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Lukashenko: Science shapes the future

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has met with Belarusian researchers during his visit to the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, BelTA has learned.

“I remember that short period of time when I had to do science and up to this very day I greatly respect researchers who devoted their lives to science. These are amazing people, because no job is more challenging than this. I am fully aware that scientists are not just incredibly smart people (no matter how clichéd it might sound) who see things from the perspective of their expertise and knowledge. These are people who have practical wisdom, who sincerely love their homeland, because they serve the science and people,” the head of state said.

He noted that the academic community is involved in all important decision-making in the country. “Therefore, being the president I regularly meet with the academic community and always ask you for advice. We all know that scientific advancements determine the future. This is true not only for some individual state, but for the entire humankind,” the head of state said.

The president added that the same was often said by Zhores Alferov, the famous Belarusian who received the Nobel Prize for Physics and whose work paved the way to the digital era. “I communicated a lot with him, we often argued. However, I really admired the fact that this internationally recognized luminary remained a passionate patriot of our Belarus and proved his love for the country by words and deeds; he did not let anyone even look askance at Belarus. However, not all people were like that. At the dawn of our independent state, there were people who tried to push scientists to the slippery road of dirty political games. I really appreciate that you did not succumb to it during that difficult and dramatic period and that you did not compromise your principles and profession,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, Belarusian scientists still hold up well, do not respond to provocations of political wire-pullers, preserve the traditions started over 90 years ago and pass them over to the youth.

“The Academy of Sciences of the BSSR with its research institutions, schools and fields of research was established to address specific tasks and meet concrete needs of the huge empire – the Soviet Union. Minsk was often the first to implement progressive ideas. However, the older generation can tell you the 1990s put the country to the test after long years of prosperity. Among the people in attendance there are many of those who survived this difficult time. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the immediate disruption of scientific and economic ties, which put many research facilities on the brink of survival,” the president said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, back then there was no money to buy new equipment, to pay salaries to scientists. The number of research workers in the country shrank three times. Many scientists changed their profession or went abroad, some started working on the market as sales people. “I remember the time when people doubted that a small independent state needed its own Academy of Sciences. They said it was easier to destroy everything, sell the knowhow, buildings and facilities; after all, there were many who wanted to buy them. There were proposals to purchase the necessary technology and products from abroad when the country becomes rich,” the head of state said.

According to the president, the fact that many people doubted the need to promote Belarusian science became a serious challenge for him. Yet, the country decided to revive the scientific sector. Later on another thing became obvious - it is necessary to link science with the manufacturing sector.

“We established the Higher Attestation Commission, the State Committee for Science and Technology. Thanks to government support, we managed not only to preserve the capable core of research teams and the most important schools of thought, but also to lay the foundation for contemporary Belarusian science,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

He added that today R&D projects in the country are carried out by 460 organizations that employ 28,000 people. The National Academy of Sciences alone collaborates with researchers from 93 states; it is an umbrella organization for 42 international research centers . “I put forward a toughest demand for senior officials of the Academy of Sciences. You probably noticed that I always take a scientist with me whenever I go abroad,” the president added. “This way, science generated money for the country, for the manufacturing sector, and scientists themselves earned. It will be one of the priorities in the next five-year period,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.