Lukashenka blasts pro-Western reformers, but promises to improve relations with EU, USA

Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka has denied the need of structural reforms as they are ‘forced from the outside’, he said in his inauguration speech on Friday.

“Nowadays too much is being talked and written about structural reforms, but nobody says what it means. What are these reforms?” Lukashenka wonders.

“If anyone is in favour of conductiong reforms, be sincere and admit that [in this case] the political system, the state system [of Belarus] has to be broken down , that state-owned property has to be divided, cut into pieces and given away! It is the reforms we are being pushed to. Some persons are ready to pay a lot for these reforms,” the Belarusian leader said.

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According to Lukashenka, Belarus should learn from mistakes of countries that previously implemented similar reforms suggesting that Russia’s and Ukraine’s performance was poor.

There have been many proposals of reforms from a number of top officials, the president admitted. But in his opinion, Belarus’s economic and social model is doing well.

“What’s wrong with the system we have created?” he wonders.

The Belarusian social security system, including healthcare and education, has many advantages and achievements, Lukashenka stressed. He also declared against introducing private land ownership and giving away the lands to farmers saying that agriculture still needs state support.

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Although the Belarusian leader slammed the idea of ‘ill-considered’ reforms and their promoters in his speech, he also expressed his readiness to cooperate the U.S. and the EU.

“Nothing prevents us from letting go of our past and restarting the relations from a clean slate. We are ready for it and expect our Western partners to be equally ready,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him as saying.

Indeed, Lukashenka wants more cooperation with Western partners and more Western investment in the country, but reaching the goal, he is hardly ready to pay the costs in the shape of reforms.