Meeting with St Petersburg Governor Aleksandr Beglov
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with St Petersburg Governor Aleksandr Beglov on 24 June.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Tomorrow Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] and I will hold serious negotiations on serious problems as usual. But that will be tomorrow. Our meeting today is absolutely not ceremonial. We have something to discuss. I remember your arrival in Belarus [in early February 2022]. We came to terms on a lot of things. I’d like you to tell me honestly and sincerely what we, Belarusians, could do better.”
He stressed that St Petersburg is one of the main directions of work in the Russian Federation for Belarus. “We will do everything not to lose this huge Russian platform. Our trade turnover is growing well, we can increase it. Particularly taking into account the behavior of Western partners as the popular phrase goes. I think during this year and the next one we will reach the level of cooperation and development of Belarus and Russia where we are supposed to be. We will overcome all the hardships and barriers, particularly in economy,” the head of state said.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus-St Petersburg trade turnover indicates that, too. The figure grows considerably every year, including in 2022. “We make a lot of goods that St Petersburg needs. At the same time we buy a great deal of your goods. It will always be like that,” he remarked.
Aleksandr Lukashenko went on saying: “You are very close people for us. As I meet with the president of Russia, he and I always talk a lot about St Petersburg. We remember the huge contribution of residents of Leningrad [to Belarus’ restoration] after the end of the Great Patriotic War. I may exaggerate a bit but I believe that Belarus and Leningrad [St Petersburg’s name during the USSR period] are two locations of the Soviet Union where people suffered most. It is hard to evaluate all of it. Since then we’ve been building our good relations. As part of one country once. But it can't be helped, that country is gone.”
The head of state underlined that Belarus is resolved to cooperate with St Petersburg across the board: “Starting with lifts and ending with municipal vehicles, which are in demand today. But the key is structures, systems, and the rest. You saw it in Belarus. If something fits you, tell us. As kind and close people, as neighbors we will come and create what you like together in St Petersburg. At the same time we will ask you to share your experience and practices with Belarus.”
On the whole, the Belarusian leader remarked there is something to talk about, particularly considering the pressure of the West on Belarus. “We would like to redirect 20 million tonnes of our cargoes to your ports. And I will ask for support and aid from you. We’ve reached the relevant agreement with the president of Russia. You know it, he phoned to tell you that. I think if you and I get things started here, it will be a good piece of work for St Petersburg and good jobs for our friends from St Petersburg,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
The Russian governor said that on 22 June the two countries marked the mournful date of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. “I would like to thank you from the people of our city and all the Russians for the historical memory and defense of our shared history, for our grandfathers, great grandfathers, fathers, mothers, who fought together and won. Thank you very much for standing up for the historical memory,” Alexander Beglov said to the Belarusian leader.
The governor also mentioned another important historical date - 9 June marked the 350th birthday of Peter the Great, the founder of St Petersburg. On this occasion the city government issued a commemorative medal, which Alexander Beglov presented to the Belarusian head of state. In addition to that, the president also received commemorative medals of ten cities founded by Peter the Great during his lifetime.