Belarussian politician advocates Russian-Belarussian strategic partnership

Belarus should aspire to join Europe together with Russia, perceiving this as a strategic objective, say members of the local Yabloko opposition bloc. This is a long-term 15-20-year perspective, Yabloko leader and member of the Belarussian Parliament Olga Abramova told RIA-NOVOSTI, as she commented on last week's events in relations between our two countries.

It should be mentioned in this connection that President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus turned down Vladimir Putin's suggestion to the effect that an agreement on introducing the Russian rouble as a common legal tender of the Russia-Belarus union state be signed without delay.

According to Abramova, Lukashenko's position has already negatively affected Russian-Belarussian relations. Among other things, Gazprom has now decided to sell gas to Belarus in line with normal, rather than understated, prices, she noted. This will cause domestic fuel-and-energy prices to grow; meanwhile social tensions are currently running high, Abramova added.

In her words, Moscow can't loan money to Minsk all the time; moreover, Belarussian economic policies should change; and this would be an ideal scenario because our economies are miles apart, Abramova stressed.

The Belarussian politician mentioned the following statistics: Russian prices increased 16,000-fold over the 1990-2001 reform period; meanwhile Belarussian prices soared 4 million times over.

The Belarussian opposition's representative also mentioned statistics by the republican independent institute of socio-economic and political studies to the effect that more than 50 percent of all Belarussian citizens advocate a common currency, as well as the abolition of mutual borders between Belarus and Russia.

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