On December 25, Vladimir Putin was to meet with Russian MPs. But due to his prolonged dinner with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the event was deferred. While waiting for the Russian leader, deputies of the State Duma were asked by TV channel Rain about the Belarusian-Russian integration.
According to MP Pyotr Kalashnikov, friendly states should make mutual the concessions.
“There cannot be a one-way road,” he added.
The ‘Russian World’ can save Belarus, deputy Pyotr Tolstoy believes.
“Belarus is in our hearts, as well as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Baltic republics. They are our closest neighbours, part of our world, which is certainly in need of being guided by the Russian world,” Tolstoy stressed.
Mikhail Degtyarev, a representative of the notorious Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), expressed confidence that the Belarusians may be eager to reunite with Russia.
“Why doesn’t one give [them] such a right – to speak out [on the subject]? Why don’t we ask the people how they want to live in the Union State? Perhaps, they would like to unite, as Crimeans did? We ought to ask Belarusians. This is a very important question that should be resolved,” he added.
On December 11, Russian-Belarusian negotiations on compensation for losses from tax maneuvers 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 is possible only if the agreement on the Union State is implemented. It is about creating a single emission center, common customs, courts and clearing houses. Many perceived the statement as a threat to the country’s sovereignty.
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 to, as Zhirinovsky [LDPR leader] proposed, to divide us into regions and shove into Russia, this will never happen,” he stressed.
On December 25, Putin and Lukashenka discussed the issues of integration of the two countries, cooperation in the energy sector, amendments to the Russian tax legislation and their impact on the economy of Belarus for four hours. However, the negotiations seem to have come to a deadlock.