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Opinions & Interviews

20 Apr 2017

Lukashenko comments on speculations about Belarus-Russia relations in Russian media

Lukashenko comments on speculations about Belarus-Russia relations in Russian media

MINSK, 20 April (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko commented on certain speculations about Belarus-Russia relations in Russian mass media during the negotiations with Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Governor Valery Shantsev on 20 April, BelTA has learned.

The head of state emphasized that Russian mass media sometimes criticize the Belarusian-Russian relations. Certain media outlets continued doing so despite the constructive negotiations between the two leaders in Saint Petersburg. “Various speculations begin to emerge in mass media. They say that one has deceived the other, that we are begging Russia for some things, and so on. We have never gone down on our knees begging for anything. You know this perfectly well, we have known each other for decades. I would like to say to certain scribblers and TV hosts that Russian parts and raw materials account for 30-90% of all materials in Belarusian devices (tractors, automobiles, the entire machine building or chemical industry),” Alexander Lukashenko said.

When we were developing the Belarus-Russia Union State, we took a decision to keep the existing economic ties. Finishing manufacturing remained in Belarus (in fact, Russia’s manufacturing) just like it was in the Soviet Union. Therefore, the economies of the two countries remained interconnected, the president explained.

“More than 10 million people are employed at Russian enterprises working for the finishing manufacturing in Belarus today. They make components, materials and other things. By supporting finishing production, we help at least 10 million people (or even 15 million). These people work in Russia,” the head of state emphasized. “It is clear that if there are any problems in Russia, Belarus and other countries connected with Russia will face the same problems. However, Belarus has stronger economic connections with the Russian Federation that any other country.”

Speaking about the loans to Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko remarked: “We pay an interest rate of 4.5-6% per annum. We service these loans on time. Americans pay you 0.5% per annum. All countries take certain loans either from international organizations or from other states. Russia is not the main lender for us. The People’s Republic of China is the main one. It has opened a credit line of $15 billion for Belarusian projects. We have not used it in full yet. The main thing is that they do not reproach us for their help.”

The head of state stressed that the Russian government has a strategic approach to the relations with Belarus, and this is not a one-sided game. “Indeed, we have reached a true compromise. However, some people try to put a fly in the ointment, including, as I have been informed today, a popular TV channel in Russia TV Tsentr,” the Belarusian leader stated.

Some people in Russia also like to criticize the improvement of relations between Belarus and Europe. They say that Belarus is turning to the West. “No one needs us in the West. They already have such things that Belarus can offer. You also know how they see me in the West. Living in the center of Europe, we have to pursue this policy to protect the country, its security, sovereignty, independence and stability, to create normal living conditions for people. We cannot quarrel either with Russia or the West. This is our fate,” the president said.

Alexander Lukashenko also stressed that Russians do not have nay problems in Belarus in terms of security and business. The situation, for example, in Ukraine is different. “This is the response to those criticizing Belarus,” he continued.

When criticizing Belarus, they can mention that Belarus has two official languages and that we pay a lot of attention to the Belarusian language. “It is good that we remember about the Belarusian language. It is good that Belarusians have their own language. Why do they reproach us for it? By the way, the majority of people in Belarus speak Russian in everyday life, Russian is the language of communication here. But I underline that this language does not belong to Russia. This is our common language, and we have been developing it together for years. It is improving, developing as a living being. Together we have made a big contribution to the improvement of this language,” the head of state said. “We will never give up on it. We have our national Belarusian language. Many Belarusians living abroad speak it. Therefore, this situation is under control in Belarus.”

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