Address by President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the third All-Belarus People's Assembly on March 2nd.
Distinguished participants to the third All-Belarus People's Assembly,
For the first time throughout the centuries-old history, our people has created a sovereign state - the Republic of Belarus. Our sovereignty today is a reality of the global policy. The reality which can't be ignored by anyone.
We have been able not only to make our country sovereign but also, which is far more difficult, economically independent:
Today we have gathered in order to evaluate publicly, openly and honestly, the results of the past five-year period, to identify the strategy and basic guidelines of our further progress.
It is with satisfaction that I am reporting to this august assembly: our country has fulfilled the major indicators of the Programme of socio-economic development of Belarus for 2001-2005 of the 21st century. Everything we agreed upon at the second All-Belarus People's Assembly has been implemented and made a reality.
The country's development policy line worked out by us has proved right. High rates of economic growth, which our economy has been already demonstrating for more than 10 years, provide a good evidence thereof. Just compare: our annual GDP growth over the past five-year planning period was 7.5 percent as against 3.5 percent of the world average.
Western theoreticians fail to explain the reasons of such a success. They do not fit in with their "democratic" scheme.
The reasons, however, are simple. We have not embezzled the people's wealth, we have not got into burdensome debts. Relying on life itself, we have worked out our own model of development based on well-balanced and thought-out reforms. Without any sweeping privatization and shock therapy. Preserving everything what was best in our economy and in our traditions. At the same time we have been learning to work under new, market conditions, taking advantage of the experience elsewhere in the world and taking into account the modern trends of the world economy.
Strong state power, strong social policy and reliance on the people - that is what explains the secret behind our success.
We have not permitted sharp social differentiation of the population. The ratio between the incomes of the most well-to-do citizens and the incomes of the lowest paid ones is only 5 to 1 in Belarus, which is indicative of a high level of social justice.
We have no organized crime and stunning corruption. We have eradicated both economic and political causes of social dislocations. The "vertical line" of governance makes it possible for us to concentrate resources on the main avenues of development, to take and to efficiently implement the state decisions:
In the international scene, Belarus today is a full-fledged and active member of the international community. What is more, it is one of few states which pursue a truly independent foreign policy. Our foreign policy line is not decided in other capital cities, powerful as they might be, but is determined independently, proceeding from concrete practical national interests:
We are doing everything to make relations between the main military and political organizations in Europe - our Collective Security Treaty Organization and the NATO - the relations of partnership and cooperation. An equal footing partnership though, not the one based on the master-and-servant principle:
Recently, the State Security Committee, the Security Service unmasked 72 organizations - a whole network in our country. Hundreds of millions of dollars, mobile telephones, computers, protocols ready in advance for rigging the elections. On the 19th [of March] they will come out showing those protocols, which are made ready in advance, they will declare someone of those "drop-outs" a winner and will say that "the authorities have rigged the elections."
It is good that Sukhorenko with his guys has unmasked all that structure. Millions in money arrive via Ukraine, Baltic States and Poland. We are aware which embassies receive the cash, bring it here and distribute the money. Just look what kind of visual propaganda it is - portraits on glossy Western paper, slogans. It costs an immense price today! But they are unemployed. Jobless, one or more of them. Where have they taken the money from? Fighters for people's happiness so to say: They do fight, by the way, - one against another, so as to demonstrate to the West who is the greatest enemy of Lukashenko and who is "more democratic," in order to become a single [candidate], because in that case all the money will be flowing through them. This is the kind of fight they are waging: