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Soyuz

Belarus — Russia

pp. 25—32

No.10 (961), 2013

BELARUS

Politics, Economy, Culture

Беларусь. Belarus

Magazine for you

Nikolay Karachentsev was shot in the film, Belye Rosy-2, which frames were completed at the Film Studio "Belarusfilm"

film with continuation

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INTERNATIONAL

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Contents

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Беларусь.Belarus Monthly magazine No. 10 (961), 2013

Richness of bread field

Published since 1930 State Registration Certificate of mass medium No.8 dated March 2nd, 2009, issued by the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus

Founders: The Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus “SB” newspaper editorial office Belvnesheconombank Editor: Viktor Kharkov Executive Secretary: Valentina Zhdanovich

Design and Layout by

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Obvious acceleration  During the official visit of the President of Belarus to Kazakhstan, documents promoting further development of the bilateral ties were signed

General formula  In early October, the

Ukrainian PM, Nikolay Azarov, paid an official visit to Belarus  

Ace in heavy weight

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In search of optimum variant  Draft law aim-

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New outlines for Polesie  Creation of the first

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ing to emancipate business initiative prepared in Belarus

Irkutsk’s Klondike of Oleg Rudakov  After leaving his Fatherland, Oleg Rudakov, born in the Polotsk District, became even closer to it and found Belarusian treasures in the Baikal Lake area together with his like-minded people

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What was, is and will be man?

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Second life of ancient handicrafts  Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre preserves unique traditions of ancient tapestry weaving

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‘Mirnyi’s’ roadshow  Family of famous

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Source of sincere feelings Isn’t it a land-

tennis player to reveal mysteries and beauties of Belarus to television viewers

scape which is the most national genre of the Belarusian fine arts? It is a genre where famous artist Ivan Dmukhailo achieved great triumphs

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Polesie-Lelchitsy Regional Industrial Park in the Gomel Region is likely to become a reality

Test of Antarctica  Unique device was created at the Belarusian State University

Cranberries become a brand  Owing to the inter-

national ecological project, a festival devoted to cranes and cranberries is being prepared in Belarus

Vadim Kondrashov Nadezhda Ponkratova Беларусь.Belarus is published in Belarusian, English, Spanish and Polish. Distributed in 50 countries of the world. Final responsibility for factual accuracy or interpretation rests with the authors of the publications. Should any article of Беларусь.Belarus be used, the reference to the magazine is obligatory. The magazine does not bear responsibility for the contents of advertisements.

Publisher: “SB” editorial office This magazine has been printed at “Belarusian House of Press” Publishing Office” UE. 79 Nezavisimosti Ave., Minsk, Belarus, 220013 Order No. 3367 Total circulation — 1939 copies (including 733 in English).

Write us to the address: 11 Kiselyov Str., Minsk, Belarus, 220029. Tel.: +375 (17) 290-62-24, 290-66-45. Tel./Fax: +375 (17) 290-68-31. www.belarus-magazine.by E-mail: mail@belarus-magazine.by Subscription index in Belpochta catalogue — 74977

...and about the artist's dream

For future foreign subscribers for ‘Belarus’ magazine, apply to ‘MK-Periodica’ agency. E-mail: info@periodicals.ru Telephone in Minsk: +375 (17) 227-09-10.

© “Беларусь. Belarus”, 2013

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editor’s note

Substantiated criteria

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ow can we determine which of the events is the most vital? Probably, those are most important which have sparked the public’s interest, those which haven’t been forgotten in the everyday routine and those which people are still talking about. This issue of Belarus magazine offers a selection of these events. Political events are always a priority, since they determine internal and inter-state relationships. In this context, we must mention the recent visit of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to Kazakhstan. In the Obvious Acceleration article, our author notes that this country is a reliable ally and a strategic partner, with the two countries boasting almost $1bn of trade turnover and a range of joint projects. Moreover, production and sci-tech co-operation is also developing. In recent years, Belarusian-Kazakh relations have been developing especially dynamically in the economic sphere. Undoubtedly, the current visit of the President will give new impetus to the development of a beneficial partnership. Meanwhile, the official visit of the Ukrainian Prime Minister to Minsk in early December also had definite resonance. During the visit, Ukrainian-Belarusian bilateral documents have been signed, in particular, the roadmap of the development of the bilateral collaboration for 2013-2015, alongside a range of other agreements and programmes. Observers and experts note that the visit had huge political and economic resonance, taking place, as it did, immediately after a draft agreement had been approved on association and establishment of the free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU. At the same time, Ukraine is putting a lot of effort in setting up co-operation with the countries of the Customs Union. Taking part in the session of the Supreme Council of the Customs Union.



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The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Nikolai Azarov, told us in an interview how the Ukrainian side views the compromise between the participation in two integration unions. The interview is presented in our article, entitled General Formula. Speaking at the Republican Dazhynki-2013 Festival of Rural Workers, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, announced that the agrarian branch guarantees the country’s food security and accounts for a huge share of Belarusian exports. As is traditional, this holiday sums up the results of the grain harvesting campaign. Dazhynki is already 17 years old, and today, the major event of the festival-fair is the honouring of harvest time heroes who get the ‘Belarusian gold’, with their rough hands, mastery and self-sacrificing labour. Sovereign Belarus, unlike other CIS states, has established a reliable foundation for the agro-industrial complex. Belarus has powerful enterprises producing tractors, vehicles, farm machines and fertilisers. These companies meet the domestic demand while actively promoting their goods on the international market. This topic is further explored in our Richness of Bread Field publication. We can say that an efficient economy embodies carefully thought-out policies. In the context of this conclusion, the establishment of the first regional industrial park, Polesie-Lelchitsy, in the Gomel Region, promises to become a landmark event. The project was presented in May at the Gomel economic forum, and immediately caused a wave of investment interest. The idea is to develop Polesie’s deposit-rich land. And this is not just a theoretical supposition, but a concrete project, with a solid business plan. Just what is concealed deep under the surface of Polesie? Firstly, there are fuel and energy resources, in the form of brown coal, shale and peat. There is no need to explain how these will benefit the Republic economy. Industrial reserves of brown coal in the Zhitkovichi and Petrikov districts, where the general reserves produce about 100 million cubic metres, have been thoroughly prospected. The implementation of the conceived investment projects will undoubtedly require enormous financial investment, especially in the fuel and energy spheres. Therefore, local authorities have begun to actively work attracting investors. Our New Outlines for Polesie is dedicated to this topic. Filming of the film, Belye Rosy-2 (White Dew-2), directed by Alexandra Butor, recently finished. The film is the sequel to a film of the same title, shot in 1983, which became a classic of the Soviet cinema. The original, based on playwright Alexey Dudarev’s play, and shot by director Igor Dobrolyubov is now honoured by cinema fans as a folk comedy. Whether the new picture, like its predecessor, will be enjoyed by spectators, we’ll find out when it appears on the big screens. Until then, we invite you to read our article, Film with Continuation, an indepth interview with director Alexandra Butor. By Victor Kharkov


PANORAMA  ‘Tornado’ makes a profit

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What looks simple from the outside is the result of deep theoretical research and numerous patents, and allows Belarusian power engineers to get profit ‘from nothing’

 Frontier innovations in on-line environment Brest Region joint Belarusian-Chinese project creates intelligent system of closed circuit TV

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he Belarusian-Polish border point, near Brest Fortress, is the first to trial the innovation, explains Alexander Boechko, Chairman of

the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus. He tells us, “In many countries, border points use motion and warmth sensors and video cameras. We use all together, and only one person is needed to monitor them, with the data transmitted online.” The system has been tested since last December, showing good results in various environmental conditions. About $400,000 have been spent on the project, given freely by the Belarusian office of Chinese Huawei company.

 No need for traditional fuels Belorusneft to install four batterycharging outlets at its vehicle fuelling stations

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he necessary software is being completed and a tender for purchasing special equipment is being conducted, to install equipment at four filling stations in the Belorusneft network; one will be situated in Minsk. The sites have been chosen to ensure maximum convenience for those driving battery powered cars

and the vehicles will also be available for hire. Belorusneft is already the biggest retail fuel operator in Belarus, also selling compressed natural gas. It accounts for about 70 percent of total retail sales of car fuel and has over 510 fuelling stations: two thirds of the country’s total.

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his relates to the new construction of cooling towers have been calculated by scientists from the A.V. Lykov Institute of Heat and Mass Transformer of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. It would appear that nothing could be altered in these grandiose constructions, meant for water cooling by the atmosphere, as their design is tried-andtested. But that didn’t stop the national researchers attempting, and succeeding in their endeavour. They found that they could twist the incoming air flow in such a manner that the duration of its contact with cool water increased significantly. As a consequence, the artificial eddy, the ‘tornado’, reduced the temperature of the cooling water by several degrees. This is a monumental achievement as, during the summer, the additional cooling or water in a tower by one degree leads to the decrease of fuel consumption by 1.2-2 grams on the generation of every kilowatt/hour of energy. Because of this original work and other inventions made by Belarusian scientists working on improving the effectiveness of various types of cooling units, Minsk was chosen as the location of the 16th IAHR Cooling Tower and Air-Cooled Heat Exchanger Conference. This big forum is a unique platform for the organisation of international co-operation and the sharing of experiences between researchers and specialists from 18 countries worldwide.

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INTEGRATION

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enefits from some of this, e.g., the roadmap of trade-economic cooperation development for 2014-2016, will be assessed by our enterprises in the nearest future. Tourists and businessmen will be able to feel positive results of action of agreements, aiming to improve the procedure of staying of Belarusian and Kazakh citizens on the territories of both states. The aircraft of the President landed at Astana International Airport around 5.00pm (local time). Almost immediately the automobile cortege drove to the Defenders of the Fatherland Monument and Mr. Lukashenko laid flowers at its base. The bronze stela with a figure, symbolising the Motherland, is a tribute of memory to the heroic deed of the Kazakh nation in the war years. The monument which is 24m high is located in one of green zones of Astana old parts. This location hosts parades during the celebration of the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War. Nearby, an Alley of Heads of State is situated. Young fir trees were planted by presidents of foreign states, who once visited the capital of Kazakhstan. There’s also a Schrenk’s spruce here, planted by Mr. Lukashenko in May 2005 during his official visit to Kazakhstan. The current visit is the third since that time and convincingly proves an important role, played by Kazakhstan in Belarus’ foreign political priorities. This country is a reliable ally and a strategic partner for us, with two countries boasting almost $1bn of trade turnover and a range of joint projects. Moreover, production and sci-tech co-operation is also developing. In recent years, the Belarusian-Kazakh relations have been developing especially dynamically in trade-economic sphere and Minister of Industry Dmitry Katerinich announced the following facts. This year, the supplies of quarry machiner y to Kaza k hst an have increased by 30 percent. Moreover, our



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partners have fancied new produce — railway carriages of the Mogilev Railway Carriage Works, and $25m of these have been already sold. Assembly productions of our tractors, harvesters and adjustable agricultural technique are also operating efficiently. Recently, an assembly production of lifts has been launched. All these result in currency earnings for the country, new jobs for our people and of course, the enhancement of our country’s image. Undoubtedly, the current visit by the President will give a new impetus for beneficial partnership, Kazakh economy is developing dynamically, as

two-day visit is attentively monitored by local media, testifying to mutual interest towards each other among our peoples, especially when it’s reinforced by mutual profit. Mr. Nazarbayev thanked Mr. Lukashenko for the visit, especially noting that, “Belarus and Kazakhstan are close partners and we’re united by close co-operation ties. I’m convinced that your visit will greatly contribute into the development of these relations.” The two presidents primarily focused on the development of the bilateral trade-economic, political and humanitarian ties between the states.

Obvious acceleration During the official visit of the President of Belarus to Kazakhstan, documents promoting further development of the bilateral ties were signed is immediately seen judging by largescale construction in Astana. Looking on its contemporary buildings —which are sometimes ahead of time — one can hardly believe that some twenty years ago it was an ordinary provincial town. We also have what to propose to our partners. Mr. Lukashenko had tête-àtête negotiations with the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, as well as talks in an extended format. Evidently, these tackled major areas of collaboration and a range of documents was signed. Moreover, the presidents attended the Belarusian-Kazakh Centre for Training and Retraining Engineers at the S. Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University. Meanwhile, the tight schedule of Mr. Lukashenko’s

O u r c ou nt r i e s share s i m i l ar approaches towards the assessment of international agenda. From year to year, economic partnership strengthens and Kazakhstan is ranked third among the CIS states in terms of Belarusian exports. Although they have recently fallen by 10 percent because of the situation in the world economy, there’re all conditions for its new growth. New partnership opportunities are primarily connected with joint participation in integration processes within the Single Economic Space and in the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr. Lukashenko accentuated that, “We need to use to the uttermost the advantages of the Single Economic Space to strengthen the mutually beneficial relations between our countries


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INTEGRATION

while making them sustainable and progressive.” Production and sci-tech co-operation is still a priority in the economic area. At present, all harvesters of the Belarusian production, two thirds of MTZ tractors, each tenth lift, delivered to our Kazakh partners, are assembled on the territory of this country. This means efficient saturation of the internal market with the domestically-manufactured goods, as well as the enhancement of competitiveness of our countries’ economies and the creation of new jobs. Mr. Lukashenko noted during the negotiations that Belarus, in its turn, is interested in the presence of large Kazakh capital in the country. The country offers diverse areas for investments:

Economic Space was launched. Joint plans also include logistics centres for transportation of Belarusian and Kazakh goods to European and Asian consumers. According to Mr. Lukashenko, Belarus is ready to open logistics centres at the border with the EU to sell there grain from Kazakhstan and products of its processing. Agriculture boasts inexhaustible potential for partnership and Belarus is keen not only to increase the supplies of agricultural processing goods to Kazakhstan. Our specialists, possessing precious experience, are ready to take part in the modernization of Kazakhstan’s agro-industrial complex. At present, Belarus manufactures over 800 varieties of agricultural machinery and separate samples of this technique have been donated to the Kazakh Agro Technical University, where the Belarusian-Kazakh Centre for Training and Retraining Engineers has opened. The conditions, created in the centre, will assist would-be agrarians to receive knowledge in theory and practice. The establishment of the centre is the best proof that bilateral contacts are dynamically developing in the educational sphere. Moreover, books were donated by Mr. Lukashenko to the centre, describing Belarus’ export potential.

Presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan have signed a joint statement, confirming their mutual aspiration to strengthen friendship between the countries and peoples petrochemistry and power engineering, transport and logistics, innovations and new technologies. Transport and logistics is a promising area for co-operation and, according to Mr. Lukashenko, its potential has significantly expanded once the Single

In total, the potential of the partnership is high and presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan have signed a joint statement, confirming their mutual aspiration to strengthen friendship between the countries and peoples. By Lilia Khlystun

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Co-operation

General formula

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part from its economic signif icance, the Ukrainian PM’s visit to Minsk is of great political importance — taking place immediately after Ukraine approved a draft agreement on association and establishment of a free trade zone with the EU. At the same time, Ukraine is working hard to increase co-operation with the Customs Union member states and, during his participation in the Astana session of the Customs Union’s Supreme Council, Mr. Azarov confirmed that his country is ready to collaborate with the Customs Union states as an observer. With this in mind, a key political issue — discussed in Minsk — focused on the possibili-



беларусь.belarus  2013

Belta

In early October, the Ukrainian PM, Nikolay Azarov, paid an official visit to Belarus and met President Alexander Lukashenko and PM Mikhail Myasnikovich. A package of Ukrainian-Belarusian documents was signed, including a road map of bilateral co-operation for development in 2013-2015. ties of such co-operation (under the condition of Ukraine’s interaction with two major integration blocks: the EU and the Customs Union). On meeting Mr. Azarov, the Belarusian President noted that he sees no problems in Ukraine’s agreement with the EU. Mr. Lukashenko believes that a formula for Ukraine’s cooperation with the Customs Union would be found, “It’s always necessary to proceed from reality. Ukraine’s signing of an agreement with the EU is actually a reality — if we are to believe the reports from Brussels and Kiev. Accordingly, we also need to view this fact in the following way: Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state which has chosen this path and decided to conclude this agreement.” According to Mr. Lukashenko, it is vital to ensure that this agreement on association doesn’t hamper Ukraine’s

co-operation with the Single Economic Space and the Customs Union. “If the Customs Union feels satisfied with Ukrainian proposals, then we’ll move forward. In turn, neither Russia, Kazakhstan, or Belarus would act this way if a shift towards the EU is observed. Our states would possibly act then only before receiving certain compromises,” he said. Mr. Lukashenko stressed that our three states would love Ukraine to take part in all integration processes and, with this in mind, the Customs Union member states would soon pass a long path of finding ways to establish normal co-operation with Ukraine. Speaking of the bilateral Belarusian-Ukrainian relations, the President expressed his assurance that our states would find a solution to all issues. In his talk to the Belarus magazine reporter, Nikolai Azarov spoke of


Co-operation Ukraine’s view on the compromise in participating in two separate integration associations. Mr. Prime Minister, your visit confirms the high dynamics of the Ukrainian-Belarusian relations which are now approaching a new level. As seen from our presidents’ meeting during Alexander Lukashenko’s trip to Kiev, our countries are ready to intensify their interaction. However, this co-operation could hardly be viewed in isolation from the Customs Union (of which Belarus is a member) whose efficiency would have drastically increased, as many believe, if Ukraine has joined. Our Belarus magazine readers are interested in your opinion on the situation. Actually, the Customs Union was established recently, and has been functioning for a short period of time. Therefore, it’s too early to draw conclusions on its efficiency and I shall speak in general terms as a result. Of course, it’s extremely important that a range of trade barriers between Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia were lifted. The restitution of former co-operative ties is supposed to yield a positive effect. However, speaking of figures, we need to recollect that the idea was realised in times when the three states were recovering from the crisis. We do observe a growth in the turnover but we would have been able to make more precise

conclusions if that progress took place in normal times. I’d love to repeat my view: I advocate foreign trade liberalisation. Fencing and creation of trade barriers for commodity and services (which affect capital and the workforce in a wide sense) would eventually result in an uncompetitive economy. With this in mind, we attentively study the Customs Union’s experience of work. The three states have been negotiating for a decade. Taking into consideration their national features, they agreed, creating certain trading regimes and technical regulations. About 120 legal agreements have been signed, all passing ratification and inter-state procedures. Naturally, we lack such integration experience. We’ll study all these agreements and decide which of them we would be able to join. If they satisfy us, then we are ready to join the Customs Union. During a recent governmental session, we made a decision that our country would possibly join a technical agreement. The Government is soon to launch the procedure. We’ll need to talk to our partners seriously and we hope they are ready for this. The formula, proposed by President Viktor Yanukovych, was eventually realised after a meeting of our four states (envisaging Ukraine’s ‘observer’ status). We take part in the work of the three states’ Supreme Economic

My visit to Belarus indicates that we must be extremely sincere with our partners, only voicing our position. We hope the Belarusian authorities would manage to inform their other partners, including the Russians, on our position

Council (as observers) and plan to further participate in the work of your Customs Union’s inter-state bodies. Mr. Azarov, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has recently approved a draft agreement on association and establishment of an overall free trading zone with the EU. With this in mind, many questions arise on how this move would affect co-operation with Belarus. Some assert that this would be profitable for our country — taking into consideration the UkrainianBelarusian industrial co-operation and our plans for a joint entry to third states’ markets. Does such intensification of Belarusian-Ukrainian relations mean that your state has no plans to focus on the EU exclusively, but aims to establish long term co-operation with the EU, the Customs Union and Belarus (as a Customs Union member)? You’ve actually answered your own question. Of course, Ukraine does not merely aim to establish collaboration with the EU and the Customs Union. It is actually obliged to this cooperation. Having a large border, we neighbour many states. Our geographical position dictates our action in this respect. Moreover, we shared a single ‘umbrella’ with Belarus for many years and Ukraine feels much sympathy and enthusiasm in observing Belarus’ progress. Any of your difficulties are our problems as well. They immediately affect our turnover and economic ties. In turn, your successes help us develop. Everything is interdependent. We are very much thankful to the Belarusian authorities for their deliberate and calm assessment of our decision to sign the aforementioned agreement with the EU. The reasonable apprehension, as seen in Belarusian leaders’ minds, including during my recent meeting with PM Myasnikovich, indicates that Belarus views this complicated process in a constructive way, whilst making reasonable conclusions. I’d behave in the same way if I were in Minsk’s position; i.e. if a neighbour makes a Page

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certain decision, then it would be wise to think of what is necessary to be done for both of us, and also our partners, to our benefit. In this respect, we are ready for supreme co-operation. As well as governmental heads, who are responsible for economic issues, I’ve also brought a large team of businessmen to Belarus. We hope to develop joint projects in the future. My visit to Belarus indicates that we must be extremely sincere with our partners, openly voicing our position. We hope the Belarusian authorities would manage to inform their other partners, including the Russians, on our position. Meanwhile, there are fears that the Ukraine-EU agreement on association would create additional barriers on the path of our countries’ economic liaisons. This primarily depends on the position of the Customs Union and the Belarusian authorities. Russia tells us openly: ‘We will complicate your life’. I wonder why it needs to make our life more difficult. Rather, it should be full of joy and happiness. No barriers should appear as there are no grounds for them. I love an example which is truly indicative. The CIS has existed for over two decades. We’ve managed to create a free trade zone which was actually a large move, bringing our economies closer. A free trade zone is primarily a possibility for our economies to develop. However, there is an opinion that if Ukraine signs a free trade zone agreement with the EU, all other CIS member states would cease their free trade regime with us. Why should this happen? A free trade regime is based on the WTO principles. Russia has free trade zones with other states and Ukraine also boasts two dozen of them. I’d like to remind you that we enjoyed a free trade regime with all our neighbours, such as Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Estonia, before they joined the EU. Our ties did not hamper us to trade with Russia, Belarus or other states. Accordingly, we hope that Ukraine’s signing of a free trade

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zone with the EU would create huge possibilities, including for the Customs Union member states. I see no reasons to create barriers. Mr. Azarov, numerous BelarusianUkrainian joint ventures operate in Ukraine and we are interested in the further growth of our mutual turnover. Won’t it suffer as a result of European produce flowing freely into Ukraine? We have great plans dealing with the enhancement of our trade with Belarus. In respect to my visit to Minsk, I’d love to note that I’ve always visited your country with pleasure as, on coming here, only positive changes are evident. When I see this, I cannot but think of what my own country lacks. I see order and well decorated, tidy cities, which is very positive. I see that you’ve managed to preserve the most complicated industries, high-tech production facilities like MAZ. Much is being done in the field of high-tech development. The Head of our Ukroboronprom is accompanying me on this trip, and we wish our contacts to develop in this field. Actually, we have many plans which enable us to jointly develop our economies, primarily in the field of machine building and agriculture. You’ve managed, not merely to preserve your former assets, but also develop high-tech harvesters. Meanwhile, this year, Ukraine has collected the richest crop — 60m tonnes of grain. We plan to further develop our agricultural production to increase output further. It’s a true challenge for us, as we lack our own ability to produce combine harvesters and other machinery. With this in mind, we plan to join Belarus in establishing a venture on our territory to manufacture a range of agricultural equipment. Belarusian experience will be definitely useful in this field. As seen from your comments, while signing an associated membership agreement with the EU, Ukraine does not oppose Eurasian integration. However, did you succeed in convincing your European partners that no barriers should be applied

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Co-operation

in your co-operation? European Commissar, Štefan Füle, warned that your agreement with the EU does not envisage Ukraine’s collaboration with the Customs Union. What’s the way out of this contradiction? There is no need to view the European Union as a single entity. It unites 28 states, and their positions differ. The same applies to European politicians’ opinions. On signing an agreement with the EU, Ukraine does not lose its sovereignty or its rights to make independent decisions. According to one of the articles of this document (officially approved by the EU), we are not prohibited to join any associations or conclude agreements on free trade zones and customs unions. This is our sovereign right. If Ukraine comes to a conclusion that participation in the Customs Union is feasible, then a legal referendum would be organised. Ukrainians will then be able to express their opinion, a decision will be made and nobody would be able to ever hamper us in its realisation. Moreover, our signing an associated membership agreement does not envisage joining the EU. It will take a


Co-operation

long time before this document comes into full force. A ten-year transition period is required for us to gradually shift to European standards and norms. I’d like to point out that Belarus, Russia and other states are likely to develop along this avenue. The globally advanced states’ experience is truly positive, from the point of view of technical norms and regulations. Our people understand this well. Accordingly, a desire to bring our economy, law and life standards closer to those observed in Europe is natural for any state figure. However, we have a different mentality, history and culture. Nobody aims to break them. In turn, we plan to learn the best while developing in our own way. We wish the same to all our partners. I’d not oppose the Eurasian Economic Union to the European Union. We have little idea of what would happen in a decade. Anyway, we need to use the best global practices to ensure these achievements take root in our country. You are right in saying that a free trade zone opens possibilities. However, this also envisages competition. Would a new agreement result in

large scale cuts of Ukrainian production and, accordingly, affect your Belarusian partners? Is Ukraine ready to join Belarus in enhancing their joint manufacture, while conquering the European market? This is a very complicated question. In the past we were members of the USSR. The Soviet economy was closed, with barriers against the rest of the world. It created ‘greenhouse’ conditions for its industry and economic activity. As a result, imports were truly ‘magic’ for us. We had no wish to buy domestic products, but were eager to purchase foreign produce. Our manufacturing processes were not modernised for two decades and, as a result, our competitiveness was lost. If the Soviet Union had no gas and oil deposits, it would have lost its turnover with the rest of the world. Another system is observed now — the open economy. Any producer can join and, as a result, domestic manufacturers could lose their position if they fail to prepare. Ukraine is a good example of this. During Soviet times, the country fully satisfied its own needs with light industry products and also exports. However, markets are open now, and the situation has changed. China and Turkey have forced out light industry out of the country. Accordingly, we need to find a reasonable compromise between domestic interests and the conditions under which our manufacturers have a possibility to develop, modernise and compete. The tax regime, which our country applies, contributes to this, as does a certain level of trade protection and foreign barriers. Ukraine is now planning to sign an agreement with the EU, envisaging a ten year transitory period for our enterprises. Protective rates (which we are cutting slowly, while the EU is to zero immediately after signing) would be operational for five years. The Ukrainian Government aims to create the conditions for our producers to be able to modernise their facilities. If they fail because they spend money on different purposes, rather

than modernisation, then bankruptcy is inevitable. I think this won’t happen, as all those who’ve invested money are interested in their companies’ development and the conquering of new markets. Of course, some risk exists, we understand this well. However, it’s impossible to create a competitive industry without risks. Are you convinced that our joint Belarusian-Ukrainian produce would be sold in the EU and rival local manufacture? Of course. When our talks on the establishing of a free trade zone began, certain conditions were placed upon us. Our agricultural produce exports to Europe were limited by quotas. However, no quotas are applied now in exporting several million of such produce to the EU. Customers have become convinced of its high quality and, as a result, our products have become competitive. With this in mind, I have no doubts that our traditional produce would enjoy demand in the EU. Many Europeans, who come across us, buy Belarusian food as they highly appreciate its quality. I have one final question for you. President Lukashenko has mentioned many times that Belarus and Ukraine have several key areas where our national interests coincide. What are they, in your view? There are plenty of them. I’m happy to say that Mr. Lukashenko is a wide politician. He clearly outlines the fundamentals of our bilateral relations. This is a very correct understanding. What are Belarus’ national interests in Ukraine and what are our interests in Belarus? But if these contradict each other, let’s get round the negotiation table and bring them closer. Where they coincide, let’s strengthen them. Actually, we have many points where our interests coincide, and my visit to Belarus aims to assess this coincidence of interests. We are to discuss the uniting matters, to ensure they benefit Belarus and Ukraine. Thank you for your time! by Nina Romanova

2013  беларусь.belarus




DAZHYNKI-2013

Richness of bread field

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s is traditional, this holiday sums up the results of the grain harvesting campaign. Dazhynki is already 17 years old and today the major event of the festival-fair is the honouring of harvest time heroes who get the ‘Belarusian gold’, named bread, with their rough hands, mastery and self-sacrificing labour. Each year, one of Belarusian towns becomes the centre of festive celebrations and the whole country helps this town improve for the festivity while solving many vital issues. Zhlobin — the current capital of Dazhynki — has acquired its second youth over a short period of time. Over 300 sites have been built and reconstructed, houses and streets have been renewed and the railway, connecting it with Minsk, has been electrified. “What we see today in the festival capital confirms the established truth that lies at the heart of our policy: if we work harder we will live a better life,” noted Alexander Lukashenko. “Contemporar y, successfully and

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Speaking at the Republican Dazhynki-2013 Festival of Rural Workers, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko announced that agrarian branch guarantees the country’s food security while accounting for a huge share of Belarusian exports dynamically developing agricultural industry guarantees food security of the country while accounting for a huge share of Belarusian exports.” According to the President, the situation in agriculture largely influences the sustainable economic devel-

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million tonnes of grain in a year is quite a real achievable objective opment, which means independence. Mr. Lukashenko accentuated that over the last twenty years the country has covered a way from food tokens and empty counters to an abundance of foodstuffs. Moreover, Belarusian exports of agricultural products are

now estimated at $5 billion. Sovereign Belarus, like no other CIS member state, has established a reliable foundation for the agro-industrial complex. Belarus has powerful enterprises producing tractors, vehicles, farm machines, and fertilisers. These companies meet the domestic demand while actively promoting their goods on the international market. The Head of State said that the achievements of the agricultural industry are obvious. For a number of years, Belarus has been leading the CIS in terms of per capita production of major agricultural products, while being on a par with Ukraine and Kazakhstan in grain production. Moreover, Belarus has approached Germany in terms of meat production and is almost two times ahead of developed European countries in terms of milk production. The relatively small country is in the top five in the world for dairy exports. “Dazhynki is not only a harvest fest but also a chance to talk about the future of our agrarian industry,” noted the President. In his words, the state invests almost $2bn in the agrarian sector every year. The President stressed that in the


Belta

DAZHYNKI-2013

Ceremonial procession of winners

nearest future such support will be targeted, only for agricultural development programmes and quick-yielding investment projects. As is traditional, Mr. Lukashenko awarded winners of the national competition in harvesting grain crops and grain legumes, who occupied first places in 2013. These were awarded passenger cars and money prizes. A wide cultural and entertaining programme was also organized for the participants and guests of the event, whose major event became the concert of masters of arts — Festival Gomel Region — to Rural Workers of the Republic of Belarus. Mr. Lukashenko also took part in festive opening of passenger electric trains movement along the electrified section Osipovichi-Zhlobin. The President was also informed about the completion of the work to electrify this railway section, as well as about plans to electrify other parts of the Belarusian railways until 2020. The implementation of corresponding plans will enhance the transit attractiveness of international transport corridors passing via the territory of B elarus while helping reduce

operating costs and the prime cost of transportation. As far as OsipovichiZhlobin section is concerned, its launch has finished the first stage of implementation of the investment project, which envisages gradual electrification until 2015 of three sections: Zhlobin-Osipovichi, Gomel-Zhlobin and Zhlobin-Kalinkovichi. Mr. Lukashenko also got familiar with beautification and socio-economic development of Zhlobin and Zhlobin District, while visiting newly built facilities in the town. Moreover, the President attended Dneprovskaya Zhemchuzhina (Dnieper River Pearl) hotel complex, which was constructed in record time — within six months. This became possible due to labour intensification and well-coordinated work of the general contractor, subcontractor organisations and designers. The hotel can accommodate 114, also boasting a café, a bowling club, a billiard, a conference hall and a room for business negotiations. The building is a single complex with the Olympic Reserve Centre, located nearby. The President also answered questions from journalists who were keen to learn his opinion regarding

the prospects of development of the Dazhynki Republican Festival. Mr. Lukashenko believes that this holiday could become a tourist brand of Belarus. According to the President, today Dazhynki does welcome guests from abroad but their number is small. “Of course, it would be great if we could make the festival so big as to welcome people from all over the world,” added the President. The Belarusian leader said that visitors always have good impressions about Dazhynki. The President believes that the festival could attract Belarusians living abroad, as well as people of the neighbouring countries, Slavonic states. “In one word, there is a lot to think about. It is worth working in this direction,” summed up the President. Answering the question about agricultural needs for another qualitative step forward the Head of State noted that this branch should become selfsufficient. “Meanwhile, the most important problems for the country as a whole and agriculture in particular is to learn how to trade and sell products at a good price,” believes Mr. Lukashenko.

2013  беларусь.belarus

11


Projects

In search of optimum variant

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he innovations were d i s c u s s e d at t h e session, involving the President, to discuss further improvements to criminal law and criminal procedural law. Amendments and additions to the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Administrative Offences Code, and the Execution Procedures Code on Administrative Offences of the Republic

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of Belarus, prepared upon the infinitive of the Head of State, aim to liberalise and humanise legislation.

Liberalisation to bring benefit The bill contains serious innovations, including the legalisation of certain conditions of business risk, a pre-trial collaboration agreement and the introduction of criminal law redress. Moreover, the draft law decriminalises definite individual actions posing no

Draft law aiming to emancipate business initiative prepared in Belarus threat to the public and contains other essential changes in this sphere. The Press Service of the Belarusian President noted that there are plans to adjust several articles of the Criminal Code in favour of softer punishments and to optimise punishment periods, while introducing alternative kinds of answerability. Alexander Lukashenko stressed, “Undoubtedly, the decision to go through with these norms should be thoroughly discussed. We should be absolutely confident that the optimisation of criminal


FACTS law instruments, as envisaged by the draft, will not lead to impunity for those who have committed actions posing danger to the state, society or our citizens.”

Adequate assessment The President remarked that criminal prosecution bodies should have a set of instruments to fight corruption and other crimes, sufficient to make punishment inevitable. “On the other hand, measures should truly emancipate business initiatives, under conditions of objective entrepreneurial risk. Criminal law should not intimidate economic entities acting strictly within the law and in no way related to criminals,” underlined the President. According to him, it’s vital now to make a precise decision meeting the interests of society and our country. Any amendments to the law, legal acts and legislation as a whole should be purposeful. “We should base our decisions exclusively on real life situations. We must not act too hastily, as we must consider the society in which we live and in which the state is developing. The interests of the state and our people should be at the heart of any change, reform or innovation,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

Nothing venture, nothing have During the session, juridical circles were divided on several issues: in particular, the pre-trial collaboration agreement. The developers of the document suggest introducing the notions of economic and business risk but it’s important to achieve a balance here, to rule out official crimes and corruption. Several articles within the bill envisage fines instead of imprisonment and specify conditions for pledges. The innovations should allow courts to take a more flexible approach to punishment, judging suitable consequences for each case individually. The draft law will be submitted to Parliament for discussion with representatives of juridical circles.

Life in household dimension

live in two or three roomed premises, with every seventh household consisting of four, or more, rooms. More than 90 percent of town houses have central heating, water pipes, sewerage, hot water and a bath or shower. However, these blessings On average, each Belarusian family has of civilisation are still not available for 60 square metres of habitation everyone across the country. According to the inspection, the c c ord i ng to d at a f rom the National Statistical majority of households (72 percent) Committee, following the appeared to be satisfied with their living results of the selective inspec- conditions. 19 percent were dissatistion of households on the standard of fied, and 9 percent were absolutely living in 2013, the majority of Belarusian dissatisfied. Among the latter group, 32 citizens, around 64 percent, live in percent of those stated the insufseparate apartments, ficient living space as 31 percent of the main cause families live of dissatin private isfaction. Separate Houses houses and 3 1 p e rc e nt apartments about 5 mentioned % p e rc e nt of the absence Hostels or rented o f s e p a r at e hous eholds accommodation habitation and live in hostels or rented accom21 percent, the modation. absence of amenities. Obviously these figures The results of this invesThe majority differ depending on the area. of Belarusian tigation have shown that 42 In cities and urban settlements, citizens, around percent of households which 77 percent of households live in were dissatisfied with living 64 percent, apartments, 15 percent live in live in separate conditions will be improving them in the future. Among private houses, 5 percent live in apartments, hostels and 2 percent rent their city households this indicator 31 percent homes, whereas in rural settle- of families live rose to 47 percent, and among ments, 70 percent of households in private houses rural areas, 30 percent. live in private dwellings. This means that almost 62 and about According to the statistics, percent of respondents plan 5 percent an average household has 60 of households to construct an apartment square metres of living space. In live in hostels or or house, more than 13 Minsk however, a family more rented accom- percent will be moving into often lives in a 55 square metres modation more comfortable accomproperty. The residents of the modation and 19 percent, to Grodno Region, where the average improve their living conditions and space available to the owners is 63 square to make major repairs or reconstruct metres, feel more comfortable. This the premises. Apart from this, about 5 indicator is higher still in villages and percent of Belarusians expect to come settlements. There, each household has into money or to receive social housing, 67 square metres on average. and thus to improve their living condiRegarding the number of occupied tions in that way. rooms, more than 70 percent of families By Maria Dmitrovskaya

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64 % 31 % 5

By Yevgeny Vasiliev

2013  беларусь.belarus

13


On a wave of investment

New

outlines for Polesie

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he project was presented in May at the Gomel economic forum, and at once caused a wave of investment interest. The idea is to develop Polesie’s, deposit rich, land. And this is not just a theoretical supposition, but a concrete project, with a solid business plan. This initiative has been considered over the last few decades. Even in the 70s, no decision was made whilst scientists were investigating Lelchitsy area's deposits, as well as the four Polesie regions adjoining it: Yelsk, Zhitkovichi, Mozyr and Petrikov. The West area of Gomel appears to be filled with minerals. Today, this region is known as the Belarusian Ruhr, because of its similarity with German region, rich in natural resources, one of the most successful investment platforms of Europe. Just what is concealed deep under the surface of Polesie? Firstly, there are fuel and energy resources, in the form of brown coal, shale and peat. There is no need to explain how these will benefit the Republic economy. Industrial reserves of brown coal in the Zhitkovichi and Petrikov districts, where the general reserves make about 100 million cubic metres, have been thoroughly

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prospected. Deposits of brown coal at Tonezhy and Lelchitsy deposits in the north are preliminary prospected. The general preliminary reserves here make more than 150 million tonnes, while predicted reserves would increase this to more than 250 million tonnes. On the basis of these two deposits it is possible that open-pit coal mines, with

General reserves of brown coal at Tonezhy and Lelchitsy deposits make more than 150 million tonnes, while predicted reserves — more than

250 million tonnes

capacity up to 4 million tonnes per year, could be constructed, along with power stations and the manufacture of humic fertilisers. Large deposits of combustible shale are located in the central part of the region, around Turov. Its general

Creation of the first Polesie-Lelchitsy Regional Industrial Park in the Gomel Region is likely to become a reality reserves exceed 2.7 billion tonnes. Combustible shale can be considered energy feedstock, and also as a large potential feedstock base for the development of the chemical industry and the manufacture of construction materials. The construction of a power technological complex, manufacturing shale oil, gaseous fuel and chemical production is planned at the deposit. A power station could also be constructed at this location. No less impressive are the volumes of reserves of other minerals. For example, deposits of rock salt in the Mozyr District have great potential. It is planned to construct a soda ash manufacturing plant here. Exploratory work has already been carried out, and now only a strategic investor is needed. These places are rich in construction materials. In the territory of Lelchitsy District, the workers explore the deposit of granite in Glushkevichi, which borders Ukraine. A deposit of granite at the Nadezhda opencast mine is offered for exploration. The feedstocks possess rare and unique aesthetic properties, opening up the potential for the creation of enterprises that manufacture finished materials made from natural stone. The deposits of sapropels, used as phosphate-containing fertilisers, at


On a wave of investment

In the territory of Lelchitsy District, the deposit of granite is actively explored

Chervonoe Lake, have been already explored. The construction of an initiative producing phosphate-containing sapropelic fertilisers in the Petrikov District is also expected. A complex exploration project of sapropel deposits in Lelchitsy District is planned. The work in will be conducted in several directions: The manufacture of peat and sapropel based granulated fertilisers, the production of peat fuel granules, the manufacture of potassium humate and the production of biologically active, vitaminised fodder additives. And these are only the main features of the potential of the Polesie area. This part of the country contains reserves of brown coal, peat, combustible shale, granite, bentonite clay, sapropel and other natural minerals which can’t be found in the other corners of Belarus. However, there are also rare feedstocks: beryllium, zirconium, high-mineralised industrial solutions, and thermal waters. All of these are really in demand in the building, agriculture, metallurgy, chemical and perfumery industries as well as in instrument making, nuclear, aviation and the space industry. According to economists, one important factor is the fact that they can be used at the enterprises which already operate in the Republic. In Lelchitsy

District, for example, deposits of bentonite clay exist, and these feedstocks already ‘work’ in the metallurgy industry where they are used in the manufacture of heat insulation and hydraulic insulation materials. The implementation of the conceived investment projects will undoubtedly require enormous financial investment, especially in the fuel and energy spheres. Therefore, local authorities have begun to actively work attracting investors. Their representative informed me that part of the projects is already being realised, and that there are a lot of those who want to invest in the exploration of building materials deposits. But this is not everything. An important direction of the development of the Gomel’s Polesie-Lelchitsy Industrial Park is tourism. The natural resource potential of this region is unique. The Pripyatsky National Park, the Zhitkovichi Wildlife Reserve, Srednyaya Pripyat Reserve, Mozyrskie Ovragi (Mozyr Hills) and Strelsky reserves, and Pontic Azalea Plantation natural monument are located here. Today the popular destination for ecological and sports tourism is the landscape of the Mozyr Ravines Wildlife Preserve which, since 2006, a mountain-skiing complex has been operating. Also ecological

tourism, offered by the Pripyatsky National Park, is in high demand. The historical and cultural heritage of the region includes 167 architectural monuments, natural and human history and archaeology. Recreation territories are represented by nine different zones. The unique environment and the historical and cultural heritage of this territory suggest that historical and cultural, ecological, recreational, sports and hunting tourism development should be undertaken. In order to take advantage of this potential to its maximum extent, the industrial park project also proposes the construction of a railway in Polesie. This 121 kilometre long ‘branch’ would eventually connect the whole region with the rest of the country and would facilitate the extraction of deposits, construction and the transportation of cargo. The construction of a GlushkovichiLelchitsy-Mikhalki railway line is a key factor of the Gomel Industrial Park. There is a big job ahead to create the Polesie-Lelchitsy Park — the largest investment platform in Belarus. It will take years to achieve the first really tangible results, but one thing is sure: the near future of the whole region is being developed in Polesie now. By Violetta Dralyuk

2013  беларусь.belarus

15


INVENTION

Test of Antarctica Unique device was created at the Belarusian State University

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he main atmospheric pollutant, toxic orange-brown nitrogen dioxide g a s , c o mp r i s e s up to 8 percent of all pollutants emitted into the air by transport and industry. However, in its strength of toxic influence and active participation in photochemical reactions it significantly outstrips all other pollutants — all put together. It may seem to be present in small concentrations but it plays a key role in forming harmful acid rain, reducing the planet’s ozone layer. It has been a few years since the leading countries of the world organised a special network monitoring nitrogen dioxide, using fixed spectral apparatus, and continuously publishing the results. Sadly, Belarus appears as a black spot regarding such data; despite daily observations being carried out since 2010,

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INVENTION This is how NOAA satellite observes global distribution of nitrogen dioxide across the planet. Yellow and orange-brown colours indicate its high concentration we lack regular communication with foreign scientists, and the equipment used by Belarusian physicists does not fully meet international requirements. The situation is soon to change, thanks to new and original spectral apparatus for monitoring nitrogen dioxide created by the National Research Centre for ozone monitoring and the Belarusian State University, with support from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The all-weather spectral module has an NO2 meter, with a multilevel input system for radiation; undergoing international calibration in Germany, at the Chemical Institute of Max Planck, it has been given a certificate of compliance with international standards and will soon return to Minsk. “However, before the spectral module can be used to monitor the atmosphere in Belarus, it will be tested in Antarctica,” says Ilya Bruchkovsky, the device developer: a junior researcher at the National Research Centre of Ozonosphere monitoring and a postgraduate of the Physics Department of the Belarusian State University. “I’ll go there in November of this year as a member of the Belarusian expedition and I hope that it will help to clarify the picture of the distribution of nitrogen dioxide over this continent. There’s a peculiar distribution of atmospheric layers, temperature and pressure there; in our atmospheric layers, due to temperature and pressure; we expect to learn how all this affects the

object of our interest. Such equipment will be used in Antarctica for the first time, and it gives our mission particular importance. Unlike LIDAR — laser radar, collecting information on the composition of the atmosphere through reflected pulses —which requires a cloudless sky, our spectral module is a passive remote sensing device, able to operate in almost any weather. It registers the spectral brightness of areas of the sky, by directing its lens and singling out specific signals. It calculates the distribution of nitrogen dioxide throughout the height of the sky with high precision, as multiple measurements are performed at different elevations of the telescope. It is most sensitive in the lower atmosphere — up to 5-6km — where most nitrogen dioxide is concentrated; at dusk, it can carry out measurements in the higher layers of the troposphere. Unlike its foreign counterparts, the Belarusian device has no need of a fibre optic light guide, where the signal is delivered from a receiver to a spectrograph. This is advantageous, since this method can significantly reduce ‘noise’ levels and allow measurements to be taken more quickly. In addition, as the optical fibres used by foreign devices absorb some of the ultraviolet area of the spectrum, they cannot fully determine the level of trace gases in the ultraviolet area. The BSU device has no such drawback, allowing full monitoring on the ozone layer and its levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Before sending their spectral module to Germany, the BSU scientists conducted a trial, measuring levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air over Minsk and near Lake Naroch. In fact, concentrations over the Belarusian capital are five times higher than at Lake Naroch. Although we cannot smell this concentration, we tend to feel that urban air lacks freshness. “It’s vital to measure nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere across various regions of the country, as this gas is short-lived, converting quickly into other chemical compounds. Some aerosol gases then attach to these, so the information we capture is mostly of local origin,” emphasises Alexander Krasovsky, a leading researcher at the National Research Centre of Ozonosphere Monitoring, and candidate of physical and mathematical sciences. “It is possible not only to measure pollution, but to take measures against the emission source, which can be easily determined by the spectral method on a loop in the atmosphere.” Ilya Bruchkovsky notes, “Using this method, we can determine the transmutation products of nitrogen dioxide over large areas, modelling how it will spread over countries and continents. After the mission to the Antarctic (allowing us to trial our device, look at results and make improvements) we’ll probably try to join the European Network of Nitrogen Dioxide Monitoring in the Atmosphere. We’re able to manufacture the necessary devices ourselves, if funds are allocated — at least for the purchase of spare parts.” By Dmitry Potolichev

2013  беларусь.belarus

17


FESTIVALS

Owing to the international ecological project, a festival devoted to cranes and cranberries is being prepared in Belarus

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visitor centre has recently opened at the Yelnya Reserve in Vitebsk Region’s Miory. Yel ny a is among t he largest upland swamps in Belarus and Europe. From now on, any tourist, including those from abroad, will be able to find information on the res er ve’s animals and birds. It’s also possible to hire bicycles or skis (depending on the

time of years) to see the local sights. Binoculars are also available if someone wishes to observe the grey cranes. In late September, thousands of these majestic birds, migrating to warmer places, stop over in Yelnya to rest before continuing their long route. The site is also notorious for its cranberries which grow in large quantities and are harvested in September as well. Accordingly, these birds and berries have become the key focus of the Cranes and Cranberries of Miory District ecological festival, organised with support from the EU and UNDP for the second time.

Extreme swamp crossing on foot In the past, the newly launched visitor centre was managed by the Yelnya state nature-protective establishment. With help from European partners, the building was revamped and now enjoys modern equipment, such as bright, interactive maps on the walls and QR-codes. If an advanced visitor has a smartphone, they’d easily find any additional information on the Internet. T h e s upp or t i ng EU / UN DP proj e c t , e nt it l e d Contribution to the Development of Universal Structure of International Co-operation in the Field of Environmental Protection in Belarus has a budget of over 5,150,000 Euros. It envisages the development of a caring attitude to nature amongst children and, with this in mind, the centre is equipped with ‘e-teachers’ who are there to help young visitors learn more, using playing and games. Such training is vital for the network development of so-called Green Schools, which already operate in the Miory and Sharkovshchina districts, as well as the Brest Region’s Kobrin District and Grodno Region’s Mosty District. Apart from this, Yelnya’s Director, Ivan Borok, believes that the EU/UNDP project has created a wonderful base for tourism development in the reserve, “We were aided in buying bicycles, binoculars, telescopes, skis, a

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FESTIVALS cross-country vehicle and other equipment. We’ve also invented an exclusive amusement — crossing the swamp with galoshes on accompanied by a reser ve s p e c i a l i s t . T h i s f o ot w e a r is usually worn during the winter to walk over snow slush. However, galoshes are fine for boggy grounds in the summer period.”

Bird kingdom A recently harvested maize field is located close to the Yelnya swamp. Here, grey cranes arrive to eat any uncollected corn and ears. Olga Lukshits, from APB-Birdlife Belarus Public Association, is among the festival’s organisers. She tells us about the cranes’ habits, “At 1m 40 cm, grey cranes are known as Belarus’ tallest birds. They rest at the swamp as they feel safe here, amidst the lakes and mire. While eating on the field, they are unlikely to let people come closer than 500m. Accordingly, to take artistic shots, professional photographers make hides or shelters where they can stay without moving. Local residents might also bait birds close to their houses, but this happens rarely. It’s more convenient for tourists to observe the birds through binoculars or telescopes.” On setting the resolution of my Carl Zeiss telescope to 50x magnification, a fabulous picture appeared before me. Grey cranes were majestically walking along the field, these ‘parents’ were accompanied by their brown ‘children’. There were several hundred of them, which was impressive. Some were also flying overhead. That was a true bird kingdom! After the excursion, Ms. Lukshits informed us that a record number of grey cranes, around 7,000, had come to Yelnya this year. However, just two dozen couples have their nested in the reserve.

Calling card The town of Miory is situated on the half-island of Miorskoe Lake. Its residents and numerous guests were anticipating the Cranes and Cranberries Festival, which brought together berry collectors from all over the district, all wishing to demonstrate their rich harvests. Moreover, original cranberry recipes were presented, such as a refreshing drink. Valentina Buyonok, from Zautie, makes it especially tasty. The woman brought the largest berries to the festival. Valery Blazhevich, from Povyatie, cooked a shashlik with cranberry infusion. The food on offer was truly rich, with its guests enjoying the pies, pancakes, rolls and even traditional Belarusian draniki (potato pancakes), all filled with cranberries.

Frederick Kune, who is responsible for projects and programmes of the EU Office in Belarus, also attended the holiday. He admitted that, until the event, he knew of cranberries from sauces only and Mior y was the only place he’d tasted ‘live’ berries. “This festival is a wonderful possibility for Europeans to get more closely a c q u a i nt a n c e w it h Belarus, its people, traditions and nature. Europe lacks large swamps while, in recent times, many Europeans have focused on ecological tourism. I think they’d love to observe the Yelnya birds and take part in your holiday. Speaking openly, I love the event greatly. The European Union has been supporting it for two years, and I believe its co-operation with Belarus’ Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection in this area will continue,” he said. While Mr. Kune joined the Chairman of the Miory District Executive Committee, Igor Kuznetsov, in summing up the EU ecological project’s results, Sanaka Samarasinha, from the UNDP Office in Belarus, shared plans on future contacts. According to the official, Latvia is supposed to join the member states next year. Dagnija Lāce-Ate, the Head of the Consulate of Latvia in Vitebsk, commented on the Latvians’ possible interest in the festival, “The Nature of our two neighbouring states has much in common, being truly fragile and needing care. We should jointly preserve it and show to others that we are proud of its beauty. Moreover, the Miory District and our Latgalia are members of the simplified border movement, and I think the Cranes and Cranberries festival would enhance its activity. We’ve already sent all related information on the event to Latvian tour operators.” The Yelnya Reserve’s material base is improving and, as a result, the number of visiting tourists has tripled this year, compared with 2012. The nature reserve staff are now constructing a 1.5km ecological swamp path, complete with billboards and observation points. In the near future, homes will welcome their first guests, offering overnight stays. Belarusian tourist companies already bring Russian eco-tourists to the reserve and all the necessary information on Yelnya is available at www.zakazniki.priroda-vitebsk.by. A Facebook page will soon be launched as well. These measures give us assurance that, next time, the Cranes and Cranberries festival will attract many more guests. By Sergey Golesnik

2013  беларусь.belarus

19


Mainland of the nation

Irkutsk’s Klondike of Oleg Rudakov After leaving his Fatherland, Oleg Rudakov, born in the Polotsk District, became even closer to it and found Belarusian treasures in the Baikal Lake area together with his like-minded people

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Plenipotentiary Representative for Religions and Nationalities, has invited the fellow countryman to Minsk. He congratulated him on the high award and praised him for his ability to work with people. Mr. Gulyako added that he also works with pleasure and with soul for the benefit of Belarus. The guest then explained why Belarusians unite abroad, “A person, torn from the Homeland, gradually forgets language, traditions and culture… Z hdanovich

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ack in late 1990s, an open person appeared in the editorial office of the Belarus magazine with a ‘Malanka’ (Lightning) in his hands. Of course, he didn’t resemble much ancient Zeus or Perun [The God of thunder and lightning among ancient pagan Slavs], yet had a ‘Lightning’ in his hands. It was a newspaper which continues to be published in the Irkutsk Association of Belarusian Culture (named after Yan Chersky). The printed chronicle of the society is monthly delivered to hundreds of addresses. When visiting Belarus, Mr. Rudakov told us that he has founded the Belarusian movement in the Baikal Lake area. He said that Belarusian villages have existed there since ancient times, where the Belarusian language and songs have been heard. Therefore, there’s much work to do. At present, former military man Oleg Rudakov is one of the famous leaders of Belarusian communities abroad. His Fatherland has also assessed Rudakov’s enthusiastic work and, three years ago, he, alongside our contemporaries Nina Kabanova from Novosibirsk and Sergey Kandybovich from Moscow, were awarded Frantsisk Skorina medals. This news appeared in media when Mr. Rudakov was in Moscow, taking part in the work of the 4th Congress of the Federal National and Cultural Autonomy — Belarusians of Russia — as a head of the editorial commission. In total, he rarely visits his homeland: the distance between Moscow and Irkutsk is almost 5,000km. Leonid Gulyako,

I van

Enthusiast with ‘Malanka’

Meanwhile, we create communities in order to preserve the connection with the Fatherland and the Belarusian family.” At that time, Mr. Rudakov was awarded cembalo — a wonderful gift for the Irkutsk community — in the office of the Plenipotentiary Representative. However, during a session at the Belarusian Embassy in Russia, where we met, Oleg joked that ‘cembalo is still waiting for its time, since cembalo players haven’t grown in Irkutsk yet’. Preparing my notes, I listened to the recording of his small speech at the Embassy. He made four proposals and each of these


Mainland of the nation was worth attention. First of all, he proposed to pay more attention to the Belarusian youth movement in Russia. The Irkutsk area, which has a youth and children’s clubs, as well as many circles, may share such experience. Mr. Rudakov also remembered young duda player Dmitry Krechet from Krasnoyarsk, who’s managed to learn playing this difficult instrument himself. This testifies to the fact that there’re many talents in those communities. Moreover, Mr. Rudakov also proposed to organise in Moscow the 1st congress of Belarusian youth from various regions. “It will be a reason to get acquainted, to share experience and to elaborate major areas of activity,” he said, speaking in favour of his proposal. “After the official part a great concert can be held the next day, supporting young talents.” Another proposal dealt with international scientific conference on Stolypin reform. It’s known that a hundred years ago in the Russian Empire it was the time of the most mass resettlement of Belarusians to Siberia, with 1.5m our fellow countrymen forever leaving their native places and settling in the Siberia. “The first conference was organised in December 2010 by Belarusians in Irkutsk very successfully; the event featured over 60 participants and 34 reports,” recollected Mr. Rudakov. “Researchers from Minsk, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Irkutsk and the Irkutsk Region attended the event, and we now need continuation. We have a wish to organise the second conference, since that resettlement had global consequences for the nation. However, we won’t be able to organise the event at the decent level alone. Therefore, I address other communities, including the Moscow society: let’s jointly learn the lessons of the past for the sake of the future of our Fatherland.” Mr. Rudakov hopes that they will be able to hold the conference in Moscow. Later, people also spoke behind the curtains about Minsk and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Actually, the problem achieves such a big level: this is the great resettlement of socially active, employable and significant part of the native nation — almost a biblical ‘exodus’. The third proposal continued the proposal of Nina Kabanova, the Head of the Novosibirsk Centre of Belarusian Culture, who was telling about wonderful masters in the region. “We have many people who renew Belarusian crafts,” noted our fellow countryman. “We support talents and develop the ‘Belaruskaya Khata’ (Belarusian House) museum which is functioning in our community. We’ll register a shop in order to produce and sell souvenirs, made from flax and straw. Ms. Karnitskaya, e.g., crates amazing flowers from straw. When customers sometimes spare money I often joke that a usual flower will stand 2-3 days or a week at the most, while I guarantee that ours will stand 20 years. Therefore, I propose to establish a union or an association of Belarusian craftsmen in Russia. Ties between them will be for the benefit of Belarus.” Moreover, Mr. Rudakov asked the Embassy to promote establishing twin city ties between Irkutsk and Vitebsk, and the Irkutsk Association of Belarusian Culture (named after Yan Chersky) is also keen on this. Page

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The researcher of Siberia Yan Chersky is known to be born in the Vitebsk Region (Svolna estate, now Verkhnedvinsk District). When he lived in exile in the Baikal Lake area for taking part in the liberation uprising of 1863 he fruitfully worked as a scientist and died in 1892 during an expedition at the Kolyma River (where now Chersky settlement is located). The proposals, voiced in Moscow, evidently demonstrate Mr. Rudakov’s large-scale plans and desires to jointly promote the projects, which are worked over by the community in Irkutsk. Meanwhile, Oleg and his like-minded persons have to do much in order to find money for renting of buildings and organisations of performances. We spoke about this with him last autumn in Minsk. At that time, I didn’t directly ask him — tired by the trips — one question: why was he attracted to the Fatherland? It’s not a secret that only singles out of hundreds of our fellow countrymen, who live abroad, have connection to Diaspora affairs. Though more than 3m Belarusians now live abroad, the processes of assimilation and globalisation inexorably ‘undermine’ the mainland of the nation.

Three hundred thousand and each third in the Baikal Lake area

J

ust imagine that either frying pan or potato with onion are absent today… In mean that distinctive Belarusian words have gone out of use. Although ‘draniki’ are still cooked, yet these are more often called ‘potato pancakes’. Undoubtedly, this is the language that keeps in harmony the whole ‘tree of culture’ and assists descendants to establish spiritual ties with their ancestors while building their own national future. Officer Oleg Rudakov sharply felt the importance of preserving the treasure of the native language and living in its life-giving stream when he served in the Baikal Lake area after finishing the military college in 1989. In his desire to ‘speak only Belarusian whomever he talks to in Belarus’ we can easily guess his aspiration to be as close to his nation through the language as possible, even living in the remote Siberian area. Moreover, his family roots have deeply grown into his native land. He added to his sketch: ‘Son Alexey is a fifth year student at the Polotsk State University. My mother is now alone in the village; my elder brother and younger sister, who reside in Polotsk, visit her and my son also sometimes visits his grandmother’. How do our countrymen in Irkutsk create the ‘Belarusian aura’? Mr. Rudakov interestingly spoke about this at this year’s 6th Congress of Belarusians of the World. He started originally, wishing delegates and guests to be as healthy ‘as a bear’, to be confident and persistent ‘as an auroch’, to be noble ‘as a stork’, to be spiritually strong ‘as an oak’ and to sincerely love ‘as a true Belarusian’. Thus earning the audience’s hearts, a reporter from Irkutsk said that during one of his ethnographic trips along Belarusian villages in Siberia he wished old people ‘Siberian health’. However, they

2013  беларусь.belarus

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Mainland of the nation

21

asked him where he saw the Siberian health, as everyone is ill: either with flu or something else. These Belarusians told him that previously people were wished to be healthy ‘as a bear’. Mr. Rudakov agreed, since the bear is really strong and healthy… He believes that together with the revival of simple Belarusian household traditions, it’s vital to live in the stream of ‘belonging towards Belarus’ in order not to turn one’s own native land into a desolated wilderness under the attack of globalisation. He spoke about 17 year experience of the development of Belarusian patriotism in Irkutsk. His speech was sharp, figurative and full of bright details. Mr. Rudakov also recollected how the Governor of the Irkutsk Region was fixing the Frantsisk Skorina Medal to him is a solemn atmosphere. Moreover, he added that it was the first time he was bestowing an award of another state while local television ‘promoted’ the regional leader of Belarusians ‘as an honourable and respected citizen of the Irkutsk Region’. Finally, other countries encourage activists of ethnocommunities of the Baikal Lake area not only with medals. Mr. Rudakov also recollected a paradoxical expression of a Belarusian woman: ‘It’s more beneficial in Irkutsk to be a Pole while it’s more interesting to attend Belarusian holidays!’ He also mentioned the figure which was voiced at the scientific conference: during the Stolypin reform around 3m people, with half of these being Belarusians, have moved to Siberia (from Tyumen to Baikal Lake). Around 300,000 people have settled in the Baikal Lake area. At present, according to statistical data, around 16,000 our fellow countrymen currently reside there; however, Mr. Rudakov believes that this figure is significantly reduced. He said that, in 2010, census takers simply didn’t reach the residents of the Belarusian village of Turgenevka in the Bayandai District. Meanwhile, it has a Belarusian society, two folklore bands and a children’s puppet theatre… In total, Mr. Rudakov is confident that almost each third resident in the Baikal Lake area has Belarusian roots, “Undoubtedly, there’re lots of mixed marriages, so nowadays the nationality in Siberia is more awareness of the person and the devotion of their soul rather than blood belonging.” As we see the Irkutsk Region has a real ‘Klondike’ for those who study Belarusian culture. However, it’s not easy to identify these grains of gold there under the cover of time. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important that, over 17 years of the existence the Irkutsk Association of Belarusian Culture, Belarusians have reliably ‘cemented their territory’ in civil consciousness. ���At present, any official would name Belarusians if they are asked about the nations of the Baikal Lake area,” noted Mr. Rudakov. “This is because we’re conducting an active work in Irkutsk.

Page

People listen to us and write about us; moreover, local and allRussian TV channels prepare news about us.” We have so much interesting performances that it sometimes seems to ordinary people that a whole state institution is functioning rather than merely enthusiasts.”

Six Irkutsk components of success

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t’s known that active work of the community enhances self-appraisal of people from the Belarusian Diaspora in the Baikal Lake area, as well as their national patriotism. Remarkably, Belarusians and their descendants, who were born in Siberia in the sixth generation, still find their family roots in our lands. Siberia-born members of the group " Kryvichy", which also took part in the congress and performed at the concert, sing in the Belarusian language. Mr. Rudakov accentuated that this is only one of 17 groups of the Irkutsk Association of Belarusian Culture. “How only we manage to conduct worthily represent Belarusian movement on the civil initiative and organise 3-4 or even more events monthly?” asked the reporter and answered himself, “There’re no secrets. Everything is simply and Belarusians of the Baikal Lake area have awakened and they are now proud of their nation.” However, how was this ‘foundation’ created in Irkutsk? Mr. Rudakov is pleased to share experience, as if everything was done without any exertion. Firstly, enthusiasts are inspired by ‘live, beautiful and bright folk traditions. We study, revive and organise our national holidays and get-together events. It’s interesting for youngsters. Our traditional holidays of Kupalie and Kolyady have aroused interest among many Irkutsk residents to search for their roots. Sometimes, over 300 people attend our Kupalie holiday. After each such celebration the community acquires a new member who is keen to find their roots’. Secondly, the society thoroughly studies historical legacy of Belarusians. “The nation can feel dignified itself only when people know their history and their prominent heroes. Genuine history inspires and gives wings. However, sometimes it’s necessary to struggle for such history.” Unfortunately, all rebels of 1863 are stereotypically called Poles in Irkutsk: Chersky, Vitkovsky, etc. According to Mr. Rudakov, the history of Belarusians — Russians brotherly neighbours — isn’t studied even at the History Department of the Irkutsk State University. Third ‘recipe’ for the awakening of the national awareness is interaction which adds some curiosity to activists. “We teach primarily boys and girls to sing folk songs and dance ancient dances. Even I can personally conduct a master class in folk

During the Stolypin reform around 3m people, with half of these being Belarusians, have moved to Siberia (from Tyumen to Baikal Lake). Around

300 thousand people have settled in the Baikal Lake area

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беларусь.belarus  2013


Mainland of the nation Belarusian dances. Interactive events also enthral old people and these watch with tears in their eyes how we dance their ‘old’ dances or sing songs.” Fourthly, fashion for national costumes has been established in Irkutsk. “All activists of the association try to create their own costume and do this in line with Belarusian traditions. In this way we further on develop traditional crafts and there’s a range of unique masters in Irkutsk. Twice or thrice a year we conduct Belarusian Crafts Live in the Baikal Lake Area exhibitions.” The fifth condition for success is that Belarusian contribution into the Siberian exploration is actively studied in Irkutsk. Meanwhile, not everyone is aware that our ancestors have brought to Siberia flax, potato (Adreta variety), rye and other agricultural crops. Even strawberries were brought here in the Soviet time by our fellow countryman while a Strawberry Fest is organised in Baikalsk. Moreover, many Belarusians used to work at the construction of the Eastern-Siberian and BaikalAmur mainlines and various hydroelectric power stations. Finally, the sixth component for success is educational projects, which include studying of the language, the release of the ‘Malanka’ newspaper and others. As we see, the community

has managed to find and creatively apply those instruments which inspire Irkutsk residents to find their Belarusian roots and join the work of the association. Meanwhile, at the congress in Minsk Mr. Rudakov performed not as a head of the association, but as a friend of the Irkutsk Association of Belarusian Culture’s Regional Council. Recently, talented singer and craftswoman Alena Spivakova adopted the leadership of the ‘Belarusian movement’ in the Baikal Lake area. However, Mr. Rudakov doesn’t go away from the community’s activities; he is rather going to ‘dig deeper’ while researching the traditions of his countrymen in the region. In particular, he is allured by ethnographic expeditions to the Belarusian villages of the Baikal Lake area and we shouldn’t doubt that the finder of Belarusian treasures will make enough interesting discoveries. By Ivan Zhdanovich

Oleg Rudakov, Belarusian folk group "Kryvichy" and a local girl near sacral Buryat mount Yerl

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CHALLENGER

Ace in heavy Belta

weight Zhodino giant heavy-duty dump truck may enter Guinness Book of Records

“T

he Belarusian Automobile Works has developed the world’s largest heavy-duty dump truck, boasting a load capacity of 450 tonnes. The enterprise is the first among other world manufacturers of quarry machinery to produce such a vehicle,” notes a press conference in Minsk Leonid Trukhanov, Chief Designer of Mining Vehicles. BelAZ-75710 heavy-duty dump truck with the load capacity of 450 tonnes is designed to transport mined rock in deep open pits and opencast mining sites, under various climatic conditions with the air temperature varying from -50C to +50C. The vehicle is powered

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by two diesel engines and its aggregate weight is 810 tonnes. The vehicle’s top speed is 64kmh. Before this, the greatest load capacity of the BelAZ heavy-duty dump truck amounted to 360 tonnes. According to Piotr Parkhomchik, Director of BelAZ — Management Company of BelAZ-Holding, the model, developed and released this year, is unrivalled worldwide. “The new heavy-duty dump truck boasts 25 percent higher efficiency (compared to existing foreign rivals) and was created through applying original innovation solutions and introduction of the latest developments into the systems of mounting, steering and electromechanical transmission.” Moreover, Canadian Syncrude has already taken interest in new heavy-duty dump truck — BelAZ-75710 — with 450 tonne load capacity. It was mentioned during the press conference that the famous Belarusian enterprise is currently actively mastering foreign markets. Till the end of the year, BelAZ will have supplied 20 heavy-duty dump trucks to Indonesia. Last year, first five heavy-duty dump trucks were

delivered there, boasting a load capacity of 45 tonnes each. Moreover, at present, Australia is becoming the world’s largest consumer of mining machinery, together with Russia, which imports most of BelAZ’s produce. This year, BelAZ took part in two exhibitions, held in Australia: in February, Newcastle hosted a large-scale presentation of BelAZ-75315 (240 tonne load capacity) and BelAZ-75603 (360 tonne load capacity). In August, the Belarusian company took part in the Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition — AIMEX-2013, hosted by Sydney, resulting in preliminary agreements on the purchase of the Belarusian machinery by some Australian companies. At present, negotiations are underway on the supply of heavy-duty dump trucks to Latin American countries in 20132014: Chile, Columbia and Brazil. The contract has been signed for the supply of 220 tonne load capacity heavy-duty dump trucks to the SAR and BelAZ has also won the tender for the supply of its goods to Serbia. By Andrey Smirnov


Soyuz  A friend in need is a friend indeed

Belarusians took a natural disaster, which affected Russia’s Amur Region, to heart and, following President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision, rendered free emergency aid

I

nitially, much needed products, i n c lu d i n g 4 3 t on n e s of c h i l -

Belarus — Russia

dren’s canned food from the Orsha Canned Meat Factory, were delivered by a B el ar us i an I l - 7 6 pl ane to Blagoveshchensk, accompanied by a delegation headed by the Deputy Emergenc y Minister, Alexander Goncharov, with an aim of studying the needs of those in trouble. Later, 50 tonnes of Belarusian canned meat was sent to the Amur Region, in addition to 1,000 tonnes of Belarusian potatoes. Belarus is now ready to take part in restoring the affected territories.

 Company of three A joint transport-logistical company will be established by late 2013 by the Belarusian, Russian and Kazakh railways, to efficiently use the Single Economic Space’s transit potential

I

n the past, a shipper needed to conclude an agreement with a forwarding agency which, in turn, had to sign an agreement with each of the Customs Union’s railway administrations. However, this new company, headquartered in Minsk, will organise these issues. A basic principle of this new establishment is already agreed.

 Joint efforts win During a recent meeting, the heads of the Mogilev and Bryansk regions agreed on shifting from just commodity exchange to the establishment of joint ventures

O

ne of them is the assembly of Mogilev’s Liftmash lifts in the Bryansk Region and, by the end of 2013, around 100 cabins will be produced, which are badly needed by the Bryansk Region’s communal services. Another large scale project envisages the establishment of a joint facility to produce up to 40,000 tonnes of railway and large size casting, which will be further used by our industrial giant, the Belarusian Automobile Works. As soon as this facility comes into operation, imports of large size castings from Ukraine and China will stop. In addition, Mogilev and Bryansk industrialists plan to set up a plant for the joint production of steel and composite-girder bridges.

 With a hockey stick and notebook In spring 2014, Minsk will host the World Ice Hockey Championships, and the Union State Spartakiad for Children and Young People has become a kind of prelude for the forthcoming event

I

ts third round was hosted at Molodechno’s Ice Palace. The competition was devoted to ice hockey and attracted a group of Russian journalists (who came mostly from the regions). The guests were able to learn about Minsk’s preparations for the championship and also visited the Minsk-Arena and Chizhovka-Arena sports complexes. They toured Minsk, enjoying its sights and also shared training sessions with the Belarusian participants. The three-day media tour was organised by the Union State’s Standing Committee.

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магчымасці Co-operation

Belta

Tested through practice: the shield is reliable Belarusian and Russian firing ranges host joint strategic exercise — Zapad-2013

T

he Union State borders are reliably protected, with the joint defence system working consistently, capable of efficiently solving the tasks of ensuring national and regional security. This was confirmed during Zapad-2013 (West-2013), the strategic exercise of the armed forces of Belarus and Russia. Manoeuvres lasted for a week — from September 20th-26th — and were hosted by six Belarusian firing ranges and in the Kaliningrad Region of Russia. The figures are really impressive: almost 13,000 soldiers (including 2,500 Russians), 350 armoured vehicles,

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including 70 tanks, over 50 artillery units and MLRS, as well as over 50 aircraft and helicopters. Around 10,000 people were engaged in the war games on the Russian territory, alongside Air Force squadrons and marine groups. The task of such exercises, which are organised every two years, is to maintain the strategic battle worthiness of troops, aiming to defend the Union State while enhancing their team play and training levels. They also enable commanders and headquarters to plan military events dealing with the stabilization of situations, and troop management through the many tactical scenarios that were developed during the exercises. The idea of the Zapad-2013 exercise was that extremist groups and armed terrorists find their way onto the territory of a conventional country, aiming to organise terrorist acts. BelarusianRussian forces had to detect the enemy, block and eliminate the threat. Working as a single team, along with border guards

at the Brest firing range, they attempted to prevent the breakthrough of conventional enemies across the border, aiming to seize an important state site — a gas distributing station. The presidents of Belarus and Russia, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, observed the deploying ‘combat operations’ at the Gozhsky firing range in the Grodno Region. At first, Mr. Lukashenko went to an auxiliary command post of the regional group of forces, where he was informed about the schemes that had been developed, and the strategic options the Belarusian and Russian military units could take to against an aggressor to the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Then the presidents went to an observation post to watch how the combat operations transpired. The firing range was used to practise interaction between the motorised infantry and mobile units of the Belarusian and Russian armed forces. These included territorial troops, internal


магчымасці Co-operation

troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus, and units of attack planes and combat helicopters, as they carried out missions involving the protection of the state border, the search for, and elimination of, recon and diversion groups and illegally armed terrorist units. The exercise continued in the Kaliningrad Region, w here the Commanders-in-Chief flew in one helicopter. Belarusian and Russian army units carried out missions on the Russian territory aiming to eliminate terrorist units, who (according to the scenario) had captured part of the shore that held small ‘populated communities’. These makeshift communities had been built in Kaliningrad specifically for this exercise. Dozens of models of residential houses, schools and shopping centres had been erected, and the streets had been fitted with models of cars and armoured vehicles. In accordance with the exercise’s concept, Belarusian special operations units worked together with the Russian army to storm the shore from a Mordovia hovercraft. The landing operation of the air assault squadron (comprising around 100 people) and six airborne combat vehicles from Il-76 military-transport aircraft was cancelled, since the stormy wind was blowing from the sea and wind speed reached 20m/s. Nevertheless, the Commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, Colonel General Vladimir Shamanov, pointed out that, of course, paratroopers are ready to jump even under such conditions. However, this is an exercise, rather than a war, so the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Vladimir Putin, decided not to risk the troops. A day earlier, Osipovichi firing range hosted regular joint exercises with the Collective Rapid Response Forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, entitled Vzaimodeystvie2013 (Interaction-2013). The exercise brought together over 600 personnel from the military units of

Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Pilotless aircrafts, known as drones, were involved for on-the-ground reconnaissance, and electronic warfare was also actively used. Terrestrial units were assisted by paratroopers and ‘NONA’ self-propelled artillery unites, which were first put on the ground from the aircraft. Combat operations used the latest weaponry, including the ‘ADUNOK’ remote-controlled system, installed at the ‘Bogatyr’ vehicle, Soldiers of the Collective Rapid Response Forces had to unblock the aerodrome, attack buildings and release ‘hostages’. CSTO General Secretary, Nikolai Bordyuzha, noted that the operation was conducted brilliantly. The Belarusian Ministry of Defence also believes that the set tasks have been completely fulfilled: ‘During the exercise, the efficiency of forces, commands and military units from the regional groups was tested. We have tested new and modernised samples of weaponry and military equipment, those made domestically and those of the Belarusian-Russian production. Moreover, we have checked their compliance with declared military requirements, and seen how they can fit military forces in future. For example, during manoeuvres, an automated system of tactic link control — ‘Soldier — A Combat System’ — was demonstrated, in which a head’s up display is fixed in front of soldiers’ eye, directly on the protective helmet. The organisers of the exercises stressed many times that the war games aim to practice only defensive operations. It’s quite logical why so much attention was paid to issues of defeating terrorism. The State Secretary of B el ar us’ Security

Council, Colonel General Leonid Maltsev, explains, “You see what’s going on in the ‘Arab arch’, as well as in other geo-strategic areas. We need to improve and be ready for any turn of events. This isn’t a paradox. At present, armed forces are designed, not to conduct war, but to prevent it. One of the most important goals of the exercise is the improvement of our control systems. If previously, the war was primarily ‘focused’ on the military struggle, now the centre of gravity has shifted towards other, non-traditional ways of warfare. One of these is destabilisation of the situation through so called illegal military units. If we’re ready for such a situation, it won’t happen.” No one doubts their readiness after the exercise. However, the improvement of war-craft and combat experience is a constant process, so joint exercises by the Belarusian and Russian military will be conducted regularly. By Dmitry Umpirovich

2013  беларусь.belarus

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T

ransport inflow is increasing in the western border of the Union State, with international transportation rising by around 20 percent annually. This is primarily connected with the fact that traffic handling capacity for passenger cars and trucks has considerably increased while the comfort of movement has reached the level of world standards. This has become possible due to the large-scale reconstruction of border checkpoints.

Pleasant journeys Contemporary border infrastructure created as part of Union State programmes Bruzgi border checkpoint has become one of the most important facilities, modernised as part of the Union State programme, being located at the Belarusian-Polish border, 20km from Grodno. Twenty three years ago the checkpoint conducted only temporary control while the whole infrastructure was limited to several tables under open sky and a couple of adjusted wagons. Starting from 1997, around $12m was injected into the development of this border checkpoint, with a considerable part of money coming from the Union State budget. The territory of the terminal has expanded from 7 to 28 hectares and the facility daily handles over 5,000 passenger cars

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and trucks and buses, with 70 percent of transport moving in the Russian direction. Bruzgki complex has been equipped with the most advanced technique and the latest innovations of the terminal include Regula system, enabling to reveal forged papers. Meanwhile, Rapiscan mobile scanning unit is able to discover even most tricky crypts in cars. However, what was advanced yesterday will need renovation tomorrow. Therefore, by late 2014, two stationary inspection scanning complexes will have been installed at Bruzgi, as well as recently reconstructed border checkpoint — Berestovitsa — located 70km from Grodno. Such contemporary equipment — worth over 1.5m Euros each — is present only at Kozlovichi border checkpoint (along the western border of the Union State), near Brest. However, these aren’t all pleasant innovations for international carriers. Vasily Dementey, the Head of the Grodno Regional Customs House, told us the details, “We’re actively preparing projects to open logistics centres — unrivalled in Belarus. In the nearest two years, these will be built at Bruzgi and Berestovitsa border checkpoints. Their major peculiarity is that these sites will be first located in close vicinity to the border, within just several hundred metres. ” Privalka border checkpoint has also undergone large-scale modernisation. For example, the traffic handling capacity of the border checkpoint will triple and amount to around 1,000 vehicles daily, with 400 of these being cargo lorries. The reconstructed border checkpoint is equipped with the latest equipment, with video surveillance and number-plate recognition systems being installed, alongside security and fire alarm. This facility has 8 lines for transport movement in both directions and inspection rooms and those for cargo execution have been also equipped. The so called risk management system is operating. Due to electronic communications, each batch of goods is under constant control on the territory of the Union State. By Josef Popko


Belta

Solid base of health

T

he Union State research programme on the development of new methods of treatment using stem cells, which was begun by Belarusian and Russian scientists and physicians in 2011, is nearing completion. 120 million Russian Roubles were allocated for the carrying out of research in five basic directions. So what are preliminary results? Before answering this question, we will remind you that stem cells possess the ability, depending on external conditions, to transform into so-called specialised cells, cells of the heart, joints, and epithelium. This means that it is possible to restore sick organs. Concerning the practical application of this innovation it can be said that Belarus lags behind, but scientific research

And although the programme is focused, first of all, on solving scientific research problems, scientists and physicians try to bring their work to a practical level as much as possible. The first attempts using stem cells and corresponding technologies have been already made with positive results. Stem cell treatment was performed on 10 patients with trophic ulcers, a difficult illness to treat using traditional methods of treatment. One of the patients has compared the result of treatment to the having a new life. The Ministry of Health of Belarus approved the use of the drug. According to Olga Aleinikova, the Director and corresponding member of NAS, in the above mentioned centre of paediatric oncology and haematology, stem cells are used in bone marrow transplants to improve acclimation rate. Next on the

Thanks to joint innovative projects, physicians of the Union State have a powerful weapon in their struggle against illness

has been conducted for a long time and has produced good results. Since 1997, this topic has been investigated in the Republican Research Centre for Paediatric Oncology and Haematology and since 2004, at the Institute of Biophysics and Cell Engineering of NAS of Belarus — the head organisation-executor of the Stem Cells Union State programme. According to Igor Volotovsky, academician of NAS and scientific supervisor of the project, co-operation in this sphere bears fruits. “The Union State programme is being developed using fundamental and applied research, and is aimed at the development of regenerative medicine by means of cell technologies. Today we can already direct the development of stem cells in a test tube in the required direction.”

list is the treatment of gums, hip joints and cirrhosis. In total, Belarusian experts intend to develop one and a half dozen basic technologies of treatment using stem cells. A bank of stem cells has been already created in Belarus. It gives the opportunity to guarantee the application of progressive methods of treatment by means of ‘owner’ cells, which are better for the treatment of both parents and children. How does it happen? At the time of childbirth, placenta and patrimonial blood are gathered in special containers, frozen, and kept in the bank for many years. There is also a depersonalised bank of stem cells, from which the material is selected for a patient according to an index of biological compatibility and other parameters. By Vladimir Bibikov

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Social services of Belarus and Russia implement new forms of work

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n December, the Belarusian-Russian agreement on citizens’ equal rights, the first Union State document dealing with issues of migration, labour, pension coverage, social insurance and allowances, will have been in force for 15 years. However, it took some time to settle all the problems related to the continual payment of pensions and allowances in case of Belarusians moving to Russia, and Russians coming to Belarus. This was achieved when the Belarusian-Russian inter-state agreement of co-operation in the field of social coverage (as of January 24th, 2006) came into force. In addition, several years were needed to fully ‘adjust’ the Belarusian-Russian pension related scheme and the last element was completed on January 1st, 2012. Belarusians who temporarily stay in Russia for six months or more have the right to pay insurance fees into Russia’s Pension Fund and accordingly, have a right to pension coverage. These citizens also gain access to paid sick leave, medical insurance and compensation in case of industrial accidents, taking into consideration the overall working period. Despite this, Belarusian and Russian social services still have a huge potential for interaction and, at the moment, our Ministry of Labour and Social Protection enjoy over two dozen co-operative agreements with colleagues from Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian regions, all of whom envisage greater experience and information exchange. The direction of social development in our two states has much in common. They both aim at the further improvement of social work and the implementation of innovative technologies.

Worthy meeting of old age Belta

Addressed help

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State Duma deputies plan soon to study a draft federal law on the fundamentals of social services rendered to the elderly and veterans. It envisages targeted orientation and an individual approach in defining the degree of need of state support and the development of the social services market (in order to attract businesses and public organisations). So far, 1,216 noncommercial companies render social services to the population in 29 Russian regions, and the All-Russian Centre of Aid to Afghan Invalids, including a clinic, and boasting the most advanced rehabilitation equipment, is a bright example. Belarus


focuses on similar trends, and our legislation allows public and non-commercial organisations to aid the disabled and those in a difficult situation. The experience of these pioneers is extremely important, since it’s vital to learn exclusively from practical experience. Meanwhile, home visiting services are the main priority of the Belarusian and Russian social services. They are cheap, in demand and need only slight changes to improve them. Russian and Belarusian regions have already launched social taxi services, clinics and home hospices, as well as supplying foster families for the elderly. Russians are now actively developing a system to detect and register those in need of social services. Such an individual approach would mean a burden on a social worker, not on the basis of the number of clients, but on the amount of labour involved. As a result, salaries of social workers are likely to rise to meet the national average. The low wages paid in this sector are a common problem for Belarus and Russia.

Grannies online Active ageing is common for modern Belarus and Russia. The elderly have no desire to just sit at home after their retirement. Belarus’ Vileika District has many elderly people, probably the largest amount countrywide — around 13,000 pensioners, 27.8 per cent, of the economically active population live here. It is understandable. Minsk is situated just two hours away, and young people are naturally attracted by the life in the capital. In 2010, district social services conducted a poll for local 60 year olds, asking them whether they were ready to assist the elderly. 96 per cent of respondents answered positively, and this actually became the start of the volunteer movement among pensioners. All these people have retired, but are still full of strength and energy. They have hobbies, and dislike idly watching TV. 40 pensioner-volunteers, from five rural councils of the Vileika District, now take care of 90 old people. They assist full-time social workers and, according to Larisa Alymova-Orlova, the Deputy Director for Social Work at Moscow’s Ryazansky Centre of Social Services, “This Belarusian experience is truly interesting. The volunteer movement among Belarusian pensioners is unique. We also have volunteers but these are young people. We will be sure to promote the idea as well.” Universities for middle-aged people now operate along the Union State territory, with up to 10,000 people studying there annually in Russia. Computer literacy for the elderly is among the subjects in greatest demand. They are taught how to register with state and municipal sites, to send email and use the egovernment portal. A computer general knowledge championship is planned for pensioners and disabled people. Belarusians are not lagging behind in this respect. Our Academy for the elderly, in Mogilev Region’s, Kirovsk District,

is truly ready for such a service. Its ‘Kirovsk Grannies Online’ unites 9 pensioners who are all studying computer literacy; two even attend English language classes. After learning for a while, these grannies will also be able to take part in the Russian computer championship.

Labour adaptation Social protection is ever improving, and the Union State has adopted a package of related regulations which explains the list of social services, in-service norms and public organisations and businesses which are cooperating. Our psycho-neurological establishments studied the Swedish experience of the rehabilitation of the disabled and put it into practice. The town of Bykhov, in the Mogilev Region, are pioneers in this field. Since 2009, its local psycho-neurological clinic offers short-term stays for those needing special care. In 2013, this kind of service was fixed legislatively, and any specialised institution can offer them now. In 2011, Bykhov’s clinic opened an occupational therapy department where people sew, knit and make souvenirs. According to Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Alexander Rumak, a draft law is now ready. In line with the document, social establishments are allowed to sell their patients’ products at fairs, exhibitions, shops and market, with all the money raised being used to develop the service further. Kamensk’s psycho-neurological clinic, not far from Bobruisk, has launched an interesting project recently — accompanied staying. Its Director, Galina Savchenko, explains, “We often accept old people who have no ability to look after themselves. They spent their whole life in refuges where special staff performed all the necessary functions. At present, and in the presence of a social worker, we teach our boarders to sew on buttons, wash clothes, clean rooms and iron. We are also trying to teach them a profession. One resident, Vera, is among our first ‘students’. She is a kitchen maid. We are currently preparing documents confirming her ability to work, and hope to find a job for her.” Belarus’ Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Marianna Shchetkina, agrees that the experience exchange with their Russian counterparts is truly constructive, “Meetings of this kind contribute to the further improvement of the types and methods of social work and the implementation of innovative technologies, which are based on the combination of results of scientific-research activity and social practices.” In the near future, Belarusian social service specialists will visit Moscow and St. Petersburg to study ways of aiding veterans, lonely pensioners and disabled people. It’s hope that this local experience would soon spread across Belarus. By Aelita Sjulzhina

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магчымасці Co-operation

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he meeting was organised noted, “This year, twice as many funds again. Military dreams are not alien to by the Standing Committee were allocated from the budget of the girls either; they were also part of each of the Union State. For Union State in 2013 for holding of the cadet team. Nastya Shvaiko, from the the first time, the meeting cadet camp in Zubrenok than in previous Brest Regional Cadet School, shared gathered 480 boys and girls, years. After all, young people are our her thoughts. pupils of military schools and classes, future. Everything that we, the senior “How did my family take my desire not only from all regions of to become a cadet? Well, at first Belarus, but also from the they were distressed, saying that most remote corners of Russia: such a place is not right for a girl. Mari El Republic, Buryatia and But when they saw me in my military uniform, they changed Khabarovsk Krai. their opinion and said that the The Day of the Union State, which was held under the uniform suited me. Is it difficult slogan, ‘Glory to the Union, to march in formation? No, I We Are Proud of You!’ was have been doing sports since the central event of the forum. childhood. Boys do not offend The theme of unification of me. On the contrary, they try Belarusians and Russians was to protect me in any situation. continued at the ‘Two Countries What profession do I want to — One Destiny’ discussion. have in future? I will try to enter Celebratory concerts and the school of the Belarusian discos, excursions to the Brest Ministry of Internal Affairs.” Fortress and ancient castles This is a typical approach and military-sports competiof Union State’s young people tions were held there and the to life. A lot of children young participants continued consciously prepare to protect their studies in comprehentheir Fatherland, to serve in the sive school classes that corremilitary and perfectly undersponded to their age. stand what patriotism is. Victor The cadet camp in Zubrenok Lisovsky, the Head of Minsk Suvorov Military School, whom continued the traditions of the military-patriotic camp of we also met in Zubrenok, knows Suvorov Military School and the For the seventh time, the patriotic cadet camp has all about this because of his own Nakhimov Naval School of the taken place in the National Children’s Education and service experience. “Every year we have 5-7 Union State, a camp in Russia’s Recreation Centre in Zubrenok, 150 kilometres from Anapa, on the bank of the Black Minsk in the picturesque surroundings of Lake Naroch young people applying for every place. These children perfectly Sea, which recently closed. The staff of the Education and Recreation generation, put into the mind and hearts understand what love for their country Centre had to work hard in order to win of boys and girls today, will be seen in means and what constitutes the military the right to hold such an event. The light, the Union State tomorrow. That is the component of the state. We see the same spacious buildings were painted. Well great value of such activities. Friendships in Suvorov and Nakhimov cadet schools trained teachers, who knew the education acquired by the children here will last for and corps across the whole Union State. materials required for Belarusian and whole of their lives.” I am sure, that among participants of the Russian programs, and who also knew What do the cadets think about it? current cadet camp, the majority will how to explain them to children. Healthy Vitaly Shalamov, a tenth-grader from devote their lives to the army and other diets and careful medical support are the Smolensk Military School, explained defence and law enforcement agencies. features of Zubrenok. how he had decided to dedicate his life But also, our current pupils will become The Deputy Head of the Representative to service in armed forces. In Zubrenok, doctors, teachers, engineers — will Office of the Union State’s Standing he lived in one room with his Belarusian become real patriots.” Committee in Minsk, Pavel Kuzemchak peers and would like to come to Belarus By Vladimir Yakovlev

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Young patriots meet in Zubrenok


Belta

EXHIBITION

In the beginning was the Word National Library hosts two exhibitions, dedicated to 1150th anniversary of Slavonic written language

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he Word artistic exhibition and In the Beginning Was the Word book exhibition have opened in the country’s main library. The Word exhibition, which has already opened in the Labyrinth Gallery, is showing us how book illustrations have influenced contemporary Belarusian art. The delicate calligraphy of ancient manuscripts, with their picturesque miniatures, has b een unique to Slavonic culture since ancient times and is just as influential today. Litart

artistic association promotes the art of ‘beautiful writing’, headed by Prof. Pavel Semchenko, a laureate of the Spiritual Revival award. His works occupy a worthy place at the exhibition, which also features masterpieces by, Li Zuo, from China. With famous Belarusian artist Gennady Matsur, the Chinese artist gave a master class on calligraphy at the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition showcases designer T-shirts by Belarusian painter Vladimir

Tsesler, alongside canvases by artist Anatoly Kuznetsov and textual conceptual works by photographer Igor Savchenko. Art books, created in single editions by painter Mikhail Barzdyka, and poet Mikhail Bashlakov, are also on display. In 2004, their joint works were ranked among the top hundred books of the world at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany and were awarded a gold medal in 2006 at an international contest in Belgium. In the Beginning Was the Word is sited on the third floor of the National Library of Belarus, displaying around 200 books. These show the development of written language across Slavonic lands, mostly comprising editions about the history of Cyrillic script and the Slavonic saints Cyril and Methodius. Some are dedicated to the life and work of such Belarusian enlighteners as Frantsisk Skorina, Simeon Polotsky, Sofia Slutskaya, Kirill Turovsky, Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya, Symon Budny, Vasily Tyapinsky and Ivan Fiodorov. By Semen Velikhov

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ANTHROPOLOGICAL VIEW

What was, is and will be man?

Alexander Ruzhechka

Scientists speculate that, in future, we may evolve a beak instead of teeth, or that our eyes will grow as large as saucers. Of course, the media love to report sensational announcements: the discovery of a vampire’s tomb or the burial place of a giant race. The remains of elves are yet to be found but perhaps we’ll soon be told. It’s difficult to know what to believe.

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Head of the Institute of History’s Department of Anthropology at the National Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Lidia Tegako

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ANTHROPOLOGICAL VIEW

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f course, robots were once considered pu re f ant as y. At the Institute of History, part of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, researchers work to unravel fact from fiction. Prof. Lidia Tegako, who heads the Institute’s Department of Anthropology, is a Doctor of Medical Sciences studying ancient man’s appearance. She tells us, “Anthropologists, as a rule, believe in evolution, though there are other theories. For example, some assert that mankind arrived here from another planet. Such theories are

Belarus was once home to the tallest person on Earth, Fiodor Andreevich Makhnov, whose height was 285cm. Born on June 6th, 1878, in a peasant family on a homestead in the Vitebsk Province, not far from the village of Kostyuki, he reached 2.5m as a teenager and soon became known worldwide as the ‘Belarusian Gulliver’

classed within creationism (from Latin creatio — creator). Anthropology and other natural sciences support evolutionary theory, having data confirming the gradual development of man and all life on Earth. Certainly, ancient people did not look as we do today. Evolutionary development shows that we come from primates, with whom we bear similarities.”

Race of giants On the Internet, you can find a photo showing archaeologists working on a huge skull. The caption reads that traces of a unique race of giants have been found — though to have once inhabited the Earth. Ms. Tegako explains, “Questions concerning

Anthropology and other natural sciences support evolutionary theory, having data confirming the gradual development of man and life on Earth

sensations should be addressed to your colleagues I’m afraid. Some time ago, I read an amusing article about man’s evolution, based on studying louse DNA. I won’t comment on similar insinuations, or on other unscientific ‘stuff and nonsense’. I will say that there’s no confirmed data regarding the existence of half-races, amphibians, flying people, elves or gnomes! There are anomalies regarding the development of particular individuals or groups (for example, bushmen in Australia are small in height) but nothing more. Generally speaking, gigantism and dwarfism are ‘flukes’.”

Belarusian Gulliver Belarus was once home to the tallest person on E arth, Fiodor Andreevich Makhnov, whose height was 285cm. Born on June 6th, 1878, in a peasant family on a homestead in the Vitebsk Province, not far from the village of Kostyuki, he reached 2.5m as a teenager and soon became known worldwide as the ‘Belarusian Gulliver’. He worked in a circus for some time, travelling all over the globe under this nickname, before returning home and settling down with his Page wife, Yefrosiniya.

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ANTHROPOLOGICAL VIEW

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His former home, in Gorbachi, is called the ‘Giant's homestead’ and, in fact, his wife stood at 215cm. As you might expect, their five children were also reasonably tall! Fiodor died on August 28th, 1912, aged 34, and is buried in a churchyard just outside Gorbachi.

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No change through the centuries As for the appearance of modern Belarusians, we look as our greatgrandfathers did: just a little taller. Ms. Tegako notes, “According to reconstructions of 18-19th century Belarusians, there’s really no change. The ‘Slavic type’ has its own characteristics, with Russians differing from Belarusians in having wider faces and higher cheekbones.” She continues, “Most known burial places date from the 18th and 19th century; bones can be used for reconstruction. Sadly, Belarusian soil — being sandy and damp — does not preserve bones well. Those found in neighbouring Latvia are in good condition, even dating back to the Mesolithic period. The most ancient skull found in Belarus dates back to the Bronze Age, belonging The most ancient skull found in Belarus dates back to the Bronze Age, belonging to a man found buried in a silicon mine. It’s a unique item, from near the village of Staroselie, in the Volkovysk District

to a man found buried in a silicon mine. It’s a unique item, from near the village of Staroselie, in the Volkovysk District. Theoretically, it should never have existed, since those who died were burned. Various Neanderthal sites have been found in Belarus, but without remains. Our archive contains about 400 skulls (which preserve better than other parts of the skeleton, being denser). Far larger numbers of skulls are found in other countries though.”

Contemporary population “Besides studying ancient man, our research looks at today’s population and the changes occurring,” notes Ms. Tegako. “It is logical that, as our habitat changes, so does man. We’re adapting to the rapid development of civilisation, filled with computers and other devices, which considerably simplify our life. H o w e v e r, w e ’ r e gradually losing touch with nature, enjoying less of a c l o s e

relationship. Man was once vulnerable to infection, especially after injury while hunting or fighting. Our medicine has progressed but new dangers exist — such as damage to our eyesight from staring too long at computer monitors and stress on our nervous system from city living. Our bodies are physically weaker too, since strength is no longer the major factor in survival.”

Teeth reveal all Lidia adds, “Our teeth are suffering alongside our muscular system, with even children developing dental decay. Of course, this is treatable, but our teeth are weakened and require permanent care. Our ancestors had reasonably good teeth, with little decay. Most enjoyed healthy teeth, although a cavity might lead to a fatal infection. People ate more natural products, with more roughage and fewer processed ingredients. They certainly weren’t eating chemical additives. Some skulls’ teeth are worn down but they tend to be in good condition.”

Dynamics of development Belarusian anthropologists have also been studying standards of physical development, which are defined every 5-10 years. Lidia explains, “We’re seeing leptosomisation, whereby the skeletal system gradually becomes weaker, with narrower shoulders and less muscularity.” Such criteria can b e measured objectively. It’s true that our environment brings evolutionary change over long periods of time but our offspring aren’t likely to notice any difference in their lifetime, or that of their g re at - g re at - g re at grandchildren. There’s no danger of beaks or Сустрэча землякоў у Мінску: tentacles any time soon! Аркадзь Крупенька (злева) As зStanley Kubrick прыехаў Комі, а Мікалай Крысковіч — зthe Алтая said, survey world with eyes wide open. By Olga Semenova

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Art of tapestry

Second life of ancient handicrafts

Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre preserves unique traditions of ancient tapestry weaving

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Vadim Kondrashov

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he construction of the National Olympic C ommitte e he ad quarters is nearing its completion in Minsk and one more architectural sight will appear in the capital of Belarus. Until then, artists and weavers from the Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre of the Belarusian Union of Artists make the last stitches on tapestries and other art textile works which will give national colouring to the interiors of the most splendid establishment in the country. Undoubtedly, these will be the highest artworks, since the workers of this enterprise made the world’s biggest Tapestry of the Century from sketches made by the People’s Artiste of Belarus, Alexander Kishchenko. The enterprise itself was Page

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Art of tapestry

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Artur Prupas

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named after him. This unique hanging is officially recognised as an object of cultural and historical heritage of world value. It even entered the Guinness Book of Records. Manually woven pictures from Borisov decorate the interiors of the UN Headquarters in Washington, the National Library in Minsk, the Grand Hotel in Moscow and leading Belarusian and Russian theatres. ‘But isn’t tapestry making a French invention?’ This question can be asked by a demanding reader, and he or she will be right. However there is no paradox in the earlier information. Almost simultaneously with its appearance in France, weaving with a vertical arrangement of threads appeared in Belarus in the same 17th century. The serfs of the Radziwill dukes were engaged in weaving, and tapestries from the castles of Mir and Nesvizh, Ukraine and Lithuania were spread across the whole of Europe. Since then, the Belarusian art of weaving using coloured woollen threads acquired its own characteristic traits and has become different from the French original. In particular, Belarusian tapestries not only have original artistic component, but also an original interweaving of threads. However, the period of classical Belarusian tapestry was rather short and by the 19th century had practically come to end, along with the manufacture of the well-known Slutsk belts. However, after a century, it was decided to revive this ancient art in Belarus. The art of tapestry allows makers to reproduce the grandiosity of political ideas, portraits of leaders or space and the Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre considerably contributed greatly to the modern art of weaving. Its current director, Grigory Shemit, rustling the pages of old certificates which have turned yellow with time, tells us, “The first Borisov tapestries appeared in 19671968. Gradually, a team of qualified weavers, and the group of professional artists creating the tapestry pictures was formed at the Centre. During the Soviet period, they had orders planned

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for two years ahead. Nobody looked at the prices. Tapestries were ordered by regional palaces of culture and collective farm-millionaires. But after the collapse of the USSR, the demand for highly artistic woven products fell off. The number of workers at the enterprise was repeatedly reduced, and at present time there are around 100 workers, including 8 tapestry makers (down from 40). Nevertheless, the enterprise survived those dark times and did not lose its qualified experts. The ancient art was kept alive and gradually developed. Recently, for example, the Crafts Centre has employed 6 young women who want to become tapestry weavers.”

The government also helps to keep the unique tradition of weaving alive, exempting the works of art from value added tax. Thereby they became cheaper in price and that helps sales. But why are these beautiful works of art not so in demand as they were previously? In order to understand this, our correspondents decided to visit the weaver’s shop. And here we are in a big light room. There, coarse threads of the base, (the warps), were drawn on a big steel frame, and the weavers, sitting in a row were glancing at cardboard illustrations in front of them and were weaving, from side to side, (the wefts) using woollen threads of corresponding colours. After


Art of tapestry completing a row of the fabric, they pressed down the fabric using a wooden hammer-comb. The weavers explain, “This is work for those who are good at knitting and sewing. And in addition it requires a lot of patience.” Yelena Alekhno, Tatiana Potapovich and Alla Fedisova are such people. They have been weaving tapestries for about a quarter of a century. They say that someone can become professional in several months, while another person may take 14 years. It doesn’t just depend on self-opinion, but also on the actual tapestry on which they are currently working. At a quick glance, Tapestry of the Century is highly complex. And it really is. It took 14 skilled workers to weave this creation, which stands 19.5 by 14 metres and weighs 300kg. It took them from 1991 to 1995 to finish, manually weaving 805 kilometres of threads. The scale of this art concept is a match for these figures — The struggle of good against evil. According to the weavers, today’s woven pictures are much more labour-consuming, for example pictures which are woven for private customers from Moscow. With photographic accuracy, the workers have reproduced many small portraits of real people. The workers also display a sketch of a tapestry depicting a scene of an ancient hunt, from an original work that is kept

in Mir Castle. It is really amazing to see how the weavers manage to reproduce, so accurately, even the smallest of details. The workers continue, explaining that it is necessary to select a thread, not only according to thickness, but also according to shade, choosing from the weaver’s palette of up to 300 colours. Sometimes, they are even required to tint them manually. The weavers, meanwhile, continue supporting each other, “Not everything is always good,” say the skilled workers. “Sometimes it comes to tears. But we sit; confer with each other and with the artist and start to reweave a thread.” There can be a price that weavers pay for right to weave: blood spots on threads, arthritis and back problems and deterioration of vision. It is not without reason that they are pensioned off 5 years earlier than others. The work is hard and progress is slow. In one day, a tapestry may grow by just 3-4 centimetres. A two-by-three metre carpet, made by six workers, working two shifts, takes two and a half months. They were working on the Tapestry of the Century for several years, which explains the high art value of the work. Nowadays there is automatic weaving equipment with programmable controls that allow for the production of cheap tapestries. But that, as they say, is another story. For now, the Borisov enterprise tries to keep

The workers of the Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre made the world’s biggest Tapestry of the Century from sketches made by the People’s Artiste of Belarus, Alexander Kischchenko. This unique hanging is officially recognized as an object of cultural and historical heritage of world value. It even entered the Guinness Book of Records

the decades of accumulated experience of their manual weavers. The workers of the enterprise are also engaged in the restoration of ancient tapestries. Recently, skilled workers of the Borisov enterprise have restored the picture Aurochs Hunting, using filigree techniques. But visitors to Mir Castle would hardly notice the fixed areas. A restored tapestry dedicated to the theme of Trojan War is also kept in the Mir Castle. Towels, tablecloths and other similar works from flax, amaze with their bright colours and intricate patterns, designed according to authentic Belarusian manufacturing techniques. Certainly, special equipment is required for these purposes. Today, it is difficult to recollect who made these almost completely wooden mechanisms for the enterprise several dozen years ago, but they still work perfectly. It is really a breath-taking sight. The weaver continually threads a massive shuttle through the threads of the base, and with her shoeless feet, operates several pedals, like an organ player. The finished products that these skilled artisans make are easily distinguished by professionals from machine made works. Manual tapestries have a denser texture, and they reflect unique ‘handwriting’ of the individual weaver, and are valued further for that. However, the workers of the enterprise do not avoid technical progress. The have recently purchased several automatic, programmable weaving machines. But even with these, individuality is not sacrificed to mass production. The skilled workers and artists of the Borisov Arts and Crafts Centre have reproduced well-known Slutsk belts, and even these copies are impressive — filigree ornaments interwoven with the threads, and accurate patterns which are different on each side of the work of art. The complexity of these items is shown by the fact that, even on the modern, highly-efficient equipment, it is only possible to make two pieces a month, so we can only guess how many years of manual work were required to make such a masterpiece originally. By Vladimir Bibikov

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COMPATRIOTS

Dominant genes, fate and the grand dream of an artiste Nikolay Koval is a People’s Artiste of Ukraine and a leading master at the Shevchenko National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, whose talent stems from the unity of three fraternal cultures: Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. He still continues dreaming of singing at Belarus’ Bolshoi Theatre. Выбар Леды на Купалле — надзвычай відовішчная сцэна ў спектаклі

Ivan Zhdanovich

“W

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hy not,” he exclaims emotionally. “I can do much. During my lifetime, I’ve sung all leading baritone parts, and would be very pleased to perform Amonasro in your Aida, or Eugene Onegin. Moreover, I’d sing any song jointly with the Zhinovich Orchestra. However, it seems my fate hampers me due to some unknown reasons. It fails to take into consideration that I’m a Belarusian — belonging to the country to the core.” Mr. Koval spoke of fate’s twists and turns, which failed to always meet his expectations, they were painless, but bewildering. He wondered why his native country actually pushed him away. Initially, we also failed to understand the reasons. We met the famous Ukrainian operatic singer during our May business trip. In our talk, we attempted to clear out why the artiste remained unclaimed. In cases of this kind, when the ways of God are inscrutable, we can only blame fate.

Sometime later (while exchanging our opinions on the topic), we assumed that it was Mr. Koval who actually failed to make wise choices and explore every avenue to make his dream of singing in Belarus true. He probably had something against someone or hesitated about realising his most ardent dream — to sing in his native country. Possibly, he was too hasty in moving to Kiev, where his family was offered accommodation. And the material side of life is extremely important, where family matters are affected. However, it’s also clear that dreams come true only if we are working hard to achieve them. In our discussion, we also assumed that Mr. Koval had a dominant ‘Ukrainian’ gene which took him to Kiev. As for me, I was born in Ukraine’s Kharkov District, but have lived in Belarus for many years, despite having many chances of living and working in Kiev after graduating from Kiev University. In my case, it’s probably the ‘Belarus’ gene which took me to Minsk. However, it’s the scientists’ job to study how genes work…


COMPATRIOTS I recollect that, on meeting Mr. Koval at the entrance to the Kiev Opera, we spend some time looking for a quiet spot to have our talk. It appeared that the theatre prohibited anyone coming inside for interviews, even journalists from a friendly neighbouring state. In order for it to happen, one had to ask for permission well in advance. Actually, we were not insistent, although I would have much loved to have seen the backstage of the Kiev Opera House. Instead, we went to a small Chinese restaurant not far from the theatre and Kiev’s Golden Gates. The latter are a defensive architectural monument from the Kiev Rus’ times, which served as an entry to the city in the past. I then recollected my student years in the 1970s. Back then, the site was ruined. Mr. Koval and Nikolay Boiko, the journalist who had introduced me to the artiste informed me that the opening of the reconstructed Golden Gates was timed to coincide with Kiev’s 1500th birthday celebrations in May 1982. My companions even showed us a shop nearby that sold Belarusian produce. We were pleased to see that our dairy foods enjoyed such demand in Kiev, all of which has little connection to our main character. During our stay in Kiev, the singer had no theatre performances, sadly, but we got acquainted with Mr. Koval’s mastery via his CDs, which he presented to us. Clearly, live singing is always much more impressive, but even his recordings were fabulous. Mr. Koval’s strong and deep-toned baritone touched the out heartstrings, and our imagination immediately brought his diverse operatic images to life. Nikolay performing Onegin in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Igor in Borodin’s Prince Igor, Andrey Bolkonsky in Prokofiev’s War and Peace, and Figaro in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, amongst others. Mr. Koval is actually as bright a talker as he is a singer. While drinking jasmine tea, we were discussing his path to the operatic art, and his efforts to succeed in it. His eyes sparkled with hope after we

promised to tell our magazine readers Чорны чалавек — that the Belarus-born Аляксандр Бутрымовіч,People’s Artiste of лаўрэатNikolay міжнародных Ukraine, Koval, would love to sing конкурсаў, уражвае сваёй forпластычнасцю his countrymen. He is ready to come і сэнсавым to напаўненнем Minsk with вобраза a solo programme; ready to perform operatic arias and Ukrainian and Belarusian folk songs. The artiste passionately loves his native Belarus and often thinks of it, even though he has spent many years in Ukraine, where he has built a successful artistic career. “I was born in the Polesie’s village of Azdamichi, in the Brest Region’s Stolin District. Later, I attended a local school. My mother, Yelena Koval, came from the

neighbouring village of Algomel. Her maiden name was Lasko. Her father (my grandfather) was Savva Lesko. His origin is unsure. People said that he was born in neighbouring Tolmachevo, and that he had no parents. My grandmother’s family name was Kardash. She was born in Bolshoe Maleshovo. If you look at a map of Belarus, all these villages are situated close to each other.” “My artistic life is very complicated; it would make a good book. I inherited my singing ability from my mother, who sang wonderfully. Jointly with my father, they sang extremely beautifully and were often invited to village weddings to perform. When I was a schoolboy, I dreamt of being invited to such a party but never asked myself as I was too shy, probably due to

my character or upbringing. Even now I’m sometimes reluctant to take the initiative. Moreover, my teacher of music marked me down as ‘good’, seeing no true talent. He failed to see me as an equal. Our modern life also distinguishes people as ‘us’ and ‘not us’. I was also fond of sports, and participated in the discus and javelin throwing and shot-putt. I was even close to receiving a Master of Sports degree. After graduation, my school continued to display my medals and diplomas in an honourable place for another five or even ten years. That was no surprise, as I was a district champion. In my 9th and 10th years at school, my godfather, Daniil Kadolich, headed our class, and I remember him asking me to take part a concert, singing jointly with girls. Alongside him, my teacher, Stepan Dubeiko, the same man who marked me as ‘good’, and also oversaw club activities at that time, also asked me to participate. I even remember him coming to my house for this purpose. I then sang The Song of Nieman and Naryan-Mar, with Mr. Dubeiko accompanying me. My solo performance created quite a stir…” “My father bought me a harmonica in my 5th year at school. I had a good ear and was able to repeat any melody sung by my mother. Over the course of time, I began accompanying local dance parties. However, I had no intention to devote my life to music or singing, as I dreamt of becoming a naval officer. In 1969, I passed all necessary examinations with an aim of entering Sevastopol’s Nakhimov Naval School. Those who know the city are aware of its Dutch Bay, where the submariners are trained, and Streletskaya Bay, where my would-be unit was situated. I think I could have entered, but my mother wrote me a touching letter, wondering whether I really wished that path. I took the letter and showed it to the School Headmaster, who asked, “Didn’t your mother know?” I answered that she knew, but that I had no idea that she was so worried. Several other Belarusians wished to enter as well, but eventually, all of them, including Page

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me, got the wind up and returned home. As a result, I entered the Pinsk Agricultural College’s Zoo-technical Department. This was how my mother ‘built’ my life. She took me from the sea as she was so afraid for me, and I was an obedient son. After my first year at the College, I was called up for military service. I wished to join the fleet but failed because of my blood pressure. On the evening before, I celebrated the call up jointly with my friends, but next morning, my pressure was high. As a result, I was sent to hospital, for seven days, and my ship ‘sailed away’… Obviously, a life at sea was not to be my fate. I appeared to be too weak and indecisive to become a naval officer. Instead, I served in Pechi, at a medical-sanitary battalion. During my army service, I participated in the battalion amateur band, and remember singing ‘The moon hides behind clouds and night banks are dreaming’ jointly, with our commander’s wife. After that concert, the Head of Tachanka ensemble approached me and invited me to join them. Of course, I agreed. After that, I commanded a squadron, but also attended rehearsals on weekends. I even had holidays, thanks to Tachanka.” “After being discharged from the army, I returned to the College, joining its Rovesnik (Peer) pop ensemble as a soloist. The band was headed by Pavel Rubets, who works in Pinsk now. Since my graduation from college in 1973, I’ve never seen him, sadly. Meanwhile, the Polesie dance ensemble, led by the Honoured Figure of Arts of Ukraine, Mr. Smirnov, as far as I remember, worked under the Pinsk House of Culture. We toured Belarus’ leading Komsomol construction sites, also giving concerts in Latvia and Poland. I sang during the breaks, while the dancers were changing their costumes, accompanied by an accordion. Tulikov’s Homeland, Yaroslavia and The Song of Nieman were on my repertoire then, among other songs. During one of my performances, I was heard by the Secretary of Pinsk’s Regional Шчаслівы танец пяшчотнай Party Committee, Ms. Pitunova. After the Ганны (Ірына Яромкіна)

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concert, she approached me and advised to study singing professionally. “Move to Minsk and enter the Conservatory,” she suggested. I then collected all my documents and went to the capital.” “I arrived at the Lunacharsky Conservatory, and my live audition was in front of Nikolay Serdobov, who’s in the kingdom of heaven now. At that time, this People’s Artiste of Belarus was a soloist at the Opera Theatre. After singing Tulikov’s Homeland, I was told to return in September. However, I soon received a letter stating that the Conservatory had chosen not to enrol me. Being a young specialist, I had to work at a specified job for three years. The Agricultural College’s Deputy Head, Mr. Stolyarov, told me then, “Go to the Ministry of Agriculture. I’ll call them, asking to release you.” He wanted me to continue studying and, eventually, everything was a success: I went to the Ministry and received the required release papers. I then entered the preparatory department and, once I had finished

Nikolay Koval: “My wife is a very talented singer”

it, began full time studies. During that period, I was taught the art of breathing by Mikhail Zyuvanov, the People’s Artiste of Belarus who boasted a unique bass. He advised me to move to Moscow to continue my studies. The city evidently had much space and many possibilities for artistic growth. As far as I am aware, he also advised Mikhail Zhilyuk, Belarus’ Honoured Artiste, to enter a Moscow

university. Mr. Zhilyuk was born in the Transcarpathian Region. He is a Ukrainian but sang at your Bolshoi Theatre. I’m a Belarusian, but sing for the Kiev Opera. Really, things happen…” “Probably, there were Ukrainians among my forefathers. As far as I was told, my great grandfather, Nikita Perebrodkov, floated timber. His father originated from Perebrod, which is Ukrainian territory now. However, it seems to me these are not distances which define a nationality, but a lifestyle.” “Finally, I went to the Moscow Conservatory in 1976. However, I moved in the status of a ‘national employee’, and was obliged to return home after graduation. I remember Vladimir Olovnikov, the People’s Artiste of Belarus, composer, public and party figure and author, saying that he would let me go only as a ‘national employee’. I was paid a scholarship for three years but after that all payments ceased. At the Conservatory, I was taught by the wonderful Vladimir Atlantov (tenor), Alexander Ognivtsev (bass) and Gugo Tits (baritone).” “After graduation, I took part in the ‘Youth Fair of Operatic Singers’ where I was invited by many leading operatic theatres of the USSR — St. Petersburg, Kiev and Novosibirsk. I was also invited to the Smolensk Philharmonic, where I was also offered a two room flat to live in, Krasnodar and other cities. However, being ‘a national employee’, I returned to Minsk. On coming to the theatre, I was welcomed by Yuri Mikhnevich, who was the Minister of Culture at that time, and other officials. They asked me whether I could sing for them. I answered that I’d definitely sing and then realised that I had had such a ‘cool’ education. I arrived in Minsk jointly with my wife, Tamara, an Honoured Figure of Arts of Ukraine, soloist at Ukraine’s National Opera and author, but she also failed to find a job at the Belarusian Opera Theatre. Actually, judging by the above mentioned questions, I was not an ‘appropriate’ candidate as well. Probably, it was not my fate to work in Minsk. It seems to me I’ve done everything possible to return home. As a result,


COMPATRIOTS

Numerous roles are Nikolay Koval’s “golden” treasure

we went back to Kiev which welcomed us with open arms, and I was employed to perform primo characters. Since 1986, I’ve been a soloist at the Kiev Opera. Just a couple of weeks after our arrival, we were provided with accommodation and, before too long, my wife was also employed.” “My Tamara is Russian. She studied at Moscow’s, Tchaikovsky Conservatory, learning from renowned teachers and professors, like Irina Arkhipova, People’s Artiste of the USSR and Vazha Chachava, People’s Artiste of Georgia. As a wonderful soprano singer, she performed the leading parts in Lysenko’s Natalka-Poltavka, Borodin’s Prince Igor and Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto. I’m proud that Tamara was also acknowledged one of the most unique chamber singers of Ukrainian 18th-21st century vocal music. We often jointly sing at Kiev’s concert grounds. I also sing duets with Veronika, my elder daughter. Several years ago, she became a laureate at the International Opera Singers Competition, named after Solomeya Krushelnitskaya, which was a true joy for us as parents. Veronika graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, learning from a People’s Artiste of the USSR, Bella Rudenko. She sings duets with her mother as well,

performing brilliantly. They both boast clear and truly spiritual voices. My junior daughter, Ksyusha, is a director-choreographer. Since about 1992, I think, my wife also lectures solo singing at the Kiev Music Institute. I began teaching solo singing in 1995, at the Kiev National University of Culture and Arts. I’m a professor, and a member of a range of associations: Ukraine’s Theatrical Figures, the AllUkrainian Union of Belarusians, the Kiev Association of Submariners and the International Organisation of Ukraine’s Kazaks. I’m also an honourable member of Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences. I’m now a significant person who has many titles,” he chuckles. “Importantly, I’m a high rate professional; able to sing jointly with an orchestra, under piano accompaniment or perform operatic roles, of which I have over 30. I have taken part in European festivities in Wiesbaden, Dresden, Strasburg and Paris, and have won numerous international contests. However, I’ve failed to perform in my native country. Several years ago, the Belarusian Embassy invited me to take part in the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk Festival, but as an honourable guest only. I then sent them my repertoire, and was ready to prepare a sound record, but I was

denied. I was invited to come without my songs but I’m not blind or mute. I’m not a celebrity-for-hire so far.” “My dear homeland sent me another invitation as well — to participate in the Independence Day celebrations. I really hope this will come true one day.” “I have many familiar submariners in Belarus. I never served on board, but have friends among seamen, sharing a single soul with them. I’m probably inspired by the sea’s romanticism. No celebrations and congresses are organised without my participation; I sang at the World Submariners’ Congress in Moscow, and took part in events in events Kiev, Brest and Warsaw. I usually perform the seamen’s favourite songs there, such as Evening at an Anchorage, A Submarine, Farewell Rocky Mountains, and others. Seamen view me as their equal, which is pleasant.” “Once a year, I visit my native Azdamichi where my elder brother, Alexey Koval, lives. He is a universal engine driver and has many awards, including the Order of Glory of the 1st Class, the Order of Glory of the 2nd Class and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. I am always happy to visit him. As a rule, I tend to drive to my homeland, the place where my soul rests.” By Valentina and Ivan Zhdanovich

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JOURNEY FOR EVERYBODY

‘Mirnyi’s’

roadshow

Family of famous tennis player to reveal mysteries and beauties of Belarus to television viewers

A

new TV reality roadshow, entitled The Mirnyi Tour Belarus, starts this autumn on TV channels Belarus 2 and Belarus 24. The programme aims to show the ‘real’ Belarus behind the epithets of ‘blueeyed’ and ‘hospitable’. Where do Belarusians spend the weekend and what family recreation possibilities do Belarusian towns and villages offer? Famous tennis player Max Mirnyi has taken the wheel to drive over 2000km through Belarus, together with wife Ksenia, children Melania, Petra and Demid, and father Nikolai Nikolaevich. For a week, the Mirnyi family drove through almost the entire country, filmed visiting Vitebsk, Polotsk, Braslav, Grodno, Lida, Nesvizh, Mir and other Belarusian cities. “I’ve always wanted to show Belarusians where they can go to relax and what to see: we have so many beautiful places here at home,” says Max. “It would be difficult to show all this using just

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JOURNEY FOR EVERYBODY a photo camera, although, that week, with Ksenia, I took more than 2,000 photos: one for every kilometre of the journey. Everywhere, we were followed by the camera crew.” “At first, it was a little uncomfortable,” confesses Max’s wife. “After all, the children and I do not appear as often before the cameras as Max. Soon, we began to enjoy it though, as we were sharing our knowledge of our beloved Belarus. First of all, we were doing it for the children. Max and I always try to share our experience and learning with them.”

tourists,” says Max, smiling. “We went without knowing the road so we were roaming, discovering new villages. When we drove towards Grodno, we were surprised to see a village called ‘Bali’ — just like the famous resort island! I already knew a lot about Belarus, having read about the history and sights, but had never seen them so close. I’d never visited the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the Braslav Lakes or Brest Fortress. I discovered cities and villages and was surprised that all Belarus is so well-kept, clean and incredibly beautiful. In every village,

For a week, the Mirnyi family drove through almost the entire country, filmed visiting Vitebsk, Polotsk, Braslav, Grodno, Lida, Nesvizh, Mir and other Belarusian cities

Vadim Kondrashov

Meanwhile, the adult Mirnyis learned and discovered a great deal. “We packed everything in two cars and fixed an extra trunk on the r o o f . We felt like real

there are painted fences and a church; many have a castle next to the church. Wherever we arrived, we were welcomed incredibly hospitably. In every city, we felt comfortable. If I didn’t need to be close to the international airport, I’d happily exchange Minsk for some other city — such as Lida.” Besides walks, the family tried fishing, swimming and, even, skydiving. Max's father bailed out from a 9-storey building in Vitebsk. “I’d always dreamt of skydiving,” says Nikolai. “But had never done so. My doctor forbade me and Max was afraid, but it was an opportunity! I think my grandchildren were inspired by this act of bravery.” The Mirnyi family rode in a carriage, and tried boating and fighting with swords... “Belarus is a country where you don’t simply go on trips but really relax,” says Max. “Wherever we stayed, there were beautiful stadiums and swimming pools. In the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, we

even discovered a tennis court! At the residence of Father Frost, the children entered a world of fairy tales. If anyone doubts whether Father Frost exists, you’ll be convinced here.” “It was important for us that the children saw the countryside and their native culture,” emphasises Ksenia. “Our youngest, three-year-old Demid, while riding in the car, learned how to distinguish corn from wheat in the fields. We even stopped and picked a spike to demonstrate where bread comes from. Demid learned a phrase written on the stones near the road: ‘Take care of the forest’. Throughout the trip, he read the sign each time it appeared. He also promised Father Frost that he’d become a fire fighter, to defend the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Yuri Yaroshik and Konstantin Pridybailo, who came up with the idea for the show, feel sure that viewers will enjoy following the friendly family’s journey. Filled with energy and good cheer, this is the first such Belarusian TV reality roadshow, promoting the country’s most beautiful sites and giving a little insight into the famous family also. During the trip, Max joined participants of the Nike Junior Tour, taking place countrywide. Five years ago, Max Mirnyi initiated Belarus’ membership of the prestigious international tennis tournament (won by such world stars as Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Gael Monfils). Since then, the best young tennis players of Belarus have had the chance to reach the finals of the competition, hosted by Florida, in the USA. “Across the districts, children, coaches and sports managers should understand that we are paying attention to tennis: not only in the capital but everywhere. In every town, I saw thousands of enthusiastic children’s eyes. We should be doing all we can to help them realise their potential,” asserts Max. “History shows that champions are often born in the most remote villages. There is still much to be done but I'm sure that, if we direct our energy, money and time to promoting tennis, it will work. We’ll find new champions.” By Ludmila Minakova

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Making a name in filmmaking

Shooting of the film, Belye Rosy-2 (White Dew-2), directed by Alexandra Butor, has recently finished. The film is the sequel to the 1983 movie, which became a legend of Soviet filmmaking.

Film with 

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T

Alexander Кovalenko

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Operator Oleg Girel (in the center) is also a debutant

he original, was created by the outstanding Belarusian director, Igor Dobrolyubov, who based it on the screenplay of the well-known play wr ig ht, A lexe y Dudarev. Today, motion picture aficionados consider it a national comedy. Whether spectators will like the new film as much as its predecessor will be seen when it appears on the big screen. So, the shootings are over. Now, when the film is being edited, Alexandra can make sure that everything has been done correctly. When the young director was telling me about the filming, she had a faraway look in her eyes, and, she was reliving those moments of pleasure and happiness which she felt whilst making the film, which, she said, can have its ups and downs. She was happy to talk about the story without any fear of the superstition that one can’t give information about a film before its release. She was even happy to show me several on-set photos, and allowed them to be used in

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the magazine if they were suitable. We hope that her film Belye Rosy-2, and Alexandra Butor, who is a debutant in the big filmmaking, as well as all those who worked on the film, the majority of whom are Belarusian actors, will be successful. For many of them it is their debut also. We hope that they all have a long and beautifully creative life. Alexandra, how did Belye Rosy-2 appear in your destiny? Explain the background. Did you consult your teacher, Alexander Yefremov, when you were thinking of tackling such responsible work or not? Were you afraid or not? After all, you had to deal with such famous names — Dudarev, Dobrolyubov and the huge love of the 1983 film. The background is absolutely unexpected. I was graduating from the Academy of Arts, getting the second higher education of the film director, as my first profession is TV director. Of course, I understood that I needed a project for my debut. Therefore I started preparing it with Yulia Girel, the co-

author of Belye Rosy-2, half a year before graduating. The project was called Sweet Farewell of Vera. We had finished it, and sent it on the competition which was announced by the Ministry of Culture. Suddenly, I received an offer from Oleg Silvanovich, the Director General of the Film Studio "Belarusfilm", to work on Belye Rosy-2. I was shocked! Initially, I said no, I did not want to, as it would be my first film! It’s a huge risk! I was confused. I admit that I was afraid that I could spoil my future in filmmaking if the film was no good. But I had some luck. There was time to think it over as I was going to Yalta for the festival with my graduation work. And there I was with Alexander Yefremov the Belarusian director of foreign drama and films. I did not tell him at once about the offer of Silvanovich. I wanted to, but was afraid of his reaction. But one time, I was sitting near the pool. The sun was shining, the sea was lapping and the atmosphere was pleasant and relaxing. I suddenly saw Yefremov nearby, and I dared to approach him and tell him about the project. It seemed that Yefremov was shocked at first. But he said, ‘If you feel with your heart that you should work on this scenario, to copy Dudarev’s story, then do it.’ For me it was such advice that I did not know what I felt in my heart, or how to hear what it was saying. Did you envisage the future film entirely at once, or did you have to wait in order to understand how it would turn out in the end? When I came back from Yalta, I understood what the film would be about. If destiny had not given me those ten days, I would have refuses the offer, after all, it is hard to deal with such names and such audience love. I returned to Minsk, went to the film studio and told Silvanovich that I would work on the film, because I know how to make it. Have you talked to Dudarev? Indeed. Together with Yulia Girel and Alexey Anufrievich we worked on the scenario. I can’t express the delight I felt meeting Dudarev. This person is a gift which was sent to me by destiny.


Making a name in filmmaking Everything was good and easy. When the work was nearing completion, I gave presents, with different wishes, to all the actors. For example, to Victor Manaev, the Belarusian actor, I wrote that each day filming had been like a holiday. In general, I love shooting so much that filming for me is a fascinating adventure, an enormous pleasure, I adore it. Because of this, I was never tired. People in the group were surprised, and talked about this. Such energy which is not typical of Belarusians. Well, not Belarusian, because I come from the Caucasus, from North Ossetia. My mum is Ossetian, father is Belarusian. Probably, Caucasian energy is in my genes. In general I do not get tired at any shooting. What was the most difficult thing? Nothing! Gradually, when everything started making progress, the feeling that I was making a very good film started coming to me. Certainly, there were moments of adaptation in the group, but they were not painful, and this is natural,

as it happens, when people in a team start to learn each other. And what does Yulia Girel do? She writes scenes for TV. By the way, our scenario Sweet Farewell of Vera has passed the competition and will be launched in February, 2014. Tell us about the actors. How many of them did you have? With whom was it easy to work? With whom it was difficult? What can you say about the youth? Are you satisfied on the whole? Well, actors are my favourite theme. I can talk with pleasure about these remarkable people. In the film there are eleven main characters. And there are a lot of bit parts. By the way, each scene is a whole destiny, character. Vera Polyakova, the leading master of scenes of the Theatre Studio of Film Actor performed a small episode and was so impressed that she shared her opinions with Alexander Yefremov. He suddenly arrived at the film studio, and came to my office. I was speechless with happiness.

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Alexander Ruzhechka

He understood me, and did not put any obstacles in the way of our discussions. He is such a great master, without any dismissive attitude. He consulted me, invited me to his theatre and even asked my opinion about performances. Our relationship became warm, and it was pleasant for me. And what is this film about? Do you have childhood memories connected with the first film? “I wanted to make the film about the return of a family to their home, about its unification. In the 90s, when money began to rule the world, the members of this family went to different parts of the world in search of work. They were scattered all over the world, trying to survive, but, eventually, these people understood that they are alone and that their strength is in unification. So they return to the nest. So I needed spring for this purpose and the storks coming home. Belye Rosy-2 is a film of my childhood. I adored Nikolay Karachentsev. And I was happy to receive such an offer. What do you remember about the filmmaking period? And how did shooting go? Were there any obstacles or did everything run smoothly? What were the most difficult and easiest moments? I remember everything. Certainly, there were some difficulties in the organisational process, and even a desire to refuse the job, which appeared even before shooting started. You know, fear is an unpleasant thing and, as I was a debutant, I felt a worried attitude towards me, as if people were saying ‘Well girl, let’s see what you can do.’ But, I repeat, it was only at the beginning. As for obstacles, there were no obstacles. Everything ran smoothly, thanks to Silvanovich. I am very grateful for the careful attention. When work on the film was started, he told the director of the group, and to other people, that perfect conditions had been created for us. He also asked that nobody distracted us from our work, including journalists. Then, when shooting started, I grew cold from the thought that I had been thinking about refusing this work.

“Belye Rosy-2 is a clever comedy. I and my group have put our souls and hearts into this light film, so it even seemed to me at the beginning — nothing remains for the future. For me this film is like a first love”

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The master came to me with words. Also what is remarkable, what I am proud of and what I have understood recently: I have gathered actors of many leading theatres in Minsk: the Yanka Kupala Theatre, the Belarusian Republican Young Spectators’ Theatre, the Russian Theatre, the Belarusian Drama Theatre and the Belarusian Army Theatre. Lithuania is represented in our film by the Soviet legend, Juozas Budraitis, and Russia by Andrey Merzlikin. They work alongside our actors Sergey Zhbankov, Pavel Kharlanchuk, Victor Manaev, Yulia Smirnova, Anatoly Golub and Galina Kukhalskaya. Everyone is good in his or her own way. Kukhalskaya is so nice; she has a remarkable scene in the film together with Manaev. They are both wonderful. They both work wholeheartedly and are highly professional. The youngest actress is Yulia Smirnova. She is 23 year old, and this is her film debut. I really wanted Yulia for this role. Her appearance is not Belarusian, but eastern. We re-coloured her hair, changed the colour of her eyes with lenses. Yulia was selected for this role, not so much because of changes in appearance, but because she resembles Andrey Merzlikin, who plays her father. Yulia plays a very romantic heroine. Sasha, tell me. Is the myth that Ru ssian ac tors are better than Belarusians eliminated? Well, this is really a myth. About five or six years ago the difference was obvious. At that time, Belarusian theatre actors did not have the experience in filmmaking that they have today. Therefore the difference in skill between the Russian and Belarusian actors is not seen today. Our actors started working in Russian films, and this, certainly, perfected their skills. Take for example a good Russian serial, One-Woman Men; the leading role in it is played by the Belarusian actor, Polina Syrkina. She is wonderful! And Anatoly Golub is also good. They are even better than the Russians. Veronica Plyashkevich, the actor at the Gorky National Academic Drama Theatre, is

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also a wonderful performer. I shot her earlier in preview trailers. We have a lot of very good actors who were not in Belye Rosy. Take for example Sergey Zhuravlev, the national Belarusian actor, I like him very much. He is so bright, too bright for Belye Rosy. When I see him, I have a desire to write separate scenes for this actor. Yes, I need my whole life to shoot all my favourite actors. By the way, in Belye Rosy-2, Manaev plays his first big film

were many books and no TV. When I first got acquainted with Budraitis via Skype, I saw that behind him was a huge bookcase, and was very happy. It should be the same in the film and we made a similar bookcase in Khodas house. In one interview you said that you feel great pleasure when you watch a good film and feel like a spectator, rather than a professional, and that this shows the high quality of work from the director.

role. He is funny and can joke. He said to me, with all his inimitable comedy intonation, ‘Here, Alexandra, we have taken our first steps in filmmaking.’ I would like to work with him again or see him in a drama. Manaev has a lot of film potential. I am happy that I will soon go with him to visit Budraitis. It is doubly pleasant to recollect the warm atmosphere during shooting. I hope that I will work in new films with many actors who has become close to me. Do you think that Juozas Budraitis has grasped the essence of Dudarev's protagonist, Andrey Khodas? He did not need to grasp anything. After reading the script Budraitis said, “I am totally Khodas”. His hero is wise, kind and strong in spirit and body. A person who refused a city, vanity and mad, senseless speed for the sake of harmony with himself and with nature. We made for his character a house, where there

After all, it is not for nothing that people say ‘a director is a soul of a film’. Could you watch Belye Rosy-2 in such a way, or it is impossible for some reason? It is difficult for me to answer this question. I have not seen the whole film yet. But I can tell the one thing. When I worked on the script, and when I was


Making a name in filmmaking This film is about love. There are a lot of beautiful love threads for all ages. There is romantic, children's love, there are also other threads of love; Galyunya and Ivan, whose family life collapses because of household problems, but the people love each other and overcome these problems. There is a love line about Khodas and Irina which is ageless. March the 8th is already spring, and in the film it is also spring. The return of birds — the return of people. What next? Apart from Sweet Farewell of Vera are there any other filmmaking plans? I will tell you a little about this film. If Belye Rosy-2 is a lyrical comedy, so Vera is almost a parable. It is conceived as conver-

Creative “laboratory” of shooting

shooting, certainly, mentally I was sitting in a cinema and was imagining that I was watching it, wondering if it would be interesting for me or not. And now, when the film is being edited, I catch myself thinking that it is interesting for me, that the action grabs me. It is my work, and it is all very valuable to me, therefore it is difficult to separate the director from the spectator. Probably, when time passes, I will see the film as normal spectators will. When we will see the film? In the spring of 2014. We want to time it for the 8th March holiday. I hope that we will be able to do that.

sation about deep things: about loneliness and about that life is worth of living. But the story is very simple — about the love of elderly woman and a young man. I have one actor from Lithuania in mind, Gražina Baikštytė. She played a mother in the film Star Boy. In the script the heroine is 60 years old, and I need a woman who grows old beautifully. Gražina is such. She is a woman of unreal beauty. And it is supposed that Pavel Kharlanchuk will play the young man. I have a big dream. I want to work with Dudarev again. I have an eye on one of his sensational plays. I also dream of shooting a film based on Vladimir Korotkevich’s

Ears under Your Sickle. Perhaps, it will be a serial picture, 10-12 series. Do you still have a love of TV? What projects are in work? I am starting to move away from TV. Certainly, it is nice for me that I have had such projects as Paulinka — NEW. I also shot more than 50 musical clips for the group Tyani Tolkai, stars of Belarusian variety performers, among which are Irina Dorofeyeva, Zhannet, groups Belarusians, LOM. I made tele-programmes and documentaries. I started working on TV during my studies in the Academy of Arts, in 1999. It seems to me that I have done everything that I could on TV. Now my big love is filmmaking. Is your family creative? Does your daughter want to become a director? My husband, Mikhail Tikhonov, the film editor, works in TV. And at the same is getting an education in order to work as an editor in filmmaking. He is a very talented person. Clever, well read and with good taste and my strictest critic. I like to ask his opinion about my work. My daughter's name is Liza, she is 12 years old. She was very glad, when I shot the Paulinka, clips. And now she says with pride ‘I am a daughter of a director’. Why do you think people, including me, love films? Films induce us to dream, and then a light is born in a soul. Therefore I do not like gloomy films that, after watching them, make you want to stop living and hang yourself. I will shoot films that, thanks to which, people will start to believe that could become better. And, so, they will be better. P.S. When the issue was being prepared for publication, Alexandra announced the news that excited the whole shooting team of Belye Rosy-2. “Today we had a really extreme filmmaking day shooting a small scene with Nikolay Karachentsev. Tears of happiness were pouring from eyes of the whole crew, not just the actors! It was a wonderful day!” By Valentina Zhdanovich

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ong life measured off to Ivan Dmukhailo a way which is equal, perhaps, to ‘the way through which our civilisation came’. Born at the very beginning of the war of 1914, he went through the next big war fronts and witnessed the most large-scale environmental disaster in the history of humanity — the Chernobyl catastrophe — which occurred in his native Ukraine, but whose consequences befell the two brotherly peoples. So, Ivan Dmukhailo went a long way, without breaking an instant bond with the nature that he worshiped and where he was looking for balance. The artist was learning secrets of nature — both simple and unachievable in their contradictory complexity — and eventually came to the conclusion that creativity is also a mystery that involves endless transformations. However, their meaning is not in understanding and endless escape from reality, but in disclosure of what surrounds us every day. That is why he became a great creator. Being a man of one’s time is not difficult, because it is impossible to escape from this. Nevertheless, it is incredibly difficult to be an artist of one’s time, to evolve constantly and grow as an old tree. By his nature, Ivan Dmukhailo was a lyrical poet and eternal optimist with a certain note of nostalgia

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for his small homeland and unforgettable youth. The Ukrainian childhood of the artist was hard, but it was like determination for his future way in life. A witness of the forced famine, disappearance of relatives, the would-be artist had an opportunity to see the value of a word and a deed. As if contrary to everything, contrary to difficult and tortuous circumstances of the pre-war period, Mr. Dmukhailo was looking for himself in the Ukrainian language and in the lyrics of parental songs. Being a teenager, he began writing poetry in the Ukrainian language and remained faithful to this till the end. This faith became his

School. Ivan respected his Ukrainian teachers for all his life, because they taught him everything which was important for future profession, because they taught him everything that they themselves knew... The youth of Ivan Dmukhailo is connected with the Great Patriotic War and hard post-war life; there was a lot of bitterness, fear and pain. That’s why it is more wonderful and interesting to look at many of his sonorous and clean pictures — his cheerful art. The situation itself showed that even having just one work devoted to military events it is possible to ‘break’ into classics. In this respect, landscape was not so important while the genre of

Source of sincere feelings Isn’t it a landscape which is the most national genre of the Belarusian fine arts? It is a genre where famous artist Ivan Dmukhailo achieved great triumphs. spiritual bulwark against monotony and platitude. The artist-poet carried in his heart unspeakable love for his native Ukrainian land, for his native language, for his native home. This motif —the motif of his home and the place of his childhood — constantly appears in his works. On the eve of the war, in the worst years for Ukraine, Ivan Dmukhailo managed to get good artistic education in Dnepropetrovsk Art

posters was in high demand. However, the artist did not leave the scenery, remaining faithful to himself. Birch grove, rustling of leaves, placer of delicate spring flowers... Apparently, we should not look for any specific place shown in the picture, either it is Minsk outskirts, or somewhere over the Dnieper and Nieman rivers. It is rather an unreal place, which existed in presentations and impressions. Well, in fact, are birches so slender, is their stature so high?.. In Belarus, which is his second home, the poet-artist met benevolent and kind people: everywhere in scorched by the war Brest, where he started his new Belarusian


ART biography and where he matured as an artist, and in ancient Grodno, where he lived and grew up, and, of course, in Minsk — forever young Minsk — where he spent half of both his human and artist’s life. He became an insider among Belarusians thanks to the colleagues-creators V. Byalynitsky-Birulya and V. Tsvirko. He found home among the artists and thankful fans of Belarusian landscape. At the same time, he has never lost ties with his Ukrainian roots, with his fellow countrymen, who were with him during hard times and strengthened his soul. In the post-war painting the so-called ceremonial-varnished style existed. The conflict-

the reason why among the works of large Belarusian school of landscape his images remain very individual and distinctive by their poetic, melodious mood? Ostensibly simple, hushed Belarusian nature motifs in the works of Ivan Dmukhailo are filled with inner significance. And this feeling of self-worth of all alive, genuine and timid that surrounds a person on the Belarusian land, stirred all his work. Maybe it is no accidental and thanks to his poetic gift, Ivan Dmukhailo keenly valued and loved Belarusian word and vast Belarusian poetry. First of all, he knew and appreciated the personality of poet Yanka Kupala. His landscapes dedicated to Kupala’s

ralistic, or more precisely, geographical passion gives way to attempt of summarising of experience. Paintings become anthems. The epic sweep is conditioned by the efforts to create a simple, clear image of his country. Since 1960s, in the wake of severe style, begins a radical new stage of Ivan Dmukhailo’s work. Dnepropetrovsk education experience more and more goes into oblivion. Captured with Belarusian horizons, which he learned, the artist reveals for himself more relevant painting techniques. The joy of the beautiful infinity expanse of the native country prescribed a new, lightweight, gusty pictorial image. At

free theory pushed artists to construct artificial composition and monotonous smiles on the characters’ faces. But all these are contra-indicated for landscape. Landscape is an honest genre, so truthfulness, sincerity and sense of art are above all. Among other Belarusian masters of landscape Ivan Dmukhailo was distinguished by his own images which he could find everywhere in the local landscape. In the motifs of the Belarusian nature he was able to summarise the story of the eternal truth of the lyrical beauty of the land and its secrets, having reflected this with his own intonations and personal style. Is it

places are a significant contribution to the treasury of the Belarusian national art. Captured by the scale of the personality of the Belarusian national poet, Ivan Dmukhailo in unusual for him genre wrote the painting Awakening, where the characters are Yanka Kupala and his wife. The artist referred to the motifs of the Kupala’s poetry repeatedly in the 1960s and 1980s. The artist sincerely and touchingly loved Belarus, in all its glory, with its great history and breathtaking scenery. He tried with all his power to show in his paintings favourite places of blue-eyed Belarus and the whole universe. In the late 1960s, natu-

that time he created well-known pictures: On the Forest Border, Day Is Breaking, Spring Sun and others. The artist felt our land as something living and unique: whether it was a cloudy day or the March sun over Logoisk spaces, or sky glowing in the waters of Nieman. First of all, he was impressed by the first few moments of dusk, early evening when everything is filled with indescribable mystery, promise of secrets, whispering in quiet and dreamy mood. Before the lights go out. Or already gone out. For example, Winter, painted in 1957, The Night City (1967), Thoughtful (1980) Page

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...The artist was in the continuous search, his style became more and more impulsive and easy. At that time, without exaggeration, Ivan Dmukhailo was one of the obvious masters of landscape, brilliant landscape painter of lyrical moods, soulful singer of Belarusian lakes, fields and forests, floodplain river vistas, sunrises and sunsets, vibrant spring and silent winter, sonorous autumn and sounding hot summer. As for impressions, emotional depth, fine shades of feeling there was perhaps no one equal to him. One of the most optimistic paintings is May. In it, almost with student’s zeal, the artist used techniques of Impressionism.

almost everything about the country. The country — which is learnt in the eternal beauty of landscape art. So, Ivan Dmukhailo is an acknowledged master of landscape painting. His works resemble music that as a balm soothes the soul, gives tenderness and joy. Nature is perhaps the only lady of his thoughts, source of subjects and themes, muse of his work. In Ivan Dmukhailo’s landscapes, there is boundless peace of vast plains, and a dreamy breath of the earth in the autumn mist blankets, and deep warmth of forest thickets on the horizon, and the brightness of a sunny hot summer day. Landscapes are marked with

were painted from his own impressions in the silence of the studio. We rarely see people, and it enhances the atmosphere of mystery, unreality of works. States and types of neighbourhoods — evening, fog, mist, sun at dawn, dusk — have become not material, physical, but spiritual subject of attention, which is common to most paintings. Shift in emphasis — from the image to the statement — more and more took possession of the master's hand and eventually changed the composition of paintings, gave them intimacy, and some special emotions. “The artist is fond of psychological characteristics of the landscape, for which a narrow space is

According to the theory and practice of this trend, all colours exist separately, but our eyes and impressions mix them. Such spectral, not mechanical colours mixing gives an incomparable effect of trembling radiance, incorporeity, greater reality in our imagination than in reality. The fantastic image accurately and easily shows not instantaneous, but a collected impression — recollection of the end of that spring. Ivan Dmukhailo happily escaped the insincerity of the semi-official art. The honest artist of the most honest genre, he left us a world of Belarus — hundreds of landscapes, looking at which you can tell

magical energy, which enhances the sense of real presence of nature in the space of paintings, filled with serenity and sadness, joy and excitement. Light and air which are bound by the ties of sensitivity in smear evidence of the wealth and diversity of the atmospheric ‘palette’, give a feeling of nature through the eyes of the soul. Landscape has become a means of how to show the audience his world of ideas, images and feelings that has always been close to the creator. He often went into the open air, and he had been frantically searching for his place and landscape for a long time. Then many of the paintings

quite enough and they do not require wide panorama. Accurate representation of the mood of the day, moments of nature. A lot of impressiveness, but there is a quiet contemplation. And there is impressionistic lightness. Intimate experience of the world, romanticised landscapes, remarkable painting reflects the state of mind of the author. This creator has always been notable among Belarusian landscape painters. The stylistics and world view of Ivan Dmukhailo as a landscape painter, undoubtedly influenced the development of the Belarusian landscape painting. It would be fair to say that Ivan Dmukhailo

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ART is one of those artists who ‘formulated’ the Belarusian landscape. The colour of his paintings, and plastic form born from gentleness and modesty which are not unique for the Belarusian nature, but which characterise the people of Belarus. Artistic image of works define imagery and poetry. The essence of the content of paintings is revealed through the author's interpretation of natural and philosophical understanding of the motives and events, but also through the tone of melodious combinations. Tenderness, joy, sadness are the feelings which unwittingly capture us when we look at the scenery, and cause a desire to solve the mystery of a painting.

were not so, Ivan Dmukhailo would not be such an exquisite colourist. And a sincere lyricist, far from the transformation era in which he lived. The riotous time marked by revolution, war, socialist slogans ran by Dmukhailo, who remained a dreamer, and till the very end he wanted to get into the essence, the meaning and mystery of nature. He lived at the time when cubism, surrealism, abstract art dominated in the world but he remained a supporter of the realistic school of painting with its imaginative figurative language, which is primarily based on classical forms of art practice, the transformation of national traditions, love of colour, figurative art, search for beauty.

creator possessed when he studied science in Dnepropetrovsk Art School. The young colleague, who after the war remained living in Belarus, was supported by Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya and Vitaly Tsvirko who relied on uncluttered scene, emotionally captured moment, the so-called ‘true vision’: Byalynitsky-Birulya loved net composition and created paintings as a musical suite, and Tsvirko in his paintings of large strokes defined the basic colours and composition dominants. The impact of these famous artists in the early works of Ivan Dmukhailo is extremely obvious. The first works of the artist at once witnessed sincerity, which the author did not try to

Relatives played an important role in the process of maturation of the future master and his birth as an artist. His one great-grandfather was engaged in iconography, the second one was an actor in Kiev Drama Theatre. Mother taught him to listen and feel the nature. One uncle, a monk of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (he later died on Solovki), gave his nephew four colour pencils. Thus appeared love to painting. The artist spent childhood and adolescence in the Ukraine. Here he saw the earth and sky woods and fields, meadows and prospects for the first time. Perhaps, if the places where he was running barefoot,

He was born in the Ukraine, but became a Belarusian Levitan. Honoured Artist of Russia, Ukrainian Cavalier of the Order ‘For Merit’ Ivan Dmukhailo did not distinguish for himself these two homelands. For more than sixty years he has lived in Belarus, often spoke Ukrainian and enthusiastically painted Belarusian landscapes. Belarus fascinated with soft natural colours, simple but memorable motifs that lull the soul and warm the heart. The shape of the object, the weight of matter, the laws of composition, colour combination — all these estimates of academic excellence the

hide. Landscapes were filled with truth and determined by the attention to the nature. In the meantime, the sidelines and plotpart fable did not remain aside. The artist painted the familiar to him from childhood motifs, wherein the composition is built in the sketch loose manner. But there are specifics: place-daub house, a fence with bottles, sunflowers. Later, repeatedly referring to the traditional-achingly nostalgic scenes, Ivan Dmukhailo deprived his paintings of minor details, leaving the canvas piece, hallowed memories of the image of the motherland. Of course, not everything Page

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was perfect in his early --everything very solid and clearly goes into works. However, certain the image of his native land, preservation of simplicity in the supply of images, and the which the artist remembers and cares, the coloristic monotony that could sometimes land that became his home. In some works make up for interpretation of plots, only this idea is expressed associatively, in others confirm that Ivan Dmukhailo came — more directly, clearly and specifically. In organically to his own manner. In his early the painting In the Forest at Night (1967), works there is a hunch later ones, although all the space is occupied by powerful pines, the difference between the first steps and similar to native time guards. It is not just consistency is quite significant. The artist a landscape that touches the soul with refused to emphasise the subject of the elegiac beauty — it is read as mythological, image and the ease and paid attention to a pagan tree worship. The action, as in other sense of moment. Actively experimenting: paintings of the artist is revealed through trying to convey the state of the air through the concentration of thought, emotional a homogeneous saturated colour, ‘grab’ intensity. It brings the viewer to the conclusketchy manner in the time of day, traffic sion that the destruction of the natural lights and shades, lock the exhilaration of human relationships with the environment feeling. He was looking for beauty on the leads to predictable and unpredictable banks of lakes and streams. consequences — as a warning to current Many landscapes of Ivan Dmukhailo and future society that mindlessly transhave become today the golden fund of forms nature, disfiguring its true identity. the Belarusian landscape painting. Artist That is why Ivan Dmukhailo rarely introdenied equal paint duced human figures in pouring. The his works. Environmental colour of his work is epicism captured difficult, physically him completely tangible, and fluid. and did not Ivan Dmukhailo’s leave the plain air works, room for the with the author's emotional message are complemented with equilibrium shapes, colour, and collection of images. Both large format and chamber paintings testify that we face an extraordinary creator, who has his own distinct style, plastic visual language: emotional and increasingly expressive. It is possible to speak about art as about time that it is enshrined, captured in the image. This imagethe image as a reflection of time is characterised in the works of Ivan Dmukhailo by a special attitude to nature, which has been the source, where the artist’s soul came. Almost transparent thin birch trees, forest twilight

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Ecosphere ‘conquerors’. The artist also had panoramic, wide-open landscapes, where a big part of the painting is occupied by the sky. But the sky in the paintings of Ivan Dmukhailo is a little apart, at least not dominant over the earth, and does not show active distinct presence in the paintings shaping structure. For many Belarusian painters the sky is traditionally seen as an accompaniment or even a leading theme of works as an element of emotional sound. In the works of Ivan Dmukhailo the sky has its own role, and the other value that exists in the painting apart from its emotional sphere and refers more to the thought than to feeling. ‘Perspectives’ is characteristic painting, where the linear plot of the hills is couched in the rhythmic of alternation of contour lines that are lost in the endless blue vistas. However, the movement is not developed spontaneously; it is organised by the artist in a given direction. The sight stops for a moment at a lonely green tree and immediately runs on. It is a small stop to catch your breath before climbing the hills — the first, the second... Finally, pushing off them, one begins to wander in colourful clouds. And from there one starts to look at the vistas that stretched below. The sun, that illuminates the ground somewhere from aside, melts the clouds, which are a natural extension of the hills. Such a scale is a tribute to the time that required plans consolidation and monumentalisation of images. Today, more than ever, we feel the need of harmony that would have sounded discordant to catastrophic changes, wars and disasters that accompanied the 20th century. As nature is a source of the artist’s creative activity and creativity of Ivan Dmukhailo is a source of real feelings that makes us more sensitive and not indifferent to Mother-Nature. By Victor Mikhailov


Belarus (magazine #10 2013)