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Opinions & Interviews

1 Jun 2018

Belarus president describes border guard service as fateful to presidential career

Belarus president describes border guard service as fateful to presidential career

DIVIN, 1 June (BelTA) – Joining the border guard service was fateful for the presidential career. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he talked to border service specialists and their families at the border guard station Divin in Kobrin District, Brest Oblast on 1 June, BelTA has learned.

“I remember that I was a border guard once. But maybe my sons are more inclined to celebrate [Border Guard Day], some traditions and the rest. And I have a tradition of visiting border guard stations. Yours today, the unit I started in once tomorrow. And I also keep an eye on the equipment of the border service,” said Alexander Lukashenko as he explained his attitude to the celebration of the recent professional holiday — Border Guard Day.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that his service as part of the border guard troops will always be an important part of his life. “I often think that I’d never have become the president of the country if I hadn’t joined the border guard. There were several moments in my life, which determined who I am now,” said the president.

Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the well-developed and modern physical infrastructure of the border guard station Divin where all the conditions for military service are available as well as proper living standards for military specialists and their families. The complex includes an administrative building, a border guard station, and a multifamily residential building. “I wish we had border guard stations like this in my time… Although they were okay. For instance, the Kizhevatov border guard station. It was a good one. Many other border guard stations in Brest Oblast [where Alexander Lukashenko served in the army once] were outstanding. It was the best border guard service branch in the Soviet Union but serving was difficult: inspections all the time and border violators were possibly treated much more seriously then,” said the Belarusian leader.

“I wanted to join the border guard myself. I graduated from university with good marks. I was my mother’s only son. People with pedagogical education were not allowed to join the army at all then. But all my cousins had been border guards. I remember the cousin I grew up with, how he joined the border guard and how he returned home with all the medals and orders. Certainly, it shaped my desire to serve as part of the border guard,” Alexander Lukashenko recalled.

Alexander Lukashenko said that after his graduation from university there were only three positions open in the border guard service for people with university degree: the area of the Kushka River in what is Turkmenistan today, Damansky Island at the Soviet-Chinese border, and the Brest Oblast branch of the border guard service. “I am a patriot and wanted to serve on Damansky Island after the Soviet-Chinese conflict. I thought if I made the point strongly, the KGB would send me there. Back then the border guard reported to the KGB. I remember that major, who told me that my son was due soon and therefore serving on Damansky Island was not a good idea. I mentioned Kushka then. He told me that Brest Oblast was the only option available instead. I accepted because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me join at all if I turned down that offer,” continued the president.

“When I joined the Brest Oblast branch of the border service, I understood that Damansky Island would have been a better option. Serving here was a nightmare. They demanded a great deal of us. State border protection was treated very seriously then,” said the head of state.

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