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What unites Belarus and Sweden?

The event of the upcoming week will be the Days of Minsk in the Serbian capital. A delegation led by Minsk mayor Andrei Shorets will arrive in Belgrade for a business forum and an exhibition of Belarusian products, which is always the most popular event in many countries.

The Swedish Week was held in Belarus. Despite all sorts of misunderstandings in the relations of the two states, Belarus and Sweden do not lose interest in each other. There are economic and cultural plans. The people of the two countries are connected not only with the Volvo brand, Pippi Longstocking and the Belarusian village Shvedy (sounds like Swedes). Anastasia Benedysyuk has more.

Lyudmila Ivanovna's place of residence is Shvedy village. She calls herself a "Swede". Here she was born, grew up and returned to spend her pension time. Here, the Belarusian "Swede" demonstrates the main exhibit - Japanese garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, and strawberries with blackberries. She says she did not see real Swedes in her life but would be very glad to meet them.

Lyudmila Kulesh, resident of the village of Shvedy, Slutsk district:
Let Swedes come, I will give them potato pancakes and other Belarusian dishes, because I do not know Swedish cuisine.

A real Swedish dessert - a Swedish concert - took place in the Upper Town in Minsk.

When we say "Sweden" we mean Meatballs (Köttbullar) and buns with cinnamon.

Days of National Cultures in the Upper Town is already a good tradition. This time Swedes came to Minsk. The embassy of that Scandinavian country introduced Belarusians not only to the culture of the Kingdom, but also to the achievements in the tourist, sports and economic areas.

Anastasia Benedysyuk, correspondent:
Mr. Ambassador, we are now with you in the Swedish auto center on the Belarusian land, so if we start from the meeting point, what is the speed of the development of Belarusian-Swedish relationships?

Martin Oberg, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Belarus:
I would say we have a good relationship, it has been developing well in recent years, both on a political and economic level. Trade has fallen a little. But, I think it depends more on the crisis than on any political relations. If we look at the trade turnover between our countries it is more than $100 million a year. I think that this is not enough, considering how many residents Sweden and Belarus have. And how close we really are to each other.

Anastasia Benedysyuk:
You started your acquaintance with Belarus by visiting regions aside from Minsk. What surprised you or caused much interest?

Martin Oberg:
You know, I traveled in regions less than I would like. He visited Orsha Linen Mill, the glass factory "Neman", which also has certain potential. We wanted to travel with Swedish companies, with those who want to do business in Belarus.

Belarus has not only cars, but also green technologies, cosmetics, and spices from Sweden. Belarus exports peat, potash fertilizers, saws and timber to Northern Europe.

Vladislav Staroverov, a resident of Stockholm (Sweden):
I could find Belarusian cookies, birch sap, sea cabbage and caviar.

Belarus and Sweden actively cooperate in the field of education. Natalia Rameiko studies the molecular genetics of cancer at Uppsala University. The girl, like locals, is sure that it is these connections that bring Belarus and Sweden closer.

The evening before a graduation ceremony took place at Uppsala University, in the very hall where Nobel laureates are honored. And here, too, there are points of contact between Belarus and Sweden. Swedes do read Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich's books. President Lukashenko presented the Ambassador of Sweden in Belarus with a series of Alexievich's books. Speaking about Belarus and Sweden, ice hockey also comes to mind. Minsk Mayor and Mr. Ambassador had a kind of friendly hockey game.

Both friendlies ended in a draw. Friendship won. Political relations have been improving in recent years. After a year of absence of the diplomatic mission in Belarus (because of political differences) the Royal Embassy resumed its work in Minsk in 2013.

A lot of Swedes came to Minsk for the World Hockey Championship 2014. Now Minsk will again welcome Swedes at the 2021 IIHF WM. The most memorable meeting between Belarus and Sweden on ice was at the Olympic Games 2002 when Belarus ousted Sweden after Vladimir Kopat netted thanks to a blunder by Tommy Salo.

These strong guys know Belarus well: they have already performed in Minsk five times. Ulf Wahlberg says tomorrow he will taste Belarusian cuisine and

Ulf Wahlberg, musician of the Secret Service band (Sweden):
Vodka, yes. Minsk met us with cool weather, however, the same weather is now in Stockholm. However, the atmosphere here is warm. I see how the city has changed. Architecture, many modern buildings, the city is developing. People are very friendly

Belarus and Sweden are a thousand kilometers apart. But turns out, we are much closer to each other than we can think. We are also united by history. Let's return to the Shvedy village.

Ludmila Kulesh:
As our grandfather said, once military actions took place here and a Swede lost his hat. Since then the village has become Shvedy.

Valery Azhevsky, researcher:
In the beginning of 1706, there were military operations in the territory of Belarus between Russian troops and Swedish forces. According to the legend, there was a big battle in the vicinity of the Shvedy village, where many Swedish soldiers were killed. They were buried here. And since that time this area was named Shvedy.

What unites Belarus and Sweden?