DS: Last country where you were based before coming to South Africa
HE: Geneva, Switzerland, Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva. I was posted there twice. I must say that Geneva is a perfect school for diplomats and for the diplomatic career.
DS: Most interesting place in South Africa
HE: Hard to choose just one. There are many and all of them are unique and special: mother-city Cape Town, St.Lucia, Drakensberg, Augrabies Falls, Mpumalanga, Garden Route and many others.
DS: Your impression about South Africa
HE: In this regard I always quote one famous saying “Africa is not just a place, it's a feeling. Africa is the heart of the world and there are only a few of us who have been touched by her.” I’d like to hope that after more than 4 years here I may associate myself with those “a few”. South Africa in particular is so diversified, multifaceted, exciting and amazing.
DS: One place you would like to be posted to or visit
HE: After South Africa it’s hard to wish something else. But I’m quite attracted by Japan.
DS: Most memorable appointment thus far
HE: This is my first ever appointment as an ambassador of my country. It so happened that South Africa became the country where I’ve headed the Belarusian diplomatic mission for the first time.
DS: Most challenging situation that you had to handle thus far
HE: For my 23 years of being in a diplomatic career there were many challenges. But I will never forget my first years of government work. It was a period of establishment of the new young independent state of Belarus.
DS: My inspiration is/comes from.
HE: Firstly from my family, Mom and Dad, and second from my country, which after a long period of being a part of other states has got a chance to choose its own historical path and model of development in accordance with the interests of Belarusians themselves.
DS: Place in your country that you love to visit.
HE: Belarus is a country of forests and lakes. I love to spend my spare time in nature. Naroch lake, Braslav lakes, Belovezhskaya puscha (virgin forest) are my favorite places.
DS: Most interesting place to visit elsewhere
HE: I’ve never been in the southwestern Pacific. I’d like to see New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and other countries in that region.
DS: Favourite dish of your country
HE: Of course it’s “draniki” (balarusian style potato pancakes) and “machanka” (a meat based stew/soup/sauce).
DS: Tastiest dish of another country.
HE: Being in South Africa I couldn’t name any other dish than the amazing braai steak and oxtail stew.
DS: The best book I have ever read.
HE: In my childhood all books I read were the best. Now, I’m fastidious and critical. I cannot single out just one. I love works of Belarusian classics such as Vasil Bykov, Jakub Kolas, Uladzimir Karatkevich. They all are about my people, my mother land, things which are known and close to me.
DS: At the moment I am reading
HE: There’s not much time left for reading but now I’m carried away by Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and finishing A.Conan Doyle’s “The Great Boer War”.
DS: I spend my leisure time
HE: In South Africa it’s travelling, golf, hunting and “braai” with friends, of course.
DS: One sentence describing a lesson that you have learnt from being a diplomat
HE: Sincere, respectful, friendly, equal and fair attitude will always be appreciated and rewarded in diplomatic work.