Lukashenko demanded to change the border Treaty, which he and the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin has signed 25 years ago. Dad wants tourists and truckers who travel from the West to Russia, not inhibited to Smolensk on the Russian border. Belarus because of this loses its “transit attractiveness.” But Russia is unlikely to agree. And not just because she was tired from the stream “Belarusian shrimps”.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko began with the Russian leadership another a polemic – this time according to the agreement on the joint protection of borders, which is due to expire in the coming days. In fact, Dad offered to start negotiations on the revision of the Treaty, while not explaining what the regime at the border from a legal point of view at a time when the old contract will expire and a new one is signed.
The President pointed out that the Minsk 100% to fulfill its border responsibilities, in particular, to combat illicit drugs and weapons, illegal migration and looking for stolen cars. Lukashenka allowed himself to the Russians quite rude tone.
“I don’t mean that we won’t perform its functions. I mean, it is not necessary to blather in the media and even at the state level that the Belarusians – the weight on his feet,” – quoted the President TASS.
Lukashenka said in front of television cameras at the meeting, which was attended by the head of the security Council, Lieutenant General Stanislav Zas and the head of frontier service the General-the major Anatoly Lappo. Especially irritating to Lukashenka, as it turned out, the problems of third country nationals on the Belarus-Russian border.
“That is, if a foreign citizen (Austrian, German, pole) drove across the border near Brest, it may be at Smolensk not to miss even with a Russian visa. Him back: come on we drive through the Latvian-Russian border or through a (strange!) Ukrainian-Russian. What is this? – outraged Lukashenko – everything Seems to be fine, but it’s a question.”
Another challenge was the queue of trucks, which following through Belarus to Russia, lining up for border, customs and phytosanitary inspection. “How so? A common border, have agreed… near Brest this car turned inside out – know where is that lucky. Gave information to the Russian Federation. They again stop the car near Smolensk, Pskov, Bryansk and begin to turn back” – wondered Lukashenka.
Coming from Lukashenko, General Zas translated the exclamation of the President on a dry, legal language. “We, as a transit country, losing its appeal”, – said the General (quoted by BelTA) and offered to redraft the current border agreement. Especially now a convenient time, the General added, this month will expire on the next five-year validity of the document.
While Zas is not explained how to act as the guards in the period when the old contract will expire, and the new part still will not sign. What amendments need the agreement, it became clear from his statement: Minsk wants to restore full transparency of its Russian border. However, the General complained that the openness of the Eastern border of Belarus has not only advantages but also disadvantages. One of the downsides – the flow of illegal immigrants from Russia, seeking to enter the European Union.
Recall that the length of our common border is 1 thousand 239 km, km 362,3 takes place on rivers and 19 km from the lakes. And the contract which mentions the General, Lukashenka and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin signed in Minsk on 21 February 1995. And break it the old Man has clearly decided not now, and at the end of June, when, without much fanfare, the Council of Ministers submitted to the house of representatives (Parliament) the draft law “On termination of the Agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on joint efforts in guarding the State border of the Republic of Belarus”. Since then, however, the bill lay motionless, and the house of representatives had already resigned – just on Sunday held the election of its new composition.
Application for review of the contract and another sharp attack on Moscow as the old Man once and was timed to Sunday’s election, trying to score brownie points from the nationalist part of society. After the start of the ballot hastened to lower the tone of the statements. “Since we have a Hulk, a mass of these questions, and many questions that should have been solved long ago, but we didn’t decide… it seems that we have tension with Russia mad. But this tension is characteristic only of a friendly country,” – the words Lukashenko, RIA “Novosti”.
It should also be clear that the regime on the border of Russia and Belarus is regulated by not only the mentioned document, but also many others, what the legal status of the border is generally quite complicated. For example, a month before the signing of the Treaty in January 1995, Yeltsin and Lukashenka signed the Treaty on the Customs Union. Later, in 1996, they created the Union and the state. In the end, after 2011, the border of the two republics was completely free.
However, the border regime was partially restored in February 2017. This became Moscow’s response to Lukashenka’s decision to introduce a five-day visa-free regime for citizens of USA, EU and other countries. In addition, Moscow feared the appearance on its territory of the Ukrainian right-wing radicals – because the southern border of Belarus, i.e. the border with Ukraine, also remains quite transparent.
Since then, through the checkpoint on the border near Smolensk, and the same CAT can freely pass only the Russians and Belarusians, but not foreigners. According to the Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Zharikhin, so this was perhaps, the first should be a single visa rules.
“It must be a visa of the Union state. Those 80 countries, with which Belarus has concluded visa agreements, are visa-free to Russia. So Russia is forced to equip the border with Belarus not as a border of the Union state, but as with any other, which Moscow does not want to do, or to prohibit the foreigners to cross the border. Lukashenko knows all this. Now there are negotiations about how to regulate the legislation of the two countries and to agree on recognition of visas. Lukashenko simply escalate the situation to draw attention to himself, using the fact that people don’t understand subtleties of which I have spoken,” – said Zharihin.
As for the trucks, mentioned by Lukashenka, that our customs have to check them for another reason. “Belarus has not imposed counter-sanctions against countries whose products are banned in Russia.
And there is nothing to portray that in Minsk do not understand and Lukashenko are so naive. He understands. Belarusian shrimp have already entered the popular epic”, said Zharikhin.
At the end of October the Russian foreign Ministry announced that he was ready to sign an agreement with Belarus on mutual recognition of visas at any time. Diplomats from both countries recognized that the text of the document is almost ready. The agreement should be one of the first steps to the creation of a “Schengen area for two”. But Minsk again took a break.
“Problems arise due to inconsistent visa policy. Three months ago, the parties discussed the harmonization of almost 90% of all disputes. And as you dig, it is difficult to find a coherent question,” – said in this regard, the head of the Belarusian Scientific research Mises center Yaroslav Romanchuk.
The expert complains of mutual distrust Russian and Belarusian officials. “Not solved the problem of “sanctions” and the supply of products from third countries. Here the discontent of the parties, – Romanchuk told. – The question of certification is not decided until now – and there is no reason to think that the issues will be resolved now. And because smugglers of both countries are on the alert, the sides will always accuse each other of some violations.”
Senior research fellow, Institute of philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus Alexei Zerman believes that Minsk will require through amendments to the contract to restore free regime on the common border.
“The current situation is legally ambiguous, because under the Treaty on the Union state border and there is a single customs space. Between us there should be boundaries. After 2014, Russia began to gradually introduce elements of border controls in respect of third country nationals. Who and how to check the Russian border guards, why? The Belarusian side will try to make proposals which would address contentious issues,” – said the analyst.
The first Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs Konstantin Zatulin considers the dispute on the contract for only part of a more important dispute about the reunion of two former Soviet republics. The source of the current statement Lukashenko is not in the border, and that Belarus blocked the integration in the framework of the Union Treaty, demanding for itself economic privileges, he said “MK”.
“Moscow believes that integration is not a buffet where Minsk has only rights and no duties. For example, European Union members regularly vote against Russia as standard for their discipline, not their personal attitude to Moscow. In turn, Belarus over Crimea, Abkhazia and so on never stands in solidarity with Russia and even considers it their dignity”, – summed up the Russian parliamentarian.
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