ASTANA – Dmitry Ostankovich, leader of Radima Belarus ethno cultural centre, recently noted ethnic Belarussians living in Kazakhstan will make every effort to promote the virtues associated with Kazakhstan’s identity modernisation. He spoke about this and other topics in a recent interview with The Astana Times.
Of approximately 60,300 Belarussians currently residing in Kazakhstan, most live in the Kostanai (21,000), Karaganda (18,000) and Akmola regions (16,000). Approximately 3,700 live in the capital and their representatives founded the centre in 2013, uniting people who care deeply about preserving and promoting the Belarusian language, traditions, customs and history.
“In a short period of time, our centre managed to conceive and hold various cultural projects. We organise presentations and roundtables and try to make them appealing to all the ethnic groups in Kazakhstan. There is a folklore ensemble called Vyaselka functioning inside the centre which is a regular participant in various festivals and contests. The primary focus of its work is performing songs that stimulate love for the motherland and the high spiritual values of our people,” said Ostankovich.
The centre has 40 active members, including students, public service workers, doctors and business people. Radima provides opportunities for them to communicate and pursue common goals.
Ostankovich noted the centre is personally important to him.
“The desire to continually develop prompted me to lead the centre. However, it is also a huge responsibility and I cannot let people down who trusted me with this mission. Thanks to the centre and the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan, I have made a lot of friends in our country and abroad and they are not only Belarussians. I can also perform my original songs during various events,” he said.
“Our centre’s activities are not financed by a particular organisation. We function thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of our members, the assistance of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan and the Embassy of Belarus in Kazakhstan. This support allows our centre to work actively for the sake of peace and friendship,” he added.
Radima has set the 2018 goal of stepping up its activities. The centre is currently working to launch a Sunday school in the city and is also determined to work on the Nadezhda youth organisation, which unites young people and children.
“They have their own special interests and life attitudes. At the same time, they treat the Belarus culture and the culture of nations residing in Kazakhstan with great respect,” he said.
The ethno cultural centre and Belarussians can contribute to Kazakh social life. In his programme article “Course towards the Future: Modernisation of Kazakhstan’s Identity,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev called for improving society by preserving all the best of its behavioural and cultural aspects accumulated by tradition and the history of the peoples residing in Kazakhstan.
“The representatives of the Belarus nation have lived on the gracious land of Kazakhstan for more than 150 years. We deserved the sincere respect and love of millions of Kazakhstan people due to our natural kindness and diligence. Therefore, we would like to continue to be a great example of hard work and friendliness,” said Ostankovich.
“We aspire to strengthen the trust and friendly ties between ethnic groups in Kazakhstan. It is of vital importance to take the good virtues from every one and learn from each other. In our centre, we will make every effort to develop in all the directions of spiritual modernisation, such as competitiveness, pragmatism, preservation of national identity, cult of knowledge, evolutionary development and open mindedness,” he added.