On Friday, 24th July, the press tour for the representatives of Belarusian and Russian mass media “Organization of production, processing and trade of agricultural products in the Republic of Belarus” came to an end. A distinctive feature of this press tour was the fact that it was held hot on the heels of the “milk conflict”. It has given the event extra topicality and salt.
At the same time it is impossible to resolve existing differences just keeping silent and pretending as if nothing happened. Mass media is deservedly called the forth estate. Lacking formal accoutrements of power the press can influence people’s hearts and minds in word and image and in this way specificate problem points.
During a three-day tour Russian and Belarusian journalists were able to become familiar with the whole production chain in Belarusian agriculture – from cash farms through processing enterprises to commodity distribution network. For instance, within the framework of the tour the work and the produce of the public corporation “Molochny Mir”, branch of the public corporation “Grodnokhleboprodukt” “Plemptitseproduktor Yubileiny”, farms “Novy Vek” of regional agricultural unitary enterprise “Mozheikovo”, public corporation “Lidskoe Pivo”, joint public corporation “Kommunarka” and unitary enterprise “Komarovski Rynok” were demonstrated to the journalists. Moreover, the members of the press were familiarized with the work of the public corporation “Lidselmash”.
Besides that, during the press tour the journalists met the Chairman of Grodno regional executive committee Vladimir Savchenko and Minister of Agriculture of Belarus Semion Shapiro. At these meetings the representatives of local and central authorities answered pressmen’s questions. Above all, the journalists were interested in the issues which are concerned with the process of reissuing documentation for Belarusian milk produce, employment of rural population, peculiarities of Russian and Belarusian milk produce standards. One of the sharpest questions asked was about the level and form of state support lent to agricultural sector. Answering it, Semion Shhapiro rejected the accusations that Belarus intends to undermine Russian agriculture subsidizing heavily its own farming industry. He emphasized that the scale of Belarusian and Russian rural economy are incommensurable. Within the Union State Belarus and Russian are constantly coordinating their food plans. Thus, Belarus does not threaten Russian producers but just helps to close the positions that Russian can’t manage itself yet.
The “milk conflict” that flared up between Moscow and Minsk provoked hail of unfair and ungrounded criticism in the news which only aggravated the problem. For true, unbiassed and constructive criticism, the existing problem moments should be considered in the field. Within three days Belarusian and Russian journalists had an opportunity to become familiar with the state of affairs in Belarusian agriculture with their own eyes. In perspective it will lead to more impartial reports about Belarusian-Russian relations both in farming industry and in general.