2 April 1996, the Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and the current President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, signed the agreement “On the Formation of the Community of Russia and Belarus”. According to experts, the document laid the foundation for the construction of a single economic, political, social and cultural space between neighboring states. In 1997, the date of signing the contract received the status of an official holiday - the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Russia and Belarus.
Recall that a year ago, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko met in St. Petersburg on this occasion, during which the parties reached agreement on a number of policy issues: the oil and gas dispute was resolved, Minsk achieved refinancing of old loans. This year, the heads of the two states congratulated the Russians and Belarusians on the memorable day, and also sent each other written congratulations. Despite the fact that the April dialogue of the Russian and Belarusian leaders on the occasion of the 22 anniversary of the Union State did not take place (negotiations are scheduled after the inauguration of Vladimir Putin. - Note by the author), the absence of a personal meeting, rather, can be viewed as a positive sign.
A year ago, Lukashenko stressed that the many-hour discussions in St. Petersburg were the result of the shortcomings of the Russian and Belarusian ministers, which he and Vladimir Putin had to eliminate in a private conversation. A vivid confirmation of the fact that in the Russian-Belarusian cooperation everything goes on as usual, was the large-scale exercise “West – 2017”, which passed, contrary to the wishes of the political leadership of European and overseas countries, on a planned scale.
Also, Minsk and Moscow continue to jointly implement a number of multibillion-dollar projects in the industrial sector, in the field of energy and other industries. A good example is the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in the city of Ostrovets.
Recent disputes over the import of Belarusian milk into Russia have shown that there are disagreements between the parties, but today a compromise can be found without the intervention of top officials of the state. Earlier, Lukashenka, speaking at the Belarusian State Youth Theater, stressed that the people of Russia remain brotherly for the Belarusians. “The Russians are our brothers. <...> They are different, there are good and bad. It happens that milk is not allowed, and sugar is not allowed to be sold there, and oil and gas are cut off. Anything can happen, I have experienced it all in full, and we are not saints either, ”Lukashenka said. As the head of the republic noted, it is Moscow that will be the first to lend a helping hand to the Belarusians in any situation.
Obviously, there are enough grounds to draw such conclusions from Lukashenko. After 27 years after the collapse of the USSR, the experience of Belarus, which along with Kazakhstan and other post-Soviet republics is focused on building a constructive dialogue with Moscow, showed that a strong friendship with Russia is more beneficial than a dubious partnership with the West.