Conversation to determined topic held in sincere format
We’ve created the Customs Union and, in January, launched the Single Economic Space: a higher level of integration. We must now decide what to do with the EurAsEC, as it has met its function, fulfilling all its goals. What’s next? Back in January, we said that the EurAsEC should be reorganised. It’s an international organisation, so it can’t just be dissolved. It needs to be reorganised into something… We’d agreed to meet in March to decide on what to do with the EurAsEC, so we’ve met.
Russia had undertaken to prepare a draft on this issue and has done well, preparing our Treaty on the Reorganisation of the Eurasian Economic Community into the Eurasian Economic Union. Previously, we’d agreed that, from 2015, we’d join this Eurasian Economic Union. The Russians are proposing that we accelerate the process and Belarus has supported them, paying attention to two positions. Our Economic Commission has the right to sign agreements within the international arena on behalf of all three members. I told them that we aren’t against this. However, if this is a stumbling block we would agree to this although we ourselves — Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus — can sign treaties in our own name. The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic organisation while treaties can be political, military-political, etc.
Meanwhile, we’ve agreed that, if necessary, our Single Economic Commission can negotiate in the name of all three states. It has the power to do so. However, we haven’t yet adopted the draft treaty or signed it. Why? Kazakhstan objects to our proposals, announcing that there’s no need to speed up the process. It has the right to its opinion, of course. We’ve agreed to see the Union entering into force in 2015.
On a possible change of venue for the 2014 IIHF Championships
I’ve heard such conversations… but it’s a completely politicised process; it has nothing to do with sport. If this actually happened, it would damage the reputation of the Hockey Federation — if not the whole image of world sport. Belarus deserves to host this World Championship, having done a great deal. I’m confident that, if this championship is held in Minsk, journalists will say that they’ve never seen anything of the kind before and nothing similar will be seen in future.
We all believe in something; however, I prefer that such issues aren’t placed at the forefront. I don’t really understand those who refused to allow someone to enter church yesterday, while standing there publicly today and holding candles in their hands. However, if I were to identify myself with one faith it would be Orthodox Christianity.
On the execution of terrorists
The European Union had never asked me to postpone the execution of these people! The European Union has always demanded, rather, that we abolish the death penalty. The verdict was delivered last autumn and several months have passed. I wasn’t asked to postpone the death penalty in exchange for some political concessions. However, even if I was asked this, the situation would the same; these are completely irreconcilable issues. Political concessions from the West demand that we take political steps to meet them halfway. This is a criminal act: an extreme criminal act. It can’t be permitted.
You know, I don’t give any instructions in such matters. I just didn’t grant them a pardon. I’ve taken several such decisions during my presidency. It’s my burden: the President’s cross. It was another tragedy in my life. However, I sympathise more with the parents of those who died and, alas, I am unable to help.
The investigative process was transparent, featuring employees of the Russian Federal Security Service, Israeli Mossad and Interpol. They had not a single doubt at any stage of the investigation. From the very first interrogation, everything was captured on video and audio recorded, as I demanded. From the very first moment, they admitted their guilt. They showed and told us everything, as proven by the evidence. The judicial trial was also completely open, with the hall seating 400. Everyone was there: the parents of the accused, those who had lost relatives and those badly injured. The process was open and, if their mothers had any doubts or suspicions, even the least detail was checked and verified — as I insisted.
Now, they hint at falsification and rigging… Why would I need to do that? Put yourself in my place and answer, what purpose does falsification serve? If we speak sincerely, when the terrorist act happened, I deeply doubted that we’d find those responsible, as such acts are very difficult to detect.
On fidelity to principles
I have absolute faith in the justice of the decision. I don’t doubt it in any way. I’m often told how young they were but I was in the metro forty minutes after the terrorist act, risking my own life — since a second explosion was possible. However, I had no other choice. I survived the event, as I can bear witness. I will also bear my cross. Either I consult with God or not — as is my own business. It was my right to grant a pardon or not. I can still see in front my eyes the scattered body parts and deformed carriages…
What about the two hundred who were badly injured? Just imagine, two hundred disabled people! A mother, a father, a sister or a brother comes home from work and sees their wife or husband badly injured, without a leg or an eye… Who cannot sympathise with them?
This was an emergency case for Belarus — an abnormal catastrophe that has been dealt with in the strictest way, however it affects me and those who come after me.