This is geopolitical reality

First Belarus-Russia economy Forum held in Minsk
After the collapse of the USSR each of its 15 former republics chose its own way. However, from the very beginning Belarus and Russia wished to maintain as high integration level as possible. These two states have common historical and economic roots. Efficiency of uniting policy is confirmed by life, first of all by the fast pace of social-economic development of both states. Their mutual commodity turnover has grown from 5 to 17.7 billion dollars in several years, and is expected to grow by additional 20 per cent this year. Belarus and Russia are pursuing coordinated foreign policy. Thus, the union of these two should be treated as geopolitical reality. That was the background for the meeting of highly ranking representatives of both countries held in Minsk. Totally, up to 2 thousand politicians, government members, ministers, regional authority representatives and businessmen came to Minsk from Moscow and dozens of Russia regions.

The outcome of negotiations can be estimated from various points, yet maybe the most important criterion is correspondence of decisions taken to improvement of living standards. In this context, the package agreement on equal rights of Belarus and Russia citizens is very illustrative; Prime ministers Sergei Sidorsky and Mikhail Fradkov discussed the final version of the agreement at the session of Cabinet Council of Union state.

It is perceived that in nearest future Belarusians who come to Russia and Russians who come here, will enjoy equal opportunities in medical and social services, choice of residence and jobs, and will pay equal taxes.

Besides, the parties discussed the final version of Union state budget 2006, which is expected to grow by 10 per cent. Additionally, the parties progressed significantly about legal status of union state property created as a result of joint economic and sci-tech projects, which count in dozens already.

Participant of Belarus-Russia economy Forum gave consideration to most important problems and concepts of joint development. This concerns influence of cooperation towards economy modernization in both states, development of education and culture, industry and energy economy. As we know, economy liberalization was greater in Russia, while Belarus sticks to social-oriented market evolutions. However, this difference doesn′t hamper cooperation and integration in most diverse realms. This is confirmed by the results of Russia National exhibition. Virtually each of 200 enterprises and regions that participated in the exhibition has concluded profitable agreements on cooperation or commodity exchange. Besides, economy cooperation was the focal point of negotiations of Alexander Lukashenko with governors of several regions of Russia who paid official visits to Minsk on these days.

Thus the outcome of the event held in Belarusian capital can be considered a milestone of Belarus-Russia relationship. The Forum has prepared the grounds for the upcoming step forward — session of High state council of Belarus and Russia this November. Presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin are expected to uphold decisions taken in Minsk by their Prime ministers and to consider global aspects of Union state development.

Vladimir Bibikov
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