‘Integration processes’ on trend: Putin phones Lukashenka

The presidents of Russia and Belarus had a telephone conversation on March, 26.

The two leaders discussed current aspects of Russian-Belarusian relations with an emphasis on the development of cooperation within the Union State. They also touched on integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union, the Kremlin press service reports.

The telephone conversation was held upon the initiative of Russian partners, Lukashenka’s administration stressed.

According to the official website of the president of Belarus, the parties also talked over bilateral interstate relations and some of the issues on the international agenda. Putin and Lukashenka also discussed the schedule of forthcoming contacts in Nur-Sultan (former Astana) and Beijing as part of international forums.

A month ago, the Russian president said the cooperation in the framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus should be ‘further developed’.

Union State of Russia and Belarus turns 20

The topic of integration and the creation of a union state under the 1999 treaty was widely discussed after the statement by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in December last year in Brest.

“I want to emphasize: Russia is ready to continue to move along the path of building the Union State, including the creation of a single emission center, a single customs, court, and a chamber of accounts in the manner prescribed by the agreement on the creation of the Union State of December 8, 1999,” said Dmitry Medvedev during the Union Council of Ministers in the city above the River Buh.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka became outraged by the statement. “I no longer say a brotherly state, because, as they report to me, in Russia this is not perceived as such. Apparently, new people came [to power] for whom this concept is unacceptable. Well, then we will be partners,” he said.

At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.

In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made.

On April, 2 Belarus and Russia celebrate the Day of Unity. This year, the Minsk authorities turned down pro-Russian organizations’s application for authorizing a picket on the occasion.