Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an interview to the office of the Interstate TV and Radio Company Mir in Belarus on 2 April.
The President was interviewed by Director of the Office of the Interstate TV and Radio Company Mir in Belarus Vladimir Pertsov.
The TV and Radio Company Mir is making a series of interviews ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. Another reason for holding a conversation with Aleksandr Lukashenko has become Day of Unity of Peoples of Belarus and Russia which is marked on 2 April. The interview highlighted issues related to cooperation in the Union State and also within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The talks also focused on the current global situation taking into account the present-day challenges.
When asked about how he sees the development of the Union State, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We have a treaty on the Union State. We do not give up on a single clause in the treaty. Let us take the most serious one that is being discussed today - the single currency. We are not against the single currency. It, however, needs to be a neutral currency, neither the Belarusian ruble, nor the Russian one.”
“I once said: “The question is not in what the ruble will be. The question is where the emission center will be located, and not even where but who will manage the emission center. Will it be done on an equal footing or, since Russia is a big country, it will manage its own ruble and we will eliminate ours and join them? - Aleksandr Lukashenko explained his position. “We have already been through this in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when we were simply thrown out of the ruble zone. We were left with the Soviet rubles, while they [Russia] introduced the Russian ruble, and we started making our own money. I do not want to say this again. This is first. Secondly, where will our sovereignty be then?”
He stressed once again that Belarus does not refuse anything, and recalled that the treaty implied the creation of equal conditions for citizens, enterprises and the two states as a whole. “If today Russia, leaving aside its imperial attitude (we are big and you are small), is ready to do it, let us negotiate, let us decide on the future,” said the Belarusian leader.
“The treaty exists. We have never given up on it. We are ready to stick to it, but the number one principle is equal conditions for people, enterprises, states. Today everything has been broken, and the coronavirus has violated the last, most important thing, which is equal conditions for people,” the Belarusian President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that if Russia had to do something, it should have at least warned Belarus about its border closure. “I understand if there had been some terrible situation there and it was necessary to take urgent action. However, there was no logic then. The situation in Belarus was not worse than in Russia. It was much better. I insist that it is not worse today as well. Secondly, why cut off the part of the Union State where there are no problems. They did not divide themselves into parts (Russia is huge) to block the movement of people and coronavirus carriers. This was simple recklessness. What about the saying ‘a friend in need in a friend indeed’?” the head of state said.