Video address to the participants of the 10th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia

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Video address to the participants of the 10th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia

Dear friends,

Let me welcome all participants of the 10th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia.

It is symbolic that the anniversary edition of the forum is taking place in Ufa, the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, the region with a rich history and culture, located in the very heart of Eurasia.

I think the Russian side was right when it decided to expand the geography of the forum and arrange it in different regions of the Russian Federation.

It helps make the most of the potential of these regions, showcase their economic capabilities.

It is important for us that Russians living thousands of kilometers away from our country know more about Belarus, see clearly the prospects of Belarus-Russia partnership.

Belarus and Russia laid a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation.

This foundation includes trade offices of Belarusian companies operating in various regions of the Russian Federation, as well as retail chains that sell Belarusian products that are much loved by Russian consumers. Many important facilities on the territory of Russia were built by Belarusian construction workers.

Belarusian goods and competencies are in demand in Russia’s large cities, industrial towns, in the regions, including remote ones, beyond the Urals, in Siberia, Khabarovsk Territory, in Kamchatka.

Bashkortostan is no exception. We have long-standing, very constructive contacts with Ufa at the level of companies, organizations, public associations, scientists, art and culture workers, and education. Our relations have a history of several decades. To be more precise, it has not been interrupted since the days of the Soviet Union.

We complement each other in the supply of raw materials, component parts, industrial products. They address the common task of promoting import substitution and technological sovereignty.

Yet, the greatest assets are human relations, a common history, culture, mindset, a traditional view of the family, respect for elders, great prospects and support for young people.

Therefore, even in the most difficult times, Belarus and Russia kept promoting inter-regional contacts. It helped us survive amidst the collapse of statehood and the interruption of established economic ties after the disintegration of a great country.

Now strong relations help us to withstand a new attack from the West on all fronts: economic, political, ideological, information, cultural and others.

The uniqueness of the partnership between the countries lies in the fact that from the very beginning the system of interaction between Belarus and Russia was built on the idea to ensure self-sufficiency of economic ties and technological sovereignty of the two states. This advantage must be used as much as possible. This is what we are doing.

You see how often the heads of state meet with each other. All issues are addressed promptly. In fact, all the necessary decisions have been made by the presidents. The regions that directly have resources, both human, material and financial, have no obstacles to cooperation.

A few years ago, we used to argue trying to prove something to each other. In the current conditions, there is no need to convince anyone, neither in Russia nor in Belarus, of the advantages of our partnership. The responsibility of local authorities, business and society has noticeably increased. And things got off the ground. Mutual trade in goods and services exceeded a record $50 billion last year.

It is important that this year Belarus has already hosted 16 heads of Russian regions.

A number of business meetings have also been held. Members of the Belarusian government led by the prime minister, regional governors have held many productive negotiations with the heads of Russian regions, and are consistently working on the implementation of the agreements reached at the highest level.

Economy underpins all social processes and is the foundation of cooperation.

The previous forums of regions alone resulted in commercial contracts worth a total of almost $5 billion.

Indeed, the trade figures are encouraging. But it’s too early to rest on our laurels. I am sure that we can do better.

We need to increase our competitiveness by deepening industrial cooperation, to address issues of specialization, import substitution, primarily in microelectronics and other high-tech industries, to make the most of interregional trade, to develop transport and logistics corridors, and to find additional drivers to further integration processes.

Belarus is ready to participate in the modernization of key sectors of the Russian economy, the creation of joint ventures. We have many ideas that can be interesting and relevant for Russian regions. These are cooperation projects in agriculture, construction, mechanical engineering, woodworking, equipment supplies, production of component parts, food production, light industry, space exploration, pharmaceutics.

Science, culture and education are also important elements of the Belarus-Russia cooperation. The achievements of the previous forums prove that.

There are 81 agreements on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and 73 regions of the Russian Federation.

The forum has become an effective dialogue platform where relevant decisions are made. It is important that representatives of various spheres - politics, business, culture, and science are at the forefront of developing these decisions. This is what they call people’s diplomacy and it is proving its effectiveness.

And the role of interregional cooperation in such processes is growing rapidly.

In general, our positions remain unchanged - no barriers and restrictions in interaction. This is the basic principle of partnership. If disputes arise, they should be resolved promptly and in a constructive way.

Dear friends,

Today, the Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia needs to step beyond the Union State format and intensify cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the SCO, BRICS, ASEAN and everyone who is willing to be friends and work with us.

We must make the forum a center that generates interregional ideas, projects and initiatives.

When making speeches, I often say that the Union State of Belarus and Russia is not a private members’ club. We are not against anyone. I will say more: Belarusians and Russians are interested in the development of the entire Eurasian region as a whole.

We want all our neighbors to be economically successful. These are the most important conditions for the continent's well-being and for peace in our common land.

If the Western European partners suddenly decide to support the principle of universal economic equilibrium and mutually beneficial cooperation, then we will not be against joint similar events. All the same, they will eventually return to cooperation with us. The Forum of Regions is a promising initiative that may well step beyond Belarus and Russia.

We will be glad to see, including at this event, as many people of goodwill as possible, ready for peaceful creation, not domination.

Dear participants of the forum,

We have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to stick to each other, to be as close as possible. There is no other way if we want to preserve the sovereignty and independence of our states.

I wish all participants of the forum successful and productive work for the benefit of the peoples of Belarus and Russia.