Common interests exist but sovereignty is a sacred matter
The name of the journalist who arrived in Minsk from Moscow to conduct the interview is well known to local audiences. Sergey Dorenko is the Editor-in-Chief of the Russian News Service, also hosting the Russian Fairy Tales analytical programme. He used to host his own programme on Russia’s ORT TV Channel which, on the cusp of the new millennia, was a source of direct political information for one-sixth of the planet. It even pressed Vremya (Time) information programme from prime time viewing.
Most of Mr. Dorenko’s questions to the President tackled Belarus-Russia relations. In particular, he asked to comment on the opinion that recent successes in our two countries’ bilateral relations are the result of Kremlin’s preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections. There’s a view that any integration related projects within the post-Soviet space positively influence Russian politicians’ popularity.
“I don’t believe that the pre-election process has pushed us closer,” Mr. Lukashenko asserted. “I wouldn’t be pleased to think that events were motivated by pre-election reasons. I think that, following our direct collisions with the Russians (the ‘milk’ wars, shutting off our gas and oil supply and so on) we now have an understanding that conflict yields no result and that relations need to be built in a new way.”
Mr. Lukashenko agreed that Belarus is a corridor between Russia and the West, with both sides having their own interests. In his opinion, it’s vital for the state to preserve sovereignty. “The task of any power — primarily, Belarus — is to find a path which allows progress without affecting the interests of others, without selling out your country or sovereignty,” he stressed.
Speaking of leaderism, the President of Belarus noted, “I’m not creating an idol of myself. Leaderism is unacceptable. Apart from a portrait in a governmental office, you won’t see this in Belarus.” He then added that the idea is unacceptable to him ‘at a genetic level’.