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Belarus should have the world's best diamond processing, jewelry industry

GOMEL ( BelTA) – Diamond processing and jewelry production in Belarus should be better than anywhere else in the world, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said setting a task for the industry as he talked to employees of the Kristall jewelery company on 17 November, BelTA has learned.

“I've been planning to come here for a long time. This is not because you make such beautiful things; I guess no one else in the world can craft such beautiful synthetic things. I think, the most beautiful thing in the world is a woman. And a woman looks even prettier if she wears diamonds, gold and so on (personally I don't think so, but women themselves do). I am not super-excited about such things. I have never had them. For me, this is a raw material turned into a finished product. Yet, I am happy if these products can help our women shine even brighter,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the president, in the past he would receive many proposals to privatize the enterprise. Yet, it was decided to keep it state-owned.

“I flatly refused. This is a state-run enterprise and will remain so. At least as long as I am president. Our people have learned to make this beauty and it is not for sale. It was not about diamonds and gold for me. It was about losing competencies, specialists, which would be a disaster. These are really world-class specialists,” the head of state said.

He recalled that there were seven Kristall jewelery factories in the Soviet Union. Only two remained - in Smolensk and Gomel.

“Everything was destroyed, everything fell apart. We have not just preserved and turned your enterprise around. We will grow it. We will invest in it. We will buy the latest in equipment. I have got this mind-blowing thought: We should not just reach a world-class level, but we should outdo other companies. We can do it. We will invest money in your company. Yet, naturally, we will also expect you to make products above the world level,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Kristall holding company also includes a network of Beluvelirtorg stores; there are more than 70 of them across the country. The president believes that the network should be expanded.

“Now you hold a solid share of the domestic market and produce things for foreign markets. The short-term task for the minister and the company chief is to rely on the country's own resources and competencies. We should not ban other companies, instead you should outcompete them. We will do everything for this. It's not because there's a shortage of jewelry. We have enough. The thing is if you are out of the picture, these jewelry and other things in Belarus will cost three times more. I wouldn't like it to happen,” the president noted. “At the same time, we should not lose highly qualified, talented people and traditions.”

“This is our enterprise. It will always be ours. Not a single president would want to get rid of such an enterprise,” the head of state concluded.