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Meeting on the development of the Russia-Belarus cultural and humanitarian ties

February 15, 2019, Sochi

Vladimir Putin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko had a meeting at the Sirius Education Centre, where they discussed the prospects of developing bilateral cooperation in culture, education and sports.

Russia was represented by Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, Science and Higher Education Minister Mikhail Kotyukov and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

Before the meeting, the leaders of Russia and Belarus toured the facilities of the Sirius Education Centre. In particular, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko visited genetic engineering laboratory classes and research labs.

Sirius Centre Director Yelena Shmelyova told the presidents about the centre’s original sports education programmes and presented the ICEBERG unique system of hockey analytics, which proved very helpful in analysing experimental training and selection programmes for young hockey players. The system was created by Russian developers and successfully tested by the NHL, the KHL as well as several Russian and foreign clubs.

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Excerpts from the transcript of a meeting on the development of Russia-Belarus humanitarian ties

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, friends.

Two days ago we opened this session of intergovernmental contacts with a meeting between our colleagues who are in charge of the economy, finances, industrial production and agriculture.

Mr Lukashenko and I agreed that today we will arrange a meeting between our colleagues in the cultural and humanitarian sectors who deal with education, science, sports and arts. Therefore, on the Russian side you can see here Sports Minister [Pavel Kolobkov], Culture Minister [Vladimir Medinsky] and Science and Higher Education Minister [Mikhail Kotyukov].

I hope that today we can start or continue, to be more precise, our dialogue at this high expert level on the issues of cultural and humanitarian cooperation. This is an extremely important area that is crucial for the development of today’s world in general and our countries in particular.

Of course, Mr Lukashenko and I constantly talk about this and look into this but we would like our colleagues at such a high ministerial level to meet and discuss developing cooperation in these areas.


Alexander Lukashenko: We have built a good system together, Mr President. Look, at the regional level, we are hosting forums, giving the regions a chance to meet. And the effect is tremendous: we are now concluding contracts directly, and so forth. This is a testament to our agencies’ efforts. It is the same everywhere. I reiterate that the fact that we appeal to humanitarian ministries and departments less is nothing to brag about.

Take our ministries of foreign affairs, defence, economy, finance and others – they often meet outside the joint ministerial councils or in other formats. They are probably often criticising us for meeting too often (some get jealous), but they spend even more time together at meetings, discussing these issues.

That is why this is a great event that will keep expanding. This will be a good example for other heads of ministries, agencies and regions, and it will keep enriching our cooperation in general – the cooperation between Belarus and Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,

Indeed, the President of Belarus said it right. In our practical everyday work we pay much more time and attention to cooperation in the spheres of international affairs, defence, security, economy, finance and industrial production, and to collaboration in these spheres.

What our colleagues here today are doing serves as the foundation and the basis for the development of any society, because everything that is being carried out in this sphere is focused on people and on developing so-called human capital. Without it, it is impossible to solve any issue whatsoever: it will either not be addressed at all or very poorly, which does not meet our interests, our needs, requirements or the imperatives of our time, the imperatives of the present day.

That is why I believe today’s meeting to be of great importance. If the President does not mind, I would like to suggest our colleagues analyse both ongoing work and today’s discussion. It would probably be right to ask our colleagues to host joint meeting of boards of relevant ministries and make joint short- and medium-term plans for work and cooperation. If the President agrees, we would like to ask you to do that.

Thank you all very much.

February 15, 2019, Sochi