The Belarusan parliament’s upper chamber yesterday voted unanimously to ratify the Russia-Belarus Union treaty and charter, but President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s address on the occasion went far beyond the terms of that union by describing it as a significant step toward the restoration of the USSR. In remarks amounting both to a policy statement and to a profession of faith, Lukashenka described the Soviet Union’s disappearance as a "personal tragedy" and the "restoration of the unitary state [as] the main goal of my life." Calling for a full public accounting of the December 1991 "liquidation" of the USSR, Lukashenka stated that he knows "everything that took place" but would not reveal it unless authorized by Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Along with this oblique warning, Lukashenka expressed confidence that Yeltsin would overrule unnamed senior Russian officials who seek to "torpedo" understandings that Lukashenka and Yeltsin allegedly reached within the framework the Russia-Belarus Union. (Russian agencies, June 10) Within hours, Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin issued a conciliatory reply to Lukashenka. (RTR, June 10)
Lukashenka was almost certainly alluding to the Russian government’s reluctance to subsidize the economy of Belarus. His remarks appear intended as a warning that he would join the Russian Communists in their attacks on Yeltsin over the "liquidation" of the USSR unless the Kremlin becomes more forthcoming to Belarus on economic issues.
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