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Opinions & Interviews

27 Jan 2020

Opinion: Affiliation with independent state brings Belarusians together

Opinion: Affiliation with independent state brings Belarusians together
Andrei Kuntsevich. An archive photo

MINSK, 27 January (BelTA) – The unity of Belarusians is based on the feeling that they are citizens of an independent state, Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Andrei Kuntsevich told the ONT TV channel on 26 January, BelTA has learned.

Andrei Kuntsevich spoke about the things that bring people together. “I believe that they are the Belarusian statehood and the feeling of being citizens of Belarus, an independent state,” he said.

“History gave us a unique opportunity to fulfill our aspiration ‘to live with dignity’ by offering us the supreme form of national statehood. However, it is not enough to establish the country. We need to preserve and strengthen its independence and sovereignty,” Andrei Kuntsevich continued. “It is of paramount importance to keep in mind that the country’s independence is defended not on squares and at rallies, but, for example, in the field at the wheel of a combine harvester, at a lathe in a factory shop floor, at a classroom board at school. In other words, it is defended through hard work, which was repeatedly emphasized by the head of state,” Andrei Kuntsevich noted.

Over the past decades Belarus has gone a long way; the quality of life has changed tremendously. However, new challenges emerged, including in the media environment. It used to be a realm of professional journalists. “Today the frames of this profession are substantially blurred. At the same time, out of inertia we keep relying on professionalism and responsibility of those who produce a media product, though there might be no professionalism there. We can challenge it, first of all, by an open dialogue with people and a fair state policy that should be in touch with reality, as the head of state reiterates,” the deputy head of the Belarus President Administration said.

In order to build such an open dialogue with people, the government arranges public outreach and engagement events. “We are constantly looking for new forms of engagement. Unfortunately, I am not 100% happy with the results of this work. There are some examples of a superficial attitude and formalism, which is absolutely inadmissible,” Andrei Kuntsevich noted.

The work of the ideological vertical is adjusted taking into consideration current events and trends. The work of information groups has recently been discussed at the level of the Belarus President Administration chief. As a result, a number of proposals are now under scrutiny by the Public Administration Academy under the aegis of the Belarus President. According to Andrei Kuntsevich, the Belarus President Administration received over 26,000 appeals last year. Many of them brought about managerial decisions. A good example of that is today’s public debate over the new draft Code on Administrative Offenses.  

Belarus will have the presidential election in 2020. When asked about activities of political parties, Andrei Kuntsevich noted that it is normal that they revive somewhat during election campaigns. “This is their main task to fight for power. However, the thing is that during the inter-election period many of them are low-key or their ideological platform just does not resonate with the public. Hence low ratings from voters,” he said.

“Many say today that the potential of political parties is not used in full. It is absolutely possible that we need to seriously consider upgrading the party system. I think that this matter should be discussed by MPs and experts,” Andrei Kuntsevich concluded.

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