Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a comment on the reports about Vladimir Putin’s intention to become the head of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.
“Not a single part of the Union Treaty implies that there is a purpose to set someone on a presidential throne. Read the text of the treaty. You are professionals. There is not a word about it,” Lavrov said in an interview with RBC.
In December 2018, the chief editor of “Echo of Moscow” Alexey Venediktov told the audience how Moscow was viewers the possibility of the annexation of Belarus. Venediktov is known for his informal friendship with many representatives of the Kremlin, in particular, with Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
In January, US journalist and historian Anne Applebaum warned in her article written for The Washington Post that Vladimir Putin’s appetite had grown; according to her, as Russia’s economy is far from perfect and his popularity is sliding, Putin may set his sights on Belarus.
In April, well-known Russian journalist Nikolai Svanidze said with reference to his sources in government circles that the Kremlin offered the seat of the Union State prime minister to Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
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.
On December 25, Lukashenka and Putin agreed to establish a working group on the integration within the Union State. Later, the leaders of Belarus and Russia repeatedly got back to the subject. However, the details of the negotiations remain under wraps. For example, the government refused to disclose any information to opposition MPs Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya. Oddly, Belarusian prime Minister Uladzimir Makey remained tight-lipped about the talks saying that it would be ‘premature’.
Meanwhile, opposition activists who believe that our country does not need the Union State, have launched the public campaign ‘Belarus Go!’ They are collecting signatures for our country’s withdrawal from the alliance.