Speaking in Minsk today, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says that “under the pretext of ‘deep integration,’” Moscow wants to make Belarus part of Russia, an action he said he would never agree to and one that he suspects the Russian authorities have not fully thought through given its obvious negative consequences.
Many Russian officials suggest that all problems in relations with Belarus will be solved with further “deep integration,” but what they mean, Lukashenka continues is contained in the remarks of others who says “we are ready for you as six oblasts to become part of the Russian Federation.”
Worse yet, the Belarusian leader says, Moscow is currently talking about things like the creation of a currency union with a common central bank, but this means, he suggests, “building the union from the roof rather than from the foundation” as is required, if it is to be stable and long-lasting.
As Belsat reported, Lukashenka “declared that integration with Russia must occur in a step-by-step fashion and under conditions of the complete fulfillment of all previous agreements.” If these are not fulfilled,” he said, “there is no union,” his clearest rejection yet of Russian pretensions.
It is “senseless,” he continued, for the Russian side to try to get its way by threats and backroom deals. “I cannot go in for behind the scenes machinations. Everything must be honest and open.” And that requires admitting that many of the things Russia says about its economic assistance simply aren’t true.
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