Sangria.

And we are back to the emigrant kitchen.

Maria Kubareva:
We take apples, cut in slices, bananas and oranges. Adding juice. Wine. Adding strong alcohol: scotch, whiskey. And sparkling water. Sugar.

Yuri Koziyatko:
Do Spaniards drink a lot?

Maria Kubareva:
Every day at lunch.

Maria is not that right! Luis Miguel, a farmer from the northwestern region of Spain, debunked the stereotype: not all Spaniards are wine fans.

Luis Miguel Conde:
Wine is some chemical substance! I mean it's not natural. They squeeze grape juice and add flavorings and create a bouquet the consumer needs.

We drove over 200km to see a farmer who has the tractor Belarus.

The tractor is 10 years old, but Luis is pleased with the acquisition.

Luis Miguel Conde:
I am the owner of the tractor Belarus of 150hp. It's a good tractor, powerful, easy to operate, versatile - it can be used anywhere.

The temperamental farmer immediately decided to back up its words with practice and began to show the capabilities of the Belarusian miracle of technology. Watered, dug and showed something that reminded tractor aerobatics.

Luis Miguel Conde:
This is a unique tractor. We used it for the hardest work and there was no serious damage. We replaced a couple of oil hoses and that's it.

Louis and his brothers grow crops and are engaged in animal husbandry.

Luis Miguel Conde:
I have 500 sheep of meat breed, not for milk. I don’t sell wool. Earlier it cost much but now it has depreciated.

The farmer complains about crisis.

Luis Miguel Conde:
Because of the crisis prices of corn and other cereals have dropped. They were grown for dairy cows, but now milk comes to us from France and Germany and you just can't sell grain or straw in Spain.

At the same time Louis says he would like to buy another tractor "Belarus", but more powerful.

Belarus stands next to Ford, John Deere and Mercedes. So, maybe it is not inferior to famous brands? And maybe it can be sold in this market?

Alfonso Jurado Mesa, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Belarus in the Kingdom of Spain:
Yes, they can compete. But the important point is servicing. Germans and other producers have created a network of repair stations. Belarusian tractors don't have it.

Another condition is certification.

Alfonso Jurado Mesa:
The requirements of the European Union to vehicles are very high.

Many European standards are dictated by the defense of their own products. To enter this market is a difficult task but Belarus needs to try to get rid of the stigma of a stranger. To begin with, Belarusian producers and Spanish farmers need to at least get to know each other.

Jesús Vargas Vidarte, director of business development:
I believe that the beginning of a relationship is culture, and then economic and other relations will come.

The opening of the Belarusian embassy in Spain was accompanied by a good cultural program. The anthem was performed by a student choir of the Belarusian Academy of Music.

They acted together with a Spanish people's bands, to which Ambassador Latushko gave shirts with Belarusian national ornament and straw hats, since the band is called a Belarusian name - Kapyalyush.

The day before, Belarusian singers entertained the audience of the small town Chinchon.

Spaniards could not only hear, but also see one of the most talented people of Belarus. The ancient capital of Iberia, the city of Toledo, hosted an exhibition of Orthodox icons. Organizers expect that no less than 30,000 visitors will see them in the local museum of El Greco.

By the way, in Madrid, works by El Greco and other great painters are exhibited side by side with Belarusian artists' works.

Yuri Koziyatko:
Here is a picture of Chagall. We were allowed to film in the museum in the early morning, when there is still no one here: no tourists and even lighting is still off.

The collection of Thyssen museum includes eight centuries. Belarusian paintings are all related to the twentieth century, which is the golden age of Belarusian painting.

Lucia Villanueva, employee of the Thyssen museum (Madrid):
We presented one picture by Chashnik, Malevich and Soutine and four paintings by Chagall. It's amazing.

One of the largest museums in Spain is Museo Nacional Del Prado. For now Belarusians' pictures are not exhibited here. But we were allowed to film here, too.

Ekaterina Dulova, rector of the Belarusian State Academy of Music:
Despite the fact that the cultures are different, a very important emotional component brings them together. We saw it yesterday at the concert of our student choir when both Spanish and Belarusian music was performed. And now, being here in world's center of painting I think argument is no more serious and stronger than the communication of cultures. The cultural language is the most important, it is a starting point. This is the language that requires no translation or interpretation. It is the language that is perceived directly and emotionally. Behind it stands all the rest.

Many artists became famous after depicting the image of Christ. The classic story of the birth of the baby Jesus is particularly relevant before Christmas.

Yuri Koziyatko:
This is the line in which people stand to see the main Belén of Madrid. Belén is the Nativity Scene. Spaniards come with their families before Christmas to see this action. Let's stand in line, too.

Belén is a shortened version of Betleem or Bethlehem! And now attention: Betleem and Batleyka! So, Belén is a counterpart of Belarusian puppet theater! The scene of Christ's birth has become part of Spanish history. It is no coincidence that the Old Town was recreated...

Yuri Koziyatko:
Each year, Belén has an original idea. This year, it is dedicated to King Charles III, who seriously revolutionized Madrid.

Madrid has retained its historical appearance. Plaza Mayor, built in the Baroque style, is reminiscent of the Habsburg era. The Royal palace resembles Versailles. The triumphal arch with five spans. The central square of Puerta del Sol with the already familiar symbol of the Spanish capital. Here, the whole city gathers before the New Year to eat 12 grapes to the sound of the clock's chimes, just like this bear.

By the way, you can see long lines in Madrid on New Year's Eve not only to Belén or at the entrance to famous museums. These lines are for Christmas lottery. This is the oldest and largest lottery game in the world. Spaniards believe in luck. This is another feature that unites Spaniards and Belarusians where the history of lotteries will not dry out. It remains to add that after the opening of the embassy in Madrid, the odds of winning in the Belarusian-Spanish political, economic and cultural lottery also increase.

Spain distant and near: passport with storks, Talaka persimmon and tractor Belarus