The work on facilitating visa regulations for foreigners should be continued, Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Thursday.
According to him, incoming tourism has boosted over the past year. But not all is quiet on the eastern front, because of the Russia-Belarus border – ‘the strangest border in Europe’
In 1995, the young Belarusian leader and the then Prime Minister of Russia Viktor Chernomyrdin officially removed the border between the two countries. But in February, Alexander Bortnikov, Head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) ordered to establish a border zone in the regions near Belarus-Russia border. Moscow explains its decision by the need to ‘create the necessary conditions for the protection of the state border’ after Lukashenka signed the decree ‘On the introduction of the visa-free entry and departure for foreign citizens’. The document introduced visa-free entry through the border checkpoint at the Minsk National Airport and the visa-free stay in Belarus for up to 5 days for the citizens of 80 states.
Belsat TV journalists asked residents of Mahiliou, the city in the east of the country, whether Belarus should re-establish border with the Russian Federation.
“A state without borders is not a state at all, but something amorphous,” an aged man said.
“Do we have money? Do we actually control anything? Russia gives us 6 bln a year,” a young man said.
“It is vital we establish a border so that no little green men could come to us. Don’t forget the situation Ukraine.”
“The events of 2014 proved that we should do it. Let the Union State be, but we don’t want them attack us, as it was in Ukraine.”
“There should be careful inspections [at border crossings] to prevent them from bringing propaganda materials or other bad things into Belarus.”
“My dream is to turn Khoiniki and Chashniki into border town! I want our border troops to be deployed there!”
In addition, a task to smooth border-related differences with the Russian side was set by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on Thursday. It would be difficult, because the Kremlin’s master has its own view on the issue. Lately, Vladimir Putin has expressed it in a joke, i.e. “Russia’s border ends nowhere.”