CIS celebrates its 25th anniversary

Each of us has a personal view on a quarter of a century of history
Each of us has a personal view on a quarter of a century of history. With this in mind, the view of the Russian News Agency TASS on the historic events is of special interest. They are now working on a special film to mark the jubilee that will be screened at the end of autumn. As part of the work on the film, Minsk was recently visited by TASS’ First Deputy General Director — Mikhail Gusman. He met the President — not for the first time and the substance of their discussion focused on integration, Belarusian-Russian relations and private lives which will all be included in the anniversary film as well as a joint programme being prepared between TASS and the Formula of Power Russian TV. Extracts from the interview are reproduced below.

Mikhail Gusman

On post-Soviet integration 

The CIS is a major political and diplomatic platform for discussing global issues… We formed the Eurasian Economic Union: about the economy, economic integration, and customs issues — without politics and military issues. The CSTO is a military-political union. It’s not like the NATO bloc, it does not have such power and strength. It is a different organisation with a particular focus. The Union State is the most advanced integration association. It involves the economy, politics and regulatory bodies, it is a very deep form of integration. If someone is ready to join the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Union, welcome on board. Those in the EAEU or the CIS who are interested in deeper integration can join us in the Union State. All unions are open to new members.

On Belarusian-Russian relations 

This path is difficult, but we are moving along it with dignity, despite setbacks. We have taken many decisions to ensure equal rights for Belarusians and Russians. We have moved away from the abyss which could have opened up between Belarus and Russia. But it would be wrong if we only mentioned the positives without acknowledging that we have a lot of problems too.

On the dream

I would like people to never feel they lack the means to acquire something when they look in their wallets. I would like people in Belarus to never suffer from want, although it seems there is always someone in need. It is my single ambition to achieve a reduction in poverty in the country.

Direct speech

Mikhail Gusman on his talk with the President of Belarus: 

Most importantly, he is a great patriot. I’m sure all heads of state are patriots of their own countries but it’s impossible not to be impressed with the passion Alexander Lukashenko expresses while speaking of the path Belarus has had to travel — while overcoming hardships and the most difficult periods in its history… In this respect, Mr. Lukashenko’s deep patriotism reflects mine. He speaks of Belarus like a mother; only one’s dearest are described with such feeling and I was completely won over by it.

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