The state radically changed its attitude to ideology and ideological work after the presidential election.
Maybe it would not be quite modest to admit it openly, but the matters stood exactly in this way. Just recall to your memory: prior to the establishment of the institute of presidency we were afraid of mentioning the words `ideology' and `ideological work' in public.
However, the personal conviction of the Head of the State for the need to have the state ideology is one thing. Another thing is availability of academicians, writers, journalists, in a word, creative and gifted personalities, “piece goods suppliers”, who would be ready by vocation (not under compulsion) to create the ideological basis of the independent Belarusian state.
Lot many times we tried to involve our glorious army of doctors and candidates of science, research establishments and training institutions. The feedback proposals weren't few (some of them even in the form of solid monographs). But all of them can be boiled down to two so to say formulas: “let us do as it is in the West” or “let us turn back to the Soviet practice.”
Our ideological headquarters — the Presidential Administration — has proved to be fully impracticable too. Just meetings, assignments, authors' collectives, reports — adding nothing to the output. The same formalism.
Under such conditions, the Head of the State had to take everything upon himself and, proceeding from life and not from theory, to put the ideas generated and gained though suffering by our people on the foundation of the Belarusian independent statehood.
Perhaps, it was logical that it was the first President who perceived sharper and more accurately the ideas, expectations and hopes gained through suffering by the society. I would add: it is not myself that matters but the fact that you and the people created an opportunity for me to say clearly and to “axe ready” some major areas of the ideological work. For instance, bilingualism. Had it not been for the institute of presidency or, rather, even if it had been, but the President would not have had powerful authority, the President would never have been able to say the unambiguous “yes” to the Russian language alongside with the Belarusian language. You remember what the times were when it was said. It was the period when all were regarded as traitors and betrayers. The people did create the opportunity for me to say and to “axe clear”, via the referendum in that case.
As a matter of fact, in the mid 90s, my pre–lection programme had become the first manifesto of the Belarusian state ideology, although the programme outlined but generally and hintingly the future ideological bases of our society.
The Belarusian ideology must be oriented towards the values traditional for our civilization: ability to work not only for the lucre, but also for the benefit of the society, for the collective, for other people.
Belarus is our common home and everyone should feel warm and comfortable here. All of us are united by the noble goal — strong and prosperous Belarus.
I believe I ought to, perhaps, meet with representatives of the intellectuals who hold patriotic views. And the main focus should be on creative work — creation of works that would enter the treasure–trove of the present–day, independent Belarus. I am not going to dictate to whoever what to write. Most important, the works must be highly artistic. In that case, the issue of funding can be removed by itself, because the state is ready to pay world prices for works of the world quality level.
State ideology and NGOs
Above all else, I'd refer to youth and trade union associations, which must be playing a key role in the ideological work.
A little bit more that half a year ago, following the merge of the Belarusian Patriotic Youth Union and the Belarusian Youth Union (the legal successor of the Belarusian Komsomol), a powerful youth organization was created — the Belarusian National Youth Union (BRSM). I was directly involved in that process. The BRSM received all possible kinds of support.
The impression was that this most mass–scale organization, enjoying personal support of the Head of the State, could have moved mountains. It could have consolidated all the youth, have united around itself all the other youth associations. Instead, our powerful united youth organization is a member of the association of youth organizations “Rada,” on equal terms with other organizations, including manifestly pro–opposition organizations.
All that happens with the full connivance of the Ministry of Education, the Presidential Administration, the Government, which are supposed to guide this youth movement…
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