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What did the Belarus President say in his State of the Nation Address?

Belarusians can make a living only thanks to their work. Free material goods will not come from heaven even if Metropolitan Pavel, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz and all the holy fathers of all faiths pray daily for the prosperity of our country.

"This year should be the key one - there is nowhere for Belarus to retreat, and it is necessary to move forward in the economy, at least half a step, but we need forward movement," President Lukashenko said, addressing the people and the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus on Friday.

The speech in the Oval Hall was emotional, full of tough truth, and was based on three pillars: employment, wage growth and price stabilization. Yevgeny Pustovoy reports.

This is how the European world looks. And this is peace in Belarus. To protect the country from external threats and protect people from economic problems means to preserve sovereignty. Sounds loud, but honestly. It is necessary to roll up sleeves and work.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Press on the executive bodies and all branches of power will only intensify. We must show the world that we are able to function as a sovereign and independent state. If not, then there is nothing to strain. If someone wants to give up with hands up, then go. Without me.

Not everyone likes the strong character of Mr Lukashenko. But this is the only way how you sometimes can protect Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Those countries that poisoned demonstrators with tear gas... The leaders of these countries seem not to see what is happening in their own countries but they start to reproach us that we have recently applied some excessive measures or force against those who violate the law. Stability, security of our state, independence and sovereignty is sacred. If somebody encroaches on this, we will use the full power of our state. Don't you see what your policy in Ukraine has led to, where it has started? I do not want this to happen in Belarus. I do not want to beat, shoot at my people. I decided not to allow these clashes.

Belarus is the window to Europe, the front door to Eurasian integration, and a room for big European negotiations. But first of all, Belarus is a home for different confessions and nationalities, in which they do not make noise or interfere with their neighbors. With their own way of life and understanding of a just world order.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The whole European continent is burning. Enough, we must stop, and if Belarus can do something for it, take it in Belarus, we are ready to work for it. Why are you gnawing at us? If you want to argue with me on democracy, let's openly hold a discussion in your mass media. Well, you barricaded there and are watering us with mud. Some did from the East, and you started this from the West. We will stand, do not worry. The truth always wins, so we will stand tall.

To talk in an open, honest and courageous manner with the whole world, but above all with own people. Speaking in the Oval Hall, Alexander Lukashenko does not smooth out the sharp corners. Independence does have its own price. This is a strong economy.

Alexander Lukashenko:
This year is unique. If we do not make even half a step forward, I'm afraid to even say what can happen. Everyone understands, top officials including, that it is dangerous to lie. There is a certain trend forward, as they say. I am ready to believe it. And we did this literally in March and plus a few days in April, because we completely failed January-February.

In the message of this year, security is the key word. And the guarantee of security is the development of the economy. On the shoulders of sovereign Belarus is a load from Soviet past - giant enterprises orientated to the East, while Belarus' most modern goods face artificial barriers in the West.

However, the predictability and honesty of the Belarusian state is appreciated in China. That giant economy does not throw cobblestones in the Belarusian garden, but is ready to 'sow money' in Belarus' investment field.

Alexander Lukashenko:
No one cancelled the task set to the governors about the annual attraction of at least $100 million in direct investments in every region of Belarus. Moreover, we were given a huge credit line by the People's Republic of China. Again, meeting with representatives of the People's Republic of China, we have recently touched upon this issue, and they are already telling us: 'Please, give us new projects, we are ready to finance them, and on favorable terms.' Why don't we act?

Belarusians should be given the opportunity to prove themselves. Every family needs to be able to build housing. BYN1,000 - the planned average salary - this should be the price of a square meter.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Do not even think of giving BYN1,000 if this money is not earned thanks to labor productivity increase. This money must be earned. The professionalism of managers is to create conditions for this, to find reserves, especially in labor organization. I must tell you that almost everything depends on managers. Therefore, the heads of enterprises need to urgently solve staff problems. Time is running out.

The ministry of trade and antitrust regulation was criticized by the President.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Recently, the Minister of Trade said: "You know, we will probably not control prices, we will focus more on developing competition." I repeat to you publicly: your task is to control pricing. And you know how to do it. Don't listen to any reformers and even the IMF.

The cost of housing services was another issue raised. Even the IMF - a profitable creditor for Belarus - has constantly demanded that Belarus raise costs. But the Belarus President sent them a clear message.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The increase in tariffs can be justified only on condition of improving the quality of service and reducing costs, as well as with the growth of salaries and incomes of the population. Even the IMF (I will reveal the secret of my one-on-one conversation with two representatives), even they agreed with me after I gave them my points. I said we cannot at once, in 1-1.5 years, make people pay 100% of utility costs.

Among the issues discussed was employment of those who are not yet employed. Now there are about 350,000 such people.

Alexander Lukashenko:
350,000 people. What shall we do with them? If you offer some other alternative, on how to make them work, I will back down. We are elected by the people, you have your own voters, I also have your voters in the whole country. There is a problem and it must be resolved. How?

The President also mentioned the liberalization of business climate.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We will really make revolutionary decisions. We will remove that oppression. I guarantee we will do that! But it's businesses that must then bear responsibility for everything.

Of course, not everyone is born to a businessman. But it is the state that should help the youth to find a place in this life. Some university graduates are guaranteed their first job placement. Freshmen need more internship and practice rather than dull theory.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We need to start school from 9 o'clock. And do not look at the fact that it is difficult for parents to send a child to school, because they are going to work earlier. I earlier thought we made a lot of mistakes in the humanitarian sphere (history, literature, etc.), but we also broke mathematics and physics curricula. It's terrible to look at textbooks! By offering complex textbooks at school, what do we do? We instill fear in children. Fear to receive knowledge.

Another problem is that Belarusian children do not move much, so they often get sick. Professional sport also suffers much.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The highest ideology today is sport. If the Belarusian athlete plays or competes somewhere, the whole country looks at them. Millions of people as a nation are united and watch TV. And he or she wins. This makes our people happier. But you hurt people's self-esteem. Work in the sport of high achievements is disgusting.

For the President, the Oval Hall is a kind of political alma mater. Even being an MP he was an uncompromising fighter against corruption.

Alexander Lukashenko:
As soon as I am informed of at least one fact with the smell of corruption, I immediately order to take effective measures. All those detentions of important people were authorized by me personally. That's all. How can it be that kids in the city-hero Minsk are given waste instead of normal food? Nine people were caught red-handed. It was my command to the chairman of the KGB: "You must take them all red-handed!" He said "Yes."

During the four hours of the address the President answered numerous questions on many areas: from transport tax to orders to parents with many children.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Good offer. If they have five or more children, we will reward fathers and mother. What are we losing? We will underline the father's role.

Paternal concern for all Belarusians is a peculiarity of Alexander Lukashenko's attitude to people. It's not accidentally that people call him "Father".

Alexander Lukashenko:
10 million are my children, whom I cherish. Even are older than me, like Myasnikovich, but they are still my children. That's what my riches are.

What did the Belarus President say in his State of the Nation Address?