Increasing fertility, strengthening of positions in international arena and security were the topics Alexander Lukashenko raised in his 2017 New Year address on December 31, 2016. For the first time in a quarter century, Belarus has recorded natural population growth.
By the way, this is not the first time Alexander Lukashenko has asked women to give birth to more children during his New Year speech.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Families get more and more children, and this is the future of Belarus. We must maintain this positive trend. I address our dear women: give birth and know that no matter how difficult it is, we will maintain support for families with children. We will provide maternity capital, benefits, and housing to large families.
For every family the most important thing is to raise kids in safety. In 2016, Belarus found itself at the epicenter of world events. But, fortunately, the world's chaos has not touched us.
By the way, peace in Belarus is perhaps the most important theme in the New Year's addresses of the President. The same topic was raised in 2003 and 2014. It was during the conflict in Ukraine when these words acquired a special meaning for Belarus.
It was not easy to preserve Belarus as island of stability and tranquility. But we did it, ensuring the peace and security of citizens. Our neighbors, friends, the fraternal peoples should know that the Belarusian land will never be a source of aggression and threats. At the same time, we, people in uniform, know that it is necessary to keep the powder dry. Defense of the Homeland is our sacred duty.
In 2016, Belarus adopted a new military doctrine. The document is purely defensive in nature. Belarus does not treat anyone as the enemy. Moreover, Minsk proposes to resolve any conflict peacefully.
Alexander Ivanovsky, First Prorector of the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus:
Emphasis was placed in the Military Doctrine on the creation of elements of our own industrial defense complex. The most important thing for us is the preservation of peace and order that exists around us.
Belarus is now known in the world arena as a peacemaker. Minsk is rightly recognized by the international community as the most convenient platform for the settlement of armed conflicts.
Sergei Kizima, Doctor of Political Sciences, Head of the Department of International Relations of the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the Belarus President:
Our position is strengthening; more and more countries take interest in us, we are treated as a serious partner even by large countries. Belarusian achievements in the field of settlement of the Ukraine conflict made influential countries rethink the image of Belarus.
In 2016, Belarus opened new Asian and African markets. More than 100 countries know Belarusian goods. The export of agricultural products alone exceeded $2 billion. During 2016, Belarus managed to remove unnecessary barriers and significantly improve the business climate. In the Doing Business, Belarus is 37th out of 189 countries.
Roman Osipov, director of an investment company:
First of all, it is very important to develop small and medium businesses. Public-private partnership is also vital, when investors are attracted to specific projects. For example, the construction of roads and infrastructure. Small business in all countries still forms the basis of the gross domestic product, the fundamentals of the economy.
The economy should get help from innovations. Belarus declared 2017 the Year of Science. This means the country will pay more attention to the support of new developments. The branch will receive additional funding. The expected increase is almost 20%.
The coming Year of Science should be marked by the upgrade of the country and discoveries in all fields of life. But any scientific achievements and development should be effectively implemented in the production. This course will enable us to provide people with jobs and decent salaries. The standard of living of the people should be much higher than today.