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“I am glad to welcome you at the Council of the Republic. I learned about the Russian Union of Women at the Eurasian Women's Forum that took place in St. Petersburg under the tutelage of Valentina Matviyenko. Now we are again preparing for this important event. I am glad about such good relations between our organizations and about partnerships between women of our countries. Women can do a lot. I always say: we can do everything. We only need to unite our efforts in order to jointly address big challenges facing our countries and our women today,” Natalya Kochanova said.
The speaker noted that on 1 October Belarus is marking a sad event. “Today we paid our last respects to a KGB officer. A young officer, a patriot of his country. It so happened that he died defending his country,” she noted. “In 2020 a serious ordeal befell on us. It came largely out of the blue. Sometimes I woke up and thought: is it really happening in Belarus? Even today these forces are doing everything to destabilize the situation in Belarus, in order to ruin it and simply tear our country apart. There is no doubt about that. And this young man died doing his duty to defend the Motherland and our people. It is such a tragedy,” Natalya Kochanova said.
Natalya Kochanova added: Belarus survived then and will survive now. "We are grateful to our Russian brothers for the support. You have always been there for us and have always showed your support. This support was needed then, and it is needed now as we are signing the road maps to advance our integration. This is very important," she stressed.
Yelena Drapeko, a member of the Russian State Duma, Secretary of the Presidium of the Central Council of the party "Fair Russia - Patriots - For the Truth", thanked the unions of women of the two countries for such a meeting. "We have had an opportunity to talk not only to business, journalists but also to each other. We agreed to cooperate on several topics. Today, in the State Duma, I am in charge of two working groups. One of them tackles illicit export of cultural property. Together with Belarus, we are members of the EAEU. Today we have not yet addressed the issue of internal movement of cultural property, and secondly, of the unified registers of stolen cultural property prohibited for export. These registers are needed for our customs and border authorities, as valuables are moved to third countries," she said.
According to her, the second line of interaction is search teams. "In the Russian Federation, we are faced with a problem when archaeological sites and land are in separate ownership, while the remains of our soldiers who died during the Great Patriotic War, the First World War are not. Private land owners sometimes prevent search operations on their land. These issues need to be addressed by law.
We will work together and perhaps will reach an agreement between Russia and Belarus, and possibly within the EAEU, on these issues,” the Russian MP said.
The delegation included Yelena Kalinina, Rector of St. Petersburg Social and Economic Institute, Chairperson of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian public and state organization “Russian Union of Women”-“Women's Alliance”. “The task of our organization is to develop friendly and international relations between companies, people. Last year we signed a cooperation agreement with the Belarusian Women's Union. We have outlined a number of activities to fill the agreement with real content and to make our activities useful. We need personal meetings to determine the ways of further development. No matter how perfect modern communication technology is, a face-to-face meeting, voice, facial expression, and eyes – all this is very important. That is why, despite all current difficulties, the major part of our delegation is here today. We are having a constructive conversation. We are talking about the future. We are talking about what factors should be created or eliminated in order to make the cooperation between the women of Russia and Belarus effective. We have brought the project “Women of Russia and Belarus: Mission of Creation”. It seems to me that in contrast to all these protest actions, in contrast to the distortion of our history and attempts to destroy the good attitude and respect towards each other, we want to present our intention to cooperate. We are discussing concrete measures. Through exhibitions and conferences, we create conditions for companies to cooperate, and that is why our delegation comprises business owners and heads of business associations,” she said.