In a German press interview published yesterday, Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko asserted that as long as he is president, there will be no unification of the Belarusian and Russian states. The likelihood, he stressed, was about as real as Belarus joining the Federal Republic of Germany. Lukashenko blamed Western import restrictions for forcing former Soviet republics to create their own common market or, he warned, even to reunite one day. Behind these comments appears to be a strong desire to attract greater German investment in Belarus. (10) Lukashenko is an erratic leader and also apt to put on different faces for different audiences, but he has previously signaled that his strong support for economic and political cooperation with Russia stops short of desiring unification. In his speech last month to the United Nations, for instance, Lukashenko declared that Belarus is seeking to draw closer to Western Europe; (11) whereas only days before in an address to Belarusian war veterans, he had upheld Russia as the only possible ally. (12)
Moldovan President Approves Deal with Russia’s LukOil.