The Forum will gather chiefs of regions, administrations and enterprises, as well as parliamentarians and the Presidents of Belarus and Russia. Mr. Rusetsky notes, “Time has shown that it’s a favourable platform of cooperation. I would also say that it’s a new, effective instrument of integrative cooperation. Participation in the forum by the heads of our states expands the range of discussion and the level of responsibility. There remain barriers to regional co-operation, which we need to remove.”
What will be the highlight?
I’d say a plenary session invol-ving Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, dedicated to social and economic policy, achievements of the Union State, and questions as yet unsettled. It’s expected that chiefs of the Council of the Republic and the Fe-deration Council, and of branches and administrations across the regions of our two countries will also take part in the session.
Mr. Rusetsky, what will receive special attention at the 3rd Forum?
In Sochi, we were considering questions of industrial policy. The Minsk forum will be dedicated to the social policy of the Union State and questions of humanitarian cooperation. There is an economic component of course. We make everything for participants to not only discuss social and humanitarian cooperation but the implementation of commercial initiatives and joint projects, signing agreements and contracts for product delivery. At the 2nd Forum of Regions in Sochi, Belarusian and Russian representatives of state and private sectors signed contracts worth more than $230mln.
In planning the 3rd Forum, we’re being guided by heads of states in emphasising cooperation between the economic spheres of Belarus and Russia. We’re hosting the ‘Belagro-2016’ traditional international exhibition, to showcase our industry and that of Russian enterprises. Simultaneously, the Days of Moscow will be held in Minsk.
Is the list of participants already known?
Over thirty Russian regions should be taking part, alongside all six regions of Belarus, as we believe so far.
How to realise potential
What will be the role of parliamentarians?
The Forum is a joint event by the upper chambers of parliament of both our countries. Preparatory work is being coordinated by the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia.
The first day of the Forum will begin with a session of the Interparliamentary Committee of the Council of the Republic and the Federation Council on Interregional Cooperation, analysing the results of the 2nd Forum and discussing the way forward for the Union. We’ve delibe-rately expanded our agenda, and have legislative and executive powers represented, to help solve tricky aspects of our work.
Belarusian-Russian cooperation in the labour sphere will be examined, as will social protection, and liaisons in the scientific, cultural and educational spheres, youth policy, and medical aid for citizens of the Union State. Agrarians and manufacturers are to take part in a round table, and there will be a separate meeting on the work of the media. All events will be held at the best platforms across the Belarusian capital and in Nesvizh, and our guests will have the opportunity to visit enterprises.
Apart from treaties and contracts, what other significant results are expected?
Union State achievements in the sphere of rights and freedoms of citizens are known: we’ve removed boun-daries, to allow freedom to choose where to live, to work, and to gain education, in any place from Brest to Sakhalin. However, there is still much to do in the sphere of unification and harmonisation of legislation, to extend rights and possibilities.
For this purpose, we must utilise forum platforms effectively, encou-raging governors, ministers and high-level experts to participate. We need a fresh approach to Union projects and alternative solutions to difficulties. Traditional solutions are taking too much time. We need to speed up the process of decision-making. Questions connected with the crisis will also be tackled.
It stands to reason that we won’t sidestep questions relevant to Belarusian and Russian manufacturers. The main problem is ensuring competitiveness for our enterprises and branches, fulfilling import substitution programmes and entering new foreign markets.
Sharing experience will be valuable in this respect. I’m sure that an exhibition of industry achievements will help reveal new paths of co-operation, raising our competitiveness while avoiding unnecessary repetition of effort. BelAZ quarry lorries are like power stations on wheels. Why should Belarus start from scratch in making electro-motors and high power generators, if they are successfully made in Russia? There are many such examples. Businesses won’t obey rules regarding producing one thing, while we make another. Nevertheless, we can plan what we need and create new manufactures on a competitive basis.
Russia and Belarus have already held two such forums on the territory of both states. One was dedicated to agrarian policy, and the other to industry. The 3rd Forum is dedicated to social and humanitarian questions.
Mr. Rusetsky believes that regional chambers of the parliaments of Belarus and Russia should participate. “Interaction of the regions fills our partner interaction with additional questions: along with legislative activity and economic questions,” notes the Deputy Speaker of the Council of the Republic.
Prof. Anatoly Rusetsky was born in 1951 in Borisov, and graduated from the Belarusian Polytechnic Institute. He has worked as a designer at the Specialised Design Technology Bureau of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the BSSR, as a chief engineer of Minsk branch of the Moscow Technological Design Bureau, and as a chief designer of ‘Impulse’ Special Design Bureau, at the Ministry of Radio Industry of the USSR. He has also worked at the Science and Production Association Planar, under the Ministry of Electronic Industry of the USSR, where he rose from chief engineer to director of the Association. He has been the Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, Minister of Industry, and Director of the Heat and Mass Transfer Institute. In 2010, he became the head of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Prof. Rusetsky is currently Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, and Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. He is a Doctor of Technical Sciences and a laureate of the State Prize of Belarus in the field of science and technology.
By German Moskalenko