A source from the Kommersant newspaper represented by Russian officials said that Moscow had confronted Alyaksandr Lukashenka with a choice: first, integration, then economy.
The source also confirmed that at the December 11 talks in Moscow Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak brought communicated this position to Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Ihar Lyashenka: “If a boy wants to marry a girl, he must first get married and sign the documents. And then live on the new budget. ”
On December 14, Alyaksandr Lukashenka gave a press conference to the Russian media, where he stated that Belarus would never give up its sovereignty.
“If they want, as Zhirinovsky proposed, to divide us into regions and shove into Russia — this will never happen,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, he noted that Belarus also was not rejecting integration projects with Russia. Minsk is ready for integration, but under the conditions of “non-discretionary execution of the agreements reached”. For example, gas prices for Belarus are to be reduced to the level of domestic Russia prices and Russia is to compensate the losses of the Belarusian budget originating in the “tax maneuver”.
According to Kommersant, Moscow promptly responded to Lukashenka’s statements. A few hours later, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Anton Siluanov said that Minsk should not count on compensation for losses from the tax maneuver without an additional “new impulse” in integration.
Earlier, on December 11, Russian-Belarusian negotiations about tax maneuver loss compensation and gas discounts were thwarted in Moscow. On December 11, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak refused to discuss these issues with the Belarusian delegation “until fundamental decisions are taken on the further integration of Russia and Belarus within the framework of the Union State”.
Two days later, at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that a common policy in the sphere of prices and tariffs was possible only if the agreement on the Union State was implemented. It is about creating a single emission center, common customs, courts and clearing houses.