Staunton, March 25 – Anna Kanopatskaya, one of two opposition deputies in the Belarusian Parliament, says that Minsk should withdraw from the Union State agreement it has with the Russian Federation or at the very least place the issue before the Belarusian people by holding a referendum.
She made this argument on Facebook today in the near certain knowledge that the Lukashenka regime would never take such steps. But its appearance underscores just how concerned many Belarusians are about the Russian threat and the need to take steps to distance their country from Moscow (facebook.com/anna.kanopatskaya/posts/2100814459967645).
Kanopatskaya’s words thus deserve attention for that reason if for none other. An informal translation of them appears below:
“Today, on the anniversary of the declaration of the Belarusian Peoples Republic, the question of the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of Belarus under conditions of the sharp forcing of integration processes within the framework of the uncompleted project of a Union State has arisen again.
This situation compels us to think about whether we need such a project. That is even more the case because there already has been established and function the Eurasian Economic Union in which several additional countries besides Russia and Belarus are members.
In correspondence with the norms of this union, the legal code of the Republic of Belarus is occurring, a common market of goods and services including in the realm of energy resources is expected. Given this, the project of the Union State over the course of 20 years has remained a stillborn child.
At first, the president of Belarus used it for his own political goals. Then, the Union State was recalled on April 2 each year and in a quite narrow circle of peoples. The project existed only on paper and in parts of the formal organs it created.
Today, for their political goals, Russian politicians have begun to use it including to threaten our country with economic pressure. The fraternal peoples of Belarus and Russia do not need the Union State as a political project. And as far as economic integration with Russia is concerned, something that 83 percent of Belarusians supported in a referendum there exists the Eurasian Economic Union.
It is possible that the time has come to put a period on the history of the Union State in order to forever stop forever the succession of scandals and mutual reproaches on issues of integration between the leadership of Belarus and Russia, which again have been taking place in public since the end of last year.
To do this is possible via a referendum which could be set up either by a petition of 450,000 Belarusians or by the National Assembly or by the president.
Do you support such an initiative?”