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Russian President’s Blog On Belarus

After reading the official English translation (http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/1052) of the Russian president’s October 3 blog, this writer has become concerned with the meaning of such phrases as ”united by... centuries-old history,” ”shared culture,” ”our single nation,” ”the Union State, CSTO,” ”our peoples will forever be fraternal,” and ”our nations are inextricably linked,” all implying that Russia still considers Belarus as an inherent part of the Russian Empire. President Medvedev seems to be ignorant of the fact that Russia, the USA, Great Britain and Belarus signed a memorandum at the December 1994 CSCE Budapest summit in which they guaranteed Belarus’ independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Excerpts from the blog follow:(October 3, 2010, 21:45)

 The senseless period of tension in relations with Belarus is certain to come to an end

 DMITRY MEDVEDEV:
…Today I want to talk about what is happening in the relationship with our closest ally: Belarus. I want to address both the Russian and Belarusian people. After all, we are all citizens of the Union State.

 It is my deep conviction that our country has always treated and will continue to treat the Belarusian people as our closest neighbour. We are united by centuries-old history, shared culture, common joys and common sorrows. We will always remember that our nations - and I always want to say ”our single nation”—- have suffered huge losses during the Great Patriotic War. Together we survived terrible hardships of the collectivisation, famine and repressions.

 Now Russia and Belarus are partners in the Union State Both of our countries are also actively involved in the creation of the Customs Union, in the development of the EurAsEC, CSTO and the Commonwealth of Independent States. We intend to fully expand our cooperation with Belarus within the framework of these organisations.

… Proceeding from this, we have always helped the people of Belarus. In fact, since the collapse of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago, the volumes of this support, whatever they say, have been huge. Only this year our help to Belarus in the form of favourable oil supply terms amounted to almost two billion dollars. There are comparable subsidies in the supply of Russian gas to Belarus. We do all this because we firmly believe that our nations are inextricably linked.

 It is therefore particularly surprising that the Belarusian leadership has recently adopted an anti-Russian rhetoric. The election campaign there is built entirely on anti-Russian slogans, hysterical accusations of Russia’s unwillingness to support the Belarusian people and the Belarusian economy, and curses addressed at the Russian leadership. What we can discern behind all this is a clear desire to cause discord between the states and, accordingly, the nations.

 …I would just like to say this openly: Russia is ready to develop allied relations with Belarus. Moreover, no matter who leads Russia and Belarus, our peoples will forever be fraternal. We want our citizens not to live in fear, but in an atmosphere of freedom, democracy and justice. And we are ready to pursue this together with our Belarusian friends.

This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 4
---------------------------------------------
Copyright 2010 Belarusian Review
All rights reserved.

Joseph Arciuch

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