The meeting was part of the Russian Prime Minister’s visit to Belarus to attend a session of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Mishustin, I am pleased to meet with you today.
Thank you for your high assessment of our efforts to organise this session. Belarus will never fail you in terms of organisation. You might have noticed that we always treat our guests with respect, following a purely Belarusian tradition. But you are not a guest, you are at home here. This is the main thing, I assure you. I am not just being diplomatic, we really think so. You will see for yourself, I promise.
Concerning our relations, you must know that we are not drifting away anywhere as some try to present Belarus. We firmly stand on this of land that has always been close and native for a Russian person, for Russia’s citizens. It will remain like this even if we do not want it to. The people will figure out for themselves how they should live. I would also like us to be involved in this process.
Of course, we insist that all our agreements be honoured – both by us and by the Russian side. We must build our allied relations exclusively on an equal basis. As a historian, I have a clear understanding, I studied the subject very carefully – unions do not last long if they are not built on an equitable basis. Times have changed – it is not possible to seize a country today, like in the Middle Ages, and control it for 100-150 years. Today’s situation is different. Talking about Russia, Russia does not need it, it has a lot of land of its own. But if someone outside our country thinks in categories like this, his political life will not last long. But we will be able to talk more about that later.
I believe we will exchange opinions and touch on issues in private, and I will tell you what is going on here now, during the election period. Some very odd things are happening. Sometimes I ponder, relying on my experience: where is it all coming from? Meanwhile, all kinds of things are happening. That’s why I will tell you about it later. And I ask you, Mr Mishustin, to pass on the warmest wishes and greetings from the Belarusian people to my good friend (Vladimir Putin). He is loved and respected here, and he is well aware of that. We are looking forward to seeing him after this session during a face-to-face meeting in Minsk, within the EAEU format.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Lukashenko. First of all, I would like to relay the warmest brotherly greetings from President of Russia Vladimir Putin. You met not long ago during the parade in Moscow and later in Rzhev at the ceremonies marking the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, which is a momentous and very important holiday for our countries. And of course, I want to give the highest praise for the preparations for the Eurasian Economic Council session. Mr Golovchenko, Prime Minister of Belarus, did a great deal for it to run professionally and comfortably, so I greatly appreciate the excellent organisation of our forum – our Council session.
We had a broad agenda to discuss. It is crucial to implement all the “four freedoms” we refer to. In fact, we are speaking about our mutual relations, trade, and the flow of goods, services, capital and labour. These issues have produced a number of questions as of today. I think we have worked very fruitfully and signed respective documents. We have agreed on practically all the issues, while some compromises have been made.
I would also like to mention our bilateral agenda. Mr Golovchenko visited Moscow just a few days ago. We had planned an extensive programme. Belarusian ministers and heads of relevant agencies also arrived. I think it was very fruitful. We signed three very important documents including an agreement on oil deliveries and an agreement on the construction of a Russian-designed nuclear power station. We also discussed a number of other areas, as you always say, the most diverse areas of our interaction. The talks on arranging cooperation in science and technology were very productive. Russia’s Kurchatov Institute and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus agreed on mutual representation and joint projects including in nuclear power generation.
Apart from that, we also broadly covered the digital agenda, Mr Lukashenko, the things that you have been doing for a long time. We are aware of the wonderful project High Tech Park. I also informed Mr Golovchenko of the tax manoeuvre initiated by President of Russia Vladimir Putin in the high tech area.
We also spoke about possible joint projects. They span a broad range – mutual identification of our legal entities and real estate, and the movement of goods. In all, it was a separate, important agenda.
I would also like to note the potential of our brotherly and allied relations laid out in the Union Treaty. You, Mr Lukashenko, initiated this treaty and relations. I believe if we, the governments of Belarus and Russia, put in more effort, we could find a fairly wide range of new measures that would reveal the Union Treaty’s potential in a new way.
Speaking about integration – and you underscore this – we always talk about independent integration, of course, for economic cooperation opportunities to be absolutely reciprocal and equal. I really hope that we will do so through joint efforts.
Thank you very much.