Russia’s President visits Minsk on Independence Day: Who’s in the driver’s seat? (video)

Vladimir Putin arrived in Minsk on a working visit. It is the eighth time the leaders of Belarus and Russia have met this year. The celebration of Belarusian Independence day might have been mentioned as a formal motive for Putin’s trip to our country but Russia’s President is not expected to attend a military parade. It is noteworthy the information about the visit became known only a day before his arrival.

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{movie}Russia’s President visits Minsk on Independence Day: Who’s in the driving seat? (ENG subs)|right|17264{/movie}

VALER KARBALEVICH, political analyst:

‘Taking into account today’s political situation the subject of the war, the victory over fascism is of significant inportance to Putin. He is getting additional benefit from it. That’s why Putin could not but participate in the celebration.’

According to both Presidents’ press offices, a great deal of issues was to be discussed.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia’s President:

‘Russia and Belarus will continue to cement good-neighbour ties as parts of the Union State. New promising opportunities are provided by the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union which is to come into effect on January 1, 2015.’

The relations between the Customs Union’s members are a bit strained, experts say. Neighbouring Ukraine is facing problems due to Russia’s actions. Belarus and Kazakhstan disobeyed Russia’s wishes in the Ukrainian issue: Minsk and Astana decided against imposing economic sanctions on Kyiv at the recent meeting of the Eurasian Union Commission. At the same time, Aliaksandr Lukashenka repeated his promise to Vladimir Putin that Belarus and Russia ‘would always be together‘.

ALIAKSANDR KLASKOUSKI, political analyst:

‘Lukashenka is not happy about it because it bids a defiance to his power, to his mastery over the country. If Belarusians have strong pro-Russian sentiments, Moscow might use them in a certain moment and a Crimean or Donetsk-like scenario might be performed in Belarus.’

During the parade on the occasion of Independence Day Russian militants who arrived in the Belarusian capital at the same time as Mr Putin did are expected to display their force. The deeper the integration processes are the more Aliaksandr Lukashenka is getting concerned, experts state. In his latest address to the nation Lukashenka put an emphasis on Belarusian independence – it seems as if he tried to forestall Putin’s visit.

ALIAKSANDR KLASKOUSKI, political analyst:

‘In my opinion, Putin is not going to kill Lukashenka’s mood on such a day. Referring to integration, the Belarusian side is highly likely to seize the occasion and ask for money to prevent the Belarusian rubel’s crash. I believe such requests might be made behind the scenes.’

Vladimir Putin marked traditional ‘brotherly’ and winning relations between the countries. By the way, a year ago Ukraine was ‘a brother’, too.


For the first time, Russia’s Air Force will deploy its aircraft for participation in Belarus’ Independence Day parade, namely, Ka-52 attack helicopters and Su-34 bombers. Troopers of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division are also to take part in the parade. The show will feature a total of 40 military aircraft, including Mi-2, Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, MiG-29 fighters, Su-25 ground attack planes, an Il-76 cargo aircraft, and L-39 trainer jets. Apart from aircraft, the parade will feature Russia’s Iskander and S-400 missile systems and GAZ Tigr, a multipurpose, all-terrain infantry mobility vehicle.

The official Independence day is celebrated on July 3, on the day of liberation of the Belarusian capital from German invaders. Such decision was taken by the republican referendum held in 1996. Earlier the Independence day had been commemorated on July 27, its celebration being coincided with the day of passing the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990.

The opposition does not recognise the official Independence Day. According to them it is the March 25, 1918 that should be taken as the starting point of the Belarusian independence. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the Belarusian National Republic that came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. Opposition activists and civil society actors celebrate the anniversary of the proclamation of the BNR annually.

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