Session to discuss fulfillment of instructions regarding comprehensive development of Orsha District

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

14 August 2018

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko emphasized inadmissibility of formalism and red tape at the local level as he reviewed progress in fulfilling instructions regarding comprehensive development of Orsha District on 14 August.
The President recalled that in his State of the Nation Address in 2017 he instructed the government and the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee to secure comprehensive development of Orsha District, so that its growth pace would be at least twice as high as the region’s average.
“It is unacceptable when the work at the local level descends to formalism and red tape,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.
The head of state had reiterated on numerous occasions that the efficiency of the government and local authorities would be measured by the way the instructions regarding the region’s development are fulfilled. A task was set to develop a system-based approach that could serve as an example to other mid-size towns of the country.

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Working trip to Orsha District

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

13 August 2018

The quality of work done by local authorities and top production sector officials to develop the manufacturing industry in Orsha is extremely poor, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he visited the region on 13 August.
He unveiled his plans to pay a working trip to Orsha District at the session with the government members and governors. In his words, this event will be a litmus test of the government’s work.
The head of state paid special attention to the development of the manufacturing industry, first of all, the state of affairs at faltering enterprises. On 13 August, Alexander Lukashenko visited four organizations where he talked to production sector and government officials, workers of enterprises. He asked them about their plans, salaries, the atmosphere at those enterprises in general.
The head of state saw failures to reach goals on approach to the enterprise. He pointed out that even attempts to beautify the territory of the enterprise had not produced the desired results. Everything had been done hastily and shoddily. “You don’t like people. You don’t like the enterprise. If you go for whitewashing, put some curb stone instead of placing asphalt on top of grass. What kind of technology is that? This is why people sometimes hate civil servants. They are hated for come-what-may attitudes and messy results,” the head of state said.
The conversation continued in the same manner after the tour of the enterprise. The President was extremely dissatisfied with what he had seen. “Most likely, we will send [Industry] Minister [Vitaly Vovk] to work here. He has a choice: either prison or working here. I say it openly. Your results have been terrible so far. Don’t ever try to whitewash things. You are a young executive. You are in charge here. I don’t want to see any failures or shortcomings when I come again here before the new year. You know what will happen,” the President told the enterprise’s Director Vladislav Bardyukov.
The head of state explained why it is so important to restore the effective work of the enterprise. There are many processing and manufacturing enterprises in Belarus. Each of them starting with major companies like Gomselmash and ending with small agricultural enterprises needs tools. “I wouldn’t hold on to it so much if we didn’t need these products so much,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “This is why the tool-making plant has to be properly restored so that Gomselmash, MTZ, MAZ, and all the other enterprises, even processing and agricultural ones, could get good tools. This is why I hold on to this plant.”
“For now I see an idiotic attitude to my instructions. But I know what needs to be done. I have sufficient authority. As of tomorrow the industry minister should work here. What post he will occupy is up to you,” the President said.
During the tour of the enterprise Alexander Lukashenko was informed about the financial and economic state of the tool-making plant, development prospects, and measures being taken to ensure stable operation. Certain positive results have been achieved, however, Alexander Lukashenko was fiercely critical, saying everything is being done extremely slowly, way past the deadlines, with the enterprise’s assets and manufacturing premises used carelessly. Most of the premises are terrible to look at. The roof leaks in some places. “What kind of workstations are these?! It is some torture chamber! People do backbreaking work here for $200 per month!” the head of state criticized the local working conditions.

The President was also displeased with the slow acquisition of new equipment. The equipment is vital since it will enable the enterprise to perform more complicated orders, which will bring more profits. For now the enterprise uses machine tools, which are decades old. The enterprise management has taken a number of steps to procure new equipment, but no practical results have been achieved so far. Alexander Lukashenko pointed out that Orsha District is also home to the machine-tools factory Krasny Borets, which director Alexander Shulgin was also present during the tour of the Orsha tool-making plant. Alexander Shulgin confirmed his enterprise was capable of promptly supplying most of the equipment the Orsha tool-making plant needs. “You knew what I demand. Why didn’t you say that no imports were needed, no tenders were needed because Krasny Borets makes the necessary kind of equipment?” Alexander Lukashenko asked the civil servants.
He gave instructions to arrange the acquisition of the necessary equipment from the machine-tools factory Krasny Borets as well as other Belarusian manufacturers and import only the equipment the local manufacturers cannot provide. “Start bringing in machine tools today. With the profit margins you have now. Take these lots and orders and start delivering machine tools at existing prices,” Alexander Lukashenko told the director of the machine-tools factory Krasny Borets.
The President also urged to bring things to order inside the unused shops and in the territory of the enterprise. He urged to repair the roof and think about effective ways to utilize the unused premises. Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly stressed that everything should be done properly in a businesslike manner, bearing long-term goals in mind without any whitewashing.
Careful attitude to public property was also discussed during the President’s tour of OAO Orshaagroprommash which is part of Bobruiskagromash Holding Company.
Alexander Lukashenko was briefed about the financial performance of the enterprise and its growth prospects. The company’s products were showcased to the President.
Bobruiskagromash director asked for assistance with debt restructuring. A corresponding decree has been drafted. Alexander Lukashenko instructed senior officials of the Belarus President Administration to come to grips with this matter, submit a relevant report to the president and put forward their proposals.
The President carefully studied the operation of Orshaagroprommash, asked about the company’s workload and efforts to find new sales markets. He urged to use the manufacturing facilities properly and improve the physical infrastructure of the enterprise.
Alexander Lukashenko also visited Orsha Meat Packing Plant. The head of state was told about the company’s operations and manufacturing facilities. According to the head of state, the enterprise should expand its product range.

After touring several workshops, Alexander Lukashenko criticized the enterprise’s work and the way the facilities and the physical infrastructure were kept. “Things should change by 7 November 2020. Resources should be allocated, a new slaughter floor should be set up and this [old buildings] should be demolished. The enterprise should be turned into a modern company that is on par with the best meat packing plants,” the President emphasized.
During a tour of the enterprise Tekhnika Svyazi in the town of Baran, the President criticized a number of high-level officials for the lack of effort to implement his earlier instructions.
The company makes part of the Geoinformation Systems enterprise and reports to the State Military Industry Committee. A task had been set for the company to build up capacities using the existing facilities and to expand the output and assortment of products that are in demand on the market. However, in fact, many buildings and facilities stay idle or are offered for sale or are to be demolished.
The head of state was told about the company’s development plans and positive trends in the company’s output and job creation. Nevertheless, Alexander Lukashenko drew attention of the industry top officials to the fact that his instructions are not implemented in full, and the statement alleging that the remaining premises are sufficient is just an explanation for the inadequate efficiency. “It is enough if nothing is done. Another thing if you set a task… After all, a task was set from the very beginning to utilize all this and to roll out products that are in demand on the market. You saw it as an easy ride: this and that will be leveled by a bulldozer, this will be sold. What kind of a plant will it be? I would not need you to do it. I see that you did not care enough to come to grips with the task that had been set,” the President said.
“Why would I need such a ministry [State Military Industry Committee] and a minister that destroys what I told him to utilize,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
Alexander Lukashenko changed the initial inspection itinerary to see the production premises of the company with his own eyes. It turned out that many locations are not used as production premises and are simply in a mess. “This is your face that you showed. Indeed, you did not expect me to come to see your “lavatory”. You have turned every other storey of this building into a lavatory where no one has ever cleaned. We will show the whole country how you work,” the head of state said.
“You decided to find an easy way around me,” the President noted.
During the working trip to Orsha Distirct, Alexander Lukashenko also asked Vitebsk Oblast Governor Nikolai Sherstnev about plans to develop the production sector. “If we repair the streets and take care of beautification the way it has been done in Kopys, we will be half way there. Giving people jobs, keeping them employed, and getting them to stay in these beautiful places is what matters,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The governor informed the head of state about the distribution of productive forces, the structure and development of industries in Vitebsk Oblast. It was noted that due to objective and subjective reasons the region’s population had dropped over the years, respectively the number of working Belarusians had dropped. This is why development efforts will focus on the districts with the bulk of the workforce, including Orsha District. “Today the development of Orsha District is the most topical question not only from the point of view of employment, but the budget revenues, too. If Orsha District recovers enough to stop taking subsidies – Orsha District takes as much in subsidies as ten other districts – we will have money for the development of other regions,” Nikolai Sherstnev said.
A special program has been developed in Vitebsk Oblast. It provides for implementing investment projects in every district to the total tune of about Br6.5 billion. The oblast governor assured that these are not just plans, work has already begun on several investment projects. “There are about 21,000 people in Vitebsk Oblast, who are not part of the economy. We can find jobs for roughly half of them – 10,000 – as we implement these projects. We’ve selected our economic growth centers,” Nikolai Sherstnev said. In his words, plans have been made to develop tourism industry, set up new enterprises and manufacturing facilities, develop the processing of locally available raw materials, timber harvesting and processing, and build transportation and logistics hubs. Additional attractive conditions will be enabled to encourage young Belarusians to stay in small populated localities and district capitals.
Speaking about employment, Alexander Lukashenko drew attention to the need to see the real situation, including the employment situation, instead of relying only on registered unemployment figures. The head of state said he wanted municipal authorities to resolve problems instead of hushing them up.

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Greetings to President of Ukraine Charity Foundation Leonid Kuchma

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

9 August 2018

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has sent a letter of birthday greetings to President of the Ukraine Charity Foundation Leonid Kuchma.“In the Republic of Belarus you are known as a prominent political figure and a talented leader whose efforts have always been focused on Ukraine’s prosperity. Your life and huge experience of civil service deserves sincere appreciation,” the head of state remarked.Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that over the years as president Leonid Luchma has made a big personal contribution to the formation of modern relations between Belarus and Ukraine. “I recall our meetings with exceptional warmth, value their trustful atmosphere and a high level of mutual understanding,” the message of greetings reads.In view of the paramount importance of ensuring security and peace in the region, the Belarusian head of state thanked Leonid Kuchma for his efforts to settle the situation in Donbass.

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Commentary to Decree No. 305 of 7 August 2018

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

7 August 2018

Measures to improve legal regulations in the gambling industry have been taken in Belarus. Corresponding Decree No. 305 was signed by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on 7 August.The document has legalized online gambling in online casinos.Taxation and licensing specifics, conditions and terms have been determined for this purpose. In particular, online gambling can be organized only by those with a special permission (license). Besides, there should be a guarantee deposit on a special account which will be used for payout or other payments in case of the financial insolvency of online gambling organizers. Tax authorities should have a remote access to online casinos; all casinos should be connected to a special payment system for the monitoring of money flows in the gambling business. Visitors of online casinos should undergo identity checks.In order to minimize negative consequences from gambling a minimum gambling age, including for online casinos, has been increased from 18 to 21 years. Visitors of gambling parlors are not allowed to lend money to other people for gambling. Organizers of gambling activities should install video surveillance systems in gambling parlors.The decree will help minimize the outflow of money abroad because of the limited access to online gambling on foreign websites.

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Working trip to Minsk District

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

2 August 2018

It is necessary to put maximum effort into making sure that the harvest in the country is as large as possible. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he was made familiar with the organization of the grain harvesting campaign in Minsk District on 1 August.Alexander Lukashenko remarked that this year the grain yield in many countries is expected to be much lower due to hot weather. Grain crops have been devastated in Germany and Poland. The situation in France and Spain leaves much to be desired. This year’s grain yield in Russia is expected to be 25% lower than last year’s.“Certainly, we’ve lost something, too, but not that much: the Lord has been merciful. This is why keep in mind that we will be in no rush to buy grain somewhere. Grain will be available on the market. But the prices will be high and you know what quality fodder we are going to buy. This is why maximum effort is needed to gather in every grain of what we’ve grown as well as corn,” said the president.Talking to mass media, the head of state stressed that although weather had not been ideal, it had not damaged the fields completely. “There is no need to blame weather. It was not that bad. Certainly, I wish spring would have been less dry. Water was in short supply particularly in southern areas where grain was maturing,” stated Alexander Lukashenko. “We have to be fair. The first hay cutting was good thanks to torrential rains. The hay yield was the largest one on record.”The president noted that weather conditions had not been difficult in all the regions of the country. Many areas will have great harvest if the grain is collected on time. “It will be the next topic for my travels. We have yet to gather in every grain in Mogilev, in the north and the center of Minsk Oblast, and particularly in Vitebsk Oblast,” he said.According to preliminary estimates, this year’s grain harvest in Belarus will be 0.5 million tonnes less than last year’s. However, the country has 1.5 million tonnes of grain in storage, pointed out the head of state. “The amount is sufficient to take care of production of milk, meat, poultry, and other things. This is why there are no problems with feeding the nation,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.On 1 August the head of state visited fields of 1st Minsk Poultry Farm where he was informed about progress of the grain harvesting campaign in the country and the region. According to Agriculture and Food Minister Leonid Zayats, over 800,000ha has been processed already or some 41% of the land under grain and leguminous crops. As much as 2.5 million tonnes of grain has been collected, with the yield at 28.8 centners per hectare.Alexander Lukashenko was also interested in details concerning the development of agricultural enterprises in Minsk Oblast and Minsk District. The president was told that some strong agricultural enterprises lack lands to produce the necessary amount of combination fodder. The head of state gave instructions to consider transferring assets of struggling agricultural enterprises to the strong ones in order to improve performance of the former.

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Report of Minsk Oblast Governor Anatoly Isachenko

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

31 July 2018

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko heard out a report of Chairman of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee Anatoly Isachenko on 31 July. The meeting focused on the progress in the harvest campaign, development of the meat and dairy industry and road construction.First of all, the head of state asked about the progress in the harvest campaign in the region because the results of Minsk Oblast can tell about the situation in the country in general.“Minsk is an exemplary region, there are different climatic conditions. Probably, a half of the harvest has been already gathered in the south, the works have just begun in the north or they have gathered 15-20% of the harvest. Because of different climatic conditions we can get average impressions about the situation in the country in general,” Alexander Lukashenko said.The president paid special attention to the harvesting of grain. “What will we have? Of course, this year’s grain harvest will not be as high as it was in the previous years, especially in the south. By the way, the situation in the east and north of Minsk Oblast might be different. There was plenty of rain, those regions have good fields and will have a good harvest,” the head of state remarked. “I think we should hope to get a good harvest of corn. Maybe, the corn yield will increase by a million tonnes or even more.”The participants of the meeting also discussed the development of the meat and dairy industry in Minsk Oblast, road construction and other topical regional issues.

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Telephone conversation with Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

28 July 2018

On the initiative of the Armenian side Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko had a telephone conversation with Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.The sides discussed the development of trade and economic relations, praised the increase in the Belarusian-Armenian trade turnover. At the same time, Alexander Lukashenko and Nikol Pashinyan agreed that there is a huge untapped potential in cooperation between the two countries. They agreed to do their best to live up to this potential.The Belarusian president and the Armenian prime minister discussed a set of issues pertaining to the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, including the results of the recent session of the EAEU heads of government in St. Petersburg.Alexander Lukashenko and Nikol Pashinyan also mentioned the situation around Armenia’s charges against CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov which is widely discussed in mass media.

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Commentary to Decree No. 292 of 24 July 2018

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

24 July 2018

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed decree No. 292 “On steps in preparation for the 2nd European Games MINSK 2019” on 24 July.
The document grants visa-free entry to Belarus from 20 May till 10 July 2019 for the participants, officials and organizers of the games, other specialists, and from 10 June till 10 July 2019 for foreign tourists who have accreditation cards or tickets to sporting events.
The decree grants privileges to officials of the Directorate of the 2nd European Games, organizations of different forms of ownership and foreign nationals involved in the preparation of the competitions. In addition, the directorate has the right to use the symbols of the games and to act as a customer of public service advertising associated with the games.
The document envisages free-of-charge movement on individual sections of toll roads for vehicles from the states that are not members of the Eurasian Economic Union, restricts the movement of trucks in Minsk during daytime during the games, regulates the validity dates of special customs procedures for goods imported to the territory of Belarus and intended for the competitions.

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Belarus extends visa-free entry to 30 days

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

24 July 2018

Belarus has extended the visa-free entry period to 30 days provided foreign nationals cross the border at the Minsk National Airport. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed the corresponding decree on 24 July.
The document has updated the list of states whose citizens are entitled to the visa-free regime. It leaves out the countries with which Belarus has concluded bilateral agreements on mutual abolition of visas.
A valid passport or other document permitting foreign travels, money (equivalent to at least two base amounts for each day of stay in the foreign currency or Belarusian rubles), medical insurance in the amount of at least €10,000 operational in Belarus will be needed for the visa-free entry.
Citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, India, Lebanon, Namibia and Samoa should also have a valid multi-visa to the EU states or the Schengen Area with a mark confirming the entry to their territory, plane tickets with a confirmation of the departure from the Minsk National Airport within 30 days after the date of the entry.
Regarding Chinese citizens the visa waiver procedure will be applied in Belarus until 10 August 2018 until the bilateral agreement on mutual visa abolition for holders of ordinary passports.
The visa-free access rules do not apply to persons arriving in Belarus from Russia by air and also those flying to Russian airports. These are internal flights, with no border controls.
Visa-free entry does not also apply to foreigners coming to Belarus to work, do business, or study, if the period of activity exceeds 30 days.  The visa-free stay starts on the day of arrival and finishes on the day of departure (regardless the time of arrival and departure). The visa-free stay cannot be extended beyond 30 days.
Foreign citizens who plan to spend more than five business days in Belarus should register with the internal affairs bodies at the address they are staying. If foreign visitors stay in a hotel, hostel, health resort or other facility of collective accommodation, then the management of the above-mentioned facilities shall be responsible for the registration with the internal affairs bodies.
The decree is intended to contribute to the further development of the Belarusian tourist industry, to promote Belarus’ spa and medical tourism, to stimulate the development of the national economy, to facilitate the inclusion of Belarus into the world economy, to strengthen its position as a convenient venue for international forums, conferences, festivals, sporting events.
The document shall enter into force after its official publication.

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Report on optimization of educational process at Academy of Public Administration

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

24 July 2018

Only such people who will be in demand in the public administration sector should study in the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of Belarus starting from 1 September, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he heard out a report on the performance of the university on 24 July.
The president reminded that the proposals to improve the process of education in the academy should be submitted to him before September. It is important to decide who will study and attend professional advancement courses at the academy, what requirements will be applied to lecturers, how the tutorial framework will be changed. “What has been done as of today? What are you going to do next? Do you need assistance and support? You should step up efforts. Only such people who will be in demand in the public administration sector should study in the academy starting from 1 September,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.
“When appointing a new rector we agreed to make the Academy of Pubic Administration more efficient across the board. All people studying in the academy, getting professional retraining or advancement should be in demand in the public administration sector. This is the main thing,” the president stressed.
These are crucial requirements, the head of state said. “You understand that this is the only educational institution under the aegis of the president. Only qualified, smart and intelligent people devoted to our state and our nation should study there,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The meeting was attended by Head of the Belarus President Administration Natalya Kochanova, Education Minister Igor Karpenko, Rector of the Academy of Public Administration Gennady Palchik.
According to the rector, the academy has already taken measures to improve the educational process. For example, the structure of government order and the number of listeners have been optimized. The system of budget-sponsored education and other aspects have been optimized as well, Gennady Palchik said. The specialists of the academy have also revised educational plans and programs taking into account the possible optimization of education terms. Professional advancement and retraining programs have been revised too.
The meeting also focused on full-time education at the academy. In the new academic year 100 first-year students will major in public administration and law, public administration and economics, management of information resources. The passing scores were 343, 336 and 341 respectively. It is expected that university applicants will have centralized tests and interviews next year. According to the rector, it will help select the most interested applicants. The head of state supported the innovation and warned that everything should be open and transparent.
People from other towns account for 84% of all first-year students. The president mentioned this figure and added that students from other places know about the life in Minsk and other places.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that all graduates of the academy should be exceptional specialists because they will form the administrative pool of the county in the future.
Special attention was drawn to material and technical facilities of the university. The head of state instructed to improve dormitories and canteens. He stressed that it should be done in all Belarusian universities.
The optimization of the Academy of Public Administration should be an example for all universities in Belarus, the president said. His requirement is to avoid formalism in the educational process.

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