Union State’s 18th anniversary: Quo vadis? (video)

On April, 2 Belarus and Russia celebrate the Day of Unity. 18 years ago presidents Lukashenka and Yeltsin set a course for a ‘deep integration’. But in the 2000s its development plateaued. When Mr Putin’s came to power he staked on the Eurasian Union. Where are the leaders taking their nations to?

As in late 1990s it became clear that the Belarusian president would not head the Union, Minsk’s integration itch faded away. Only some external signs still remain.

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There are flags of the both union states in the Belarusian cities, a gala concert on this special occasion is to be held in the State Opera and Ballet Theatre, but the atmosphere is not festive. Why? Should this day be celebrated in a more triumphant way?


‘Yes, we should, because Russians are our brothers!’

‘We get stuck in a rut and forget about the feasts that should have been remembered because Russia and Belarus are brothers and sisters. And after all, we speak Russian…’

‘It is a Slavic feast, a social one … we should not have split!’

The both leaders exchanged symbolic congratulations on the anniversary. But it is noteworthy that yesterday, on the Day of Unity of peoples of Russia and Belarus, Aliaksandr Lukashenka showed his interest in military cooperation with Ukraine.


‘Ukraine is virtually destroyed at present but the defense industry there is respectable, including the things that interest you. Let’s try to come to terms with Ukrainians and work together to prevent the loss of intellectual and engineering centers, designers in Ukraine.’

At the moment Belarus is so closely linked to Russia in the military field that Moscow will run a united group of forces in case of any war threat. The same is true for other spheres of integration, although Minsk is trying to slow down its pace.

ALIAKSANDR KLASKOUSKI, political analyst:

‘Analysts and experts may be mocking at this integration and its course, but Russia does act surreptitiously weaving its web and drawing Belarus into some deals, mainle economic ones. So, at a critical moment Belarus might not be able to stir.’

The spectacular example of Ukraine proves it. When Kyiv ‘stirred’, the Kremlin showed its readiness to defend their own interests with the help of arms and even seize alien territory. It is highly unlikely that Minsk, which has recently deployed Russia’s fighter jets in Belarus, is in favour of the situation.

YURY CHAVUSAU, political analyst:

‘Belarus keeps following its course, but the loss of face is seen with the naked eye, because the control over its military component has also been lost.’

This bears a strong resemblance to the situation in Crimea where Russian military facilities were on the same terms. According to experts, a lot of Belarusians were concerned over the annexation of the peninsula.


‘Many Belarusians are over the moon saying that ‘Crimea is ours!’, which paves the way for [Russia’s] incorporation of Belarus.’

In this case, we will have to celebrate ‘the Day of Accession’, not the day of Unity.

Usevalad Shlykau, In Focus


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