On fate and prospects for integration

Vladimir Putin recently published an article about the problems and prospects of integration affecting the post-Soviet space, in Izvestia newspaper. Russia’s Prime Minister speculated about a range of acute problems, particularly, about our possible Eurasian Union. Mr. Putin’s article evoked a huge response. During a recent meeting with Russian journalists, Alexander Lukashenko noted that he has also prepared an article for Izvestia, giving his opinion on the integration of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

We cite the beginning of this article, written by the President of Belarus: ‘Today we’re on the verge of creating a completely new integration unity. From January 1st, 2012, the Single Economic Space of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan will appear de jure and de facto. Accordingly, it is time to talk about the main thing: the life of our people in the future, the fate of our states, interaction prospects, the way the world works around us and our place in the sun. V.V. Putin’s article in Izvestia tackled all these issues.

Without intending it as a compliment to my colleague, the former Russian President and current Prime Minister, I must say that this publication is a real event. For the first time, Russia has clearly and unambiguously stated its priorities for relations with its former Soviet brother countries, who once shared the ‘greatcoat’. This isn’t a superficial slogan; it penetrates the depth of life shared by our countries and peoples.

To my mind, it’s the first time in the history of contemporary Russia that this has been spoken of by the candidate for Russian presidency. As I understand, it is part of his pre-election foreign policy programme. Clearly, Russia, as a major power, can’t and won’t ignore work with other unions, as is natural. However, the priorities are a fundamentally different matter. This stands high. The words of the article are a real strategy — a correct strategy.’

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