The dictator had a massive press conference in Minsk.
About 350 journalists were invited there. Firstly dictator answered questions already asked him in various media.
About destabilization of the ruble
“I was most concerned about consequences of the financial turmoil brought about by the accession to the Single Economic Space, other issues. It was important for me to stabilize the financial situation in the country and therefore I didn’t press for some gross indicators. Moreover, we have increased our gold and forex reserves up to roughly $8.2 billion, we have secured a zero-deficit budget, we have even gained a small surplus, we have financed all the measures that we had planned, and even more than that. In other words, we have stabilized the situation,” said Lukashenka. Belarus is capable of securing every necessary thing for the nation: stability, predictability, and calmness in the country. He underlined that apocalyptic forecasts had not come true. Belarus has survived “the end of the world”, the national currency did not fall at the beginning of the year contrary to predictions, and provocative SMS did not come true. The economy did not exceed the forecast parameters, including the inflation rate, and some pool has been created for the year 2013.
About resignation of the government
Lukashenka is not going to dismiss the government.
“With regard to the resignation of the government, you have not heard me say about this. Probably someone wants the government to quit. I have never talked about the resignation of the Government,” stressed the head of state. "If we have to replace someone, for some reason, if the person is ready to be replaced, we will do within 24 hours,” Lukashenka told.
He believes that the goals set forth in the economy and before the Government are feasible. The main task is outlined in the country's development guidelines for 2013. In Belarus these guidelines, and also the budget are examined "very long, for almost a year," Lukashenka noted. In the first quarter of 2013, the work will begin on the development guidelines for 2014. "Until the Government agrees them with Governors, they will not send them to me. Everything has to be agreed upon as the Governors and the Government will be responsible for meeting those targets,” he added.
About the "black lists" Answering the in absentia question by the leader of Neiro Dubel band Aliaksandr Kulinkovich, Lukashenka states, that he does not know about the existence of the so-called “black lists” of Belarusian musicians. “I do not know anything about “black lists” of Belarusian performers. I did not give such orders to anyone”, - he said. The ruler asked the heads of the respective ministries and agencies to report to him about “these lists of black diggers of culture”. “But if anyone spit on the country, if someone paid them for that, and it is clear, - than it is a different story, and I would like to know about such facts”, - he said.
About salaries of athletes
Athletes will get big money only for good results, Lukashenka told. "This is the area we will keep a close eye on. Athletes will get salaries to provide for the family and to train. They will get good money for good results,” he said. He stressed that he has serious questions to athletes about the results, including to FC BATE Borisov that had several bad repeat matches with European teams. “I turned off the TV. I was ashamed and upset when they would concede four goals.” Lukashenka noted that sports results mean a lot. In addition, the use of the funds allocated to sports is closely examined. "BATE should be thankful for being exempt from taxes. Indeed, they have done a good job. In recent years they have earned their money. But they should not forget that a stadium in Borisov will not be built on their money alone. The construction is sponsored by the State as well,” said he.
About hitting on Russian ambassador
One of the reporters mentioned that deliveries of oil products had been discussed rather vigorously recently. Ambassador of Russia to Belarus Mr Alexander Surikov had commented on the matter, too. “If we speak about the view of the Russian ambassador to Belarus, he can be rather exotic in his remarks sometimes,” said Lukashenka. “I received a report when I was in Moscow and we made arrangements with Putin and the Prime Minister on all the matters. We have obligations to the Russians. They have obligations to us, including oil and natural gas ones. We had considered everything, had reached an agreement and right at that time he started talking about this issue – paint thinners and solvents – in his interview”.
“And one week later the real things emerged. We truly came to terms. Russia needs oil processed, it will be processed at our oil refineries. The more the better I guess. Moreover, we have advanced refineries. The Russians need high-octane petrol, rocket fuel that we make in a quality manner. They are interested in our shipping them to the Russian Federation among other destinations,” stated Lukashenka.
“[First Vice Premier of Belarus] Mr Vladimir Semashko is present here. He was the one conducting the negotiations. He was telling them directly: if the profitability in Russia is the same as in the West, why do we have to transport it to the West? We can sell it in Russia instead. Agreed? Agreed,” said the President. “Let’s agree on the first quarter with 23 million tonnes in mind to avoid confusion. It is about 2 million tonnes more than last year. And in Q1 2013 we will settle all the issues regarding the deliveries. But, no, the ambassador had to speak his mind”.
“If someone was tracking these matters with attention, he gave an opinion about the remarks made by the ambassador and his competence. There is no need to be fixated on these issues. Sometimes ministries of foreign affairs and ambassadors know too little about what is going on in real relations between countries, particularly at the top level,” added Lukashenka.
About the “teddy bear landing force” “If they send planes to our territory, we will strengthen the border protection. I am an old border guard and I know what that is. They themselves (Lithuania) smacked into this story”, - Lukashenka stated. On 4 July a light civic jet piloted by Swedish citizens crossed Belarusian air space, having entered from Lithuania, and threw teddy bears with calls for freedom of press in the country on Minsk and Ivianets (Minsk region). Then the Defense Ministry of the country stated that there were no illegal crossings of the air border and called the information about the “teddy bear landing force” a provocation. Later Belarusian KGB instituted legal proceedings on the fact of illegal border crossing, and two Belarusian citizens were detained. Consequently they were released with recognition not to leave. In December last year the Investigatory Committee of Belarus ended the investigation of the criminal case against the border guard who missed on the Swedish “teddy bear landing force”.
About radical integration with Russia
Belarus and Russia are not ready for more radical integration steps for now. “Russia may want some faster steps or more radical ones but neither Kazakhstan nor Belarus will go for it off the cuff,” said the President. He reminded about the idea to introduce a single currency in the Union State of Belarus and Russia. “We had a difficult time counteracting the process. I asked for explanations why we should build a home starting with the roof. And what for? Nobody gave me an answer. It means that if there is no answer, let’s shelve the matter for now. It means it is not the time for it yet. And Russia did not fight with us over it,” said the President.
About Hillary Clinton
Speaking about the statement made by US Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton, who said she fears tighter Eurasian integration and said the USA was ready to prevent the process, Lukashenka said: “What is there to comment? She said it today and tomorrow all the officials of the Department of State started furiously denying it was not what she had meant”. “They may be worried about what is going on here in the post-Soviet space and we are worried about what is going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, along the Arab arc. It is unacceptable for us! We are worried about it, too. Therefore, we understand their worry but we don’t wage wars. We don’t use arms to destroy these countries and nor does Russia that Hillary Clinton tried to reproach in the first place,” remarked the President. Lukashenka sees nothing wrong with Russia trying to collect all these countries around it in some civilized manner at last. “They have an area of vital interest! Everywhere around the world is the area of vital interest of the United States of America! Does it worry you? It does. It worries me, too. However, we don’t worry the way they do,” added the head of state. “We build our relations depending on our interests. And we will continue doing so. I know it is the view of all the countries,” stressed Lukashenka. “We see reference points of the global economy, the world order and we align ourselves for them certainly. But we have our own interests”.
Blackmail of Lithuania
Lithuania will not choose to break partner relations with Belarus, President of Belarus Lukashenka made the statement.
“Cutting ties with Belarus would be an insane decision,” Lukashenka said.
He noted: “About 30% of Lithuania’s budget is generated by Belarus. As I was informed, in 2015 or even earlier, the European Union will not subsidize Lithuania anymore like it is doing now by giving it two or three billions. Lithuania will face even bigger issues”. The President reminded about the transit of Belarusian cargo through Lithuania: “We transship up to 10 million tonnes of goods in their ports. The ports survive on our products. It is true that we told our Lithuanian partners that we are considering other options, too. As soon as we agree on the ports in Leningrad Oblast and on rates with Ukraine, we will not put all our eggs in one basket”.
Talking about the forthcoming chairmanship of Lithuania in the EU, the President noted: “I count on it (Lithuania’s chairmanship – BelTA’s note) so far forth as Lithuania is independent in the European Union. The fact that Lithuania will assume chairmanship does not mean automatically that it will become a top decision-maker there. I do not have high expectations about it in fact” Lukashenka reminded that Belarus and Lithuania are neighbors: “One cannot choose neighbors. It was destined and the two countries should live in peace”.
Talking about Belarus’ relations with the Baltic states, Lukashenka said: “If we see respectful attitude that we deserve on the part of our partners in Lithuania and Latvia, we will give them money (by transshipping our cargo and creating jobs); if they appreciate it, we will be ready to cooperate with them. We do not have any stereotyped policies towards them. We really do not. We will proceed from the foreign and domestic policy of Lithuania and Latvia towards Belarus.”
About slavic frank relations with China
Belarus and China are not friends against someone, they are friends for their own interests. President of Belarus Lukashenka made the statement at the press conference held on 15 January for representatives of Belarusian and foreign mass media, BelTA has learned. “As far as our relations with China are concerned, I can use only positive terms here. But not everyone likes it. Our tight relations with China will always be met with resistance,” said the head of state. For instance, the European Union is dead set against China’s expansion closer to its borders, into its territory, even in economic terms. There may be some contradictions with Russia, too. But Belarus benefits from what China offers, the country is always responsive about Belarus’ proposals. Lukashenka mentioned the project to create the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park near the town of Smolevichi as an example. It will allow the country to earn $45 billion. “They are ready to attract the top companies into our country,” said the President. “It is profitable for China and us and not so profitable for other ones. And here it goes: Lukashenka gets blame, it is claimed that several thousands of the Chinese will settle down in Belarus”. The President refuted the rumor. The Chinese have never asked for it and the idea has never been discussed, he stressed. But the Belarusian society has been agitated. “Who does it?” asked the President. “Our homebred ones. On what orders? From abroad”. He urged to stay calm about such claims. The President underlined that China helps Belarus a lot. “We have asked them to relocate the production of inexpensive cars into Belarus. Yesterday the Prime Minister told me that cars are already being assembled, good ones”. “When we get accused of cooperating with China too tightly, I bring up concrete figures and ask whether they are ready to substitute China for us. They cannot. We are not friends with China for the sake of opposing someone. We are friends for the benefit of ours and China,” he stressed. Lukashenka also mentioned the importance of good personal relations with Mr Xi Jinping, the present Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. “We have very good personal relations. They are sincere in a Slavonic way, not a Chinese way,” specified the President. “China is a thousand-years-old empire. They are calmer, reserved, they think a lot before acting, it is good. We lack things like that, we are more open”. On the whole, Belarus-China relations are based on openness, remarked the head of state.
"What are you evil people"
One of the reporters asked the Belarusian President to share his views on the disease of Hugo Chavez and the fact that the disease frustrated the inauguration ceremony. “We are all human beings, you and I, and Chavez. Therefore, do not gloat over it and do not talk about the number of terms,” the Belarusian leader said. Lukashenka also noted that he is in a good physical condition. “Lukashenka will stay for as many terms as people want, of course, if his health allows him to do that,” the head of state said. “If you question my health, please, put on skates, bring a hockey stick or skis and we will try it with you. You are younger than me. If you want, we can do it in front of everyone. 10km race. If you finish first, you will become president by right of health tomorrow,” Lukashenka said with irony.
Blackmail of Poland
“Political and economic problems alike, I am not going to specify them. And the overall policy of Poland towards Belarus. Several things to be addressed, I am not going to specify examples regarding cooperation between special units and special services. An entire bunch. They know about them,” said the Belarus President speaking about the Polish side. Asked about when small border traffic may be introduced between Belarus and Poland, Lukashenka said: “We will make the decisions together with Poland and Lithuania once we come to terms. I don’t know when for now. It is not up to us to decide. There are certain problems, they are worrying, once we get certain guarantees from them and see a friendly policy on their part, we will make these decisions”. “All the decisions have to be balanced and have to be adopted in one package if you want. We have many questions to ask the Polish side and the Lithuanian one. They may have some questions, too but primarily political ones,” remarked Lukashenka.
About political prisoners
“Can they be released? Yes, they can. What are they to do for it? You will read about it in the Sovetskaya Belorussiya. It has explained everything they should do for it,” the head of state said. “They can go out. They do their time and they will go free. You ask me if they can get out early? They can. Read the law, it says everything. You ask me if I can release them, again read the law. It says everything. You know it,” the President said. Responding to the remark of one of the journalists who said that Belarus has imprisoned Lukashenka’s political rivals, in particular, former presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich, the President said he does not see his political rivals there: “There were ten candidates for presidency. What of it? What makes him my rival or opponent?” the President said.
Belaruskali "worth $ 30-32 billion"
“The price is set. If anybody wants it, go ahead. The controlling stake will belong to the state in any case,” he said. At the same time the President noted that assets of big companies are not sold during the drop in prices for potash fertilizers on the global market. “During the downturn phase, I will tell you straight, the assets of high-priced and very important companies are not sold. We are not going to sell Belaruskali during this phase,” the head of state said. “As for the overall economy, it is clear that the drop in prices and demand for potash fertilizers will result in the loss of revenues. That happened last year,” the President said. First Deputy Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko noted that today the price for potash fertilizers has stabilized and makes up $400 per one tonne. More than that, the price is expected to rise. In 2013 Belarus is expected to earn more from the sale of potash fertilizers than in 2012.
Tatsyana Karavinkova from BelaPAN asked this question.
She reminded the state leader about his statement to the British journalists that Iryna Khalip was free and could leave the country if she wanted.
“Khalip refused to go. He is a martyr here, and there, in the United Kingdom, no one will need her, the same as her husband”, - Lukashenka has said.
The journalist also asked about the recent notorious cases, like the case of car parking guard Vasil Sarochyk.
“If a person participated in mass disturbances, there will be no indulgence for them”, - the state leader has said.
About Mikalaj and the weapons
"My youngest son e-mailed Santa Claus! He asked for some pneumatic weapons… The future riot policeman,” - said Lukashenka.