‘Stillborn child’. Opposition MP pushes for referendum on fate of Belarus-Russia Union State

Belarus and Russia do not need the Union State; Hanna Kanapatskaya, a deputy of the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament, believes. In her opinion, the project is a ‘stillborn child’.

According to Kanapatskaya, a referendum in Belarus might close the door on the Union State.

However, many web commentators slammed her initiative referring to election fraud practices in the country.

“I know that there are no fair elections in our country and that they do not meet the OSCE requirements. But in accordance with the Union State Treaty, a party may leave it only by holding a referendum. Therefore, it is another question. I am working on amendments to the electoral legislation, but at the moment we are facing the fact that Belarus does not need the Union State. And if we want to pull out of the treaty, this is the only way,” the lawmaker explained.

A month ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin said the cooperation in the framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus should be ‘further developed’.

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The topic of integration and the creation of a union state under the 1999 treaty was widely discussed after the statement by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in December last year in Brest.

“I want to emphasize: Russia is ready to continue to move along the path of building the Union State, including the creation of a single emission center, a single customs, court, and a chamber of accounts in the manner prescribed by the agreement on the creation of the Union State of December 8, 1999,” said Dmitry Medvedev during the Union Council of Ministers in the city above the River Buh.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka became outraged by the statement. “I no longer say a brotherly state, because, as they report to me, in Russia this is not perceived as such. Apparently, new people came [to power] for whom this concept is unacceptable. Well, then we will be partners,” he said.

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. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.

In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made.

On April, 2 Belarus and Russia celebrate the Day of Unity. This year, the Minsk authorities have turned down pro-Russian organizations’s application for authorizing a picket on the occasion.

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