Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the country is ready for real integration with Russia, but without coercion.
“We remain, as always, committed to real integration, without coercion to integrate. And it’s strange that this began with Belarus being coerced to integrate. You understand what I’m referring to,” said Lukashenko during a meeting with Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission College, as cited by BelTA.
He pointed out that even with Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, it was always Belarus that initiated real integration, while retaining sovereignty and independence.
“At the time, we didn’t say anything about someone having to lose sovereignty and independence. Amid all the challenges in those times, we found solutions to difficult problems. When we got rich, especially Russia, some incomprehensible scrambling and horsing around began. And, as I’ve already said, coercion to integrate,” Lukashenko emphasized.
He also added that Belarus “unequivocally supports real integration based on the classical principles that the whole world knows”.
On February 12, Bloomberg reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had tried to convince Lukashenko of the need to unite the two countries into one “superpower”. This was supposedly Putin’s “Plan A” to stay in power when his term as president came to an end, but it failed. Absorbing Belarus would have allowed Putin to bypass the term limitations and become the leader of the new Union State.
When Lukashenko refused, Putin transitioned to “Plan B” – making changes to the Russian constitution, which will soon be adopted.