A.G. Lukashenko: Good afternoon! A happy holiday to you!
Question: It is a holiday today, but now it's time to sum up the results too. In your view, what conclusions can one draw to avoid "emergencies" during the next harvesting campaign?
A.G. Lukashenko: Harvesting is an emergency situation, especially in the zone of critical farming. Regrettably, our Belarus is located in this very zone - floods or droughts are all there. For this reason, we will respond accordingly. Everything depends on what the weather will be like. As for the main conclusion: this harvesting campaign we have gathered 1.5 million tons of grain more than the past year. The reasons? There wasn't any miracle, except for the organizational measures. We have managed to buy many combine harvesters as I said before - this year alone we've bought five hundred, practically as many - last year and before that. New powerful combine harvesters helped us to preserve grain. For this reason, next year all the state assistance that we are going to render to peasants, and it will be rendered without fail, we will not abandon our peasants face-to-face with their problems, so that assistance will be used for the purchases of agricultural machinery. And that is the main conclusion.
Question: Alexander Grigoryevich, could you speak out on the recent message by Putin where he proposes setting up of a working group. And furthermore in the context of this question. Belarus has already expressed its view saying we will not allow to destroy the Treaty. So, what does Putin explain in his message then?
A.G. Lukashenko: You have almost answered your question. Well, as regards the working group. Those who made this letter - maybe, it was Vladimir Vladimirovich himself - might have forgotten that we have a joint Belarusian-Russian commission, which, in accordance with the Treaty, is drafting a normative act where prospects of the construction of the Union State are to be outlined: it'll be the Constitution of the future Union. Somebody is unwilling today to accept this fundamental document. However, only Constitution can characterize our future Union, only there can it be explained what functions the state organs of power are to perform and so on. Thus, someone doesn't like to follow this path, which is stipulated in the effective Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia. One should adopt the Constitution. One should work at it. So, the joint Belarusian-Russian commission does work at it. You remember, deputy head of the Presidential Administration Leonid Petrovich Kozik was once heading the commission, today he is co-chairman of that joint group. Why then should we set up another group? Some people might have forgotten, or, taking advantage of their dominant position in the mass media, they just dupe the public.
As to Putin's message. You are aware: the Russian mass media forwarded this message to me while the Belarusian media responded. I can add nothing to it. Perhaps, it was not so much a message that was needed, but a PR-action. If that is what Russia wanted, you can believe it has got it already, if it needs such a PR. As regards the message itself, I received it much later, after the Russian media channels had made it all public. So, it is a PR made well in advance. Today I am convinced in it. Because I know all how it was happening. As regards the message, there is nothing new in it. Everything is just the same: dividing Belarus, merging it by blocks, following the European Union pattern - but they wouldn't say they offer us the EU model only after we agree with Russia's proposal to destroy the Treaty that exists.
You are ordinary people, just think, they would propose us destroying the existing Treaty, and it is difficult to say whether there will be a new treaty at all. Today, it is very difficult to negotiate with Russia along these lines. What's more, the Treaty cost us dear. I said about it before. And it was also said to me by the first President of Russia Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin. So, I think that if any Russian or Belarusian were asked whether to destroy the existing Treaty, everybody would say "no." And I said it openly as early as in April, at the session of the Supreme State Council: if the Russian government, the Russians, want to denounce the Union Treaty, to destroy it, let them destroy it - but without us, Belarus is not going to be involved in it. It was said openly.