An informal meeting, frank conversation, the most awkward and pressing issues – this format has become an accustomed standard of a dialogue of Head of State Alexander Zakharchenko with the younger generation. The meeting that took place in the Donbass National Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DonNACEA) on March 21 was no exception.
At the meeting, the students not only asked a Donbass leader about his vision of DPR's future, with respect to both internal development and external relations, as well as the geopolitical situation, but also proposed their ideas for the Republic's development strategy The Strength of Donbass.
Thus, future professionals asked to consider as closely as possible the issues of the first job, the state procurement and the distribution of graduates to state-owned enterprises. Alexander Zakharchenko called on the students to participate in the process of changes themselves.
"The Strength of Donbass is the everyday work of each of us. Our strength lies in unity, in striving to move forward in our land, but the main strength of Donbass is people! In each of you there is the strength of Donbass. I have already more than once said that it is for you, for the youth, that we are building the state. Therefore, you must become the ones to build your future. This is not a privilege, but a duty," the Head of State said.
Alexander Zakharchenko supported almost all proposals of young people concerning employment, the work of student construction teams, the development of distance learning and the provision of textbooks, training at enterprises and obtaining diplomas from foreign countries. In particular, when talking about the need to systematize students' internship, the Head of State gave the following example.
"Literally yesterday I visited an art school. It turned out that one of the main problems young artists face is to pass applied practical work. And the total number of artists in the Republic is not so big – up to 30 people. Therefore, I ordered that each state enterprise of the country undertake this obligation. But, our youth are right when they advocate the legislative consolidation of all these stages of the development of young professionals. I ask the deputies of the People's Council to consider all proposals and submit them to a bill," the Head of State replied.
In general, discussing the reform of the education system, Alexander Zakharchenko said that it would include all the best points of the Soviet system.
"The level of education in the USSR was rightfully considered to be the highest one. At present, the Finnish education is considered to be the most effective, it is known that 70% of it consists of the Soviet education foundations. It is necessary to return this well forgotten old basis, including the glory as the most reading people," the Head of the Republic said.
Students also raised the topic of increasing scholarships.
"Of course, I understand that the current scholarships rate is completely inadequate. This issue is being considered. We are searching for ways through which the state could raise it. This applies to minimum wages and pensions as well. I will not say the exact date, but I will do everything possible to increase the payments to students," Alexander Zakharchenko promised.
When asked the question about future relations with Ukraine, the Head of State stressed the necessity to distinguish the Ukrainian people and the illegal Kiev authorities.
"I have always said that we are fighting not with the Ukrainian people, but with the part of the population of Ukraine who are infected with the virus of Nazism. One cannot live as before if the country has allowed itself to pour a large part of its territory with blood. Tens of thousands of killed, hundreds of perished children, destroyed schools, kindergartens, hospitals. If the state throws an entire army to suppress dissenters, then it is no longer a state, and the army does not belong to it anymore. Ukraine has lost control over the armed forces, over the territory, and most importantly, it has lost the confidence of the population in their country. What will happen next – depends, first and foremost, on the Ukrainians themselves. I am sure that Ukraine will face big changes in the near future. And we will have to build our policy of relations with Ukraine regarding those changes. But it is necessary to live on the conditions of good-neighborliness and mutual benefit, and not to surrender any interests of our country in favour of politics. We must show Ukraine that we are building the state in which we want to live. And we will live better than Ukraine. We do not sell our land, we do not cut our forests, and we do not close factories. In fact, there are hundreds of development models. We will be vigilant, but build our state," Alexander Zakharchenko said.
At the end of the meeting, the Head of the Republic confessed to the young people what he wants the youth to be like.
"Tomorrow one of you will be in my position. Therefore, be brave, even get real teeth, strive to live better, and do not be afraid of changing the future. Everything is in your own hands!" he said.
The youth wished Alexander Zakharchenko to find more time for communication with his family, and students-architects presented the Head of State with a model of a holiday house for him to gain inspiration.
Alexander Zakharchenko promised that further informal meetings of such a nature and dialogues with young people will take place.
Official translation by DONi News Agency