Forever are the same: Belarus and Russia

Annually on April 2, the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Belarus and Russia is celebrated. It was on this day in 1996 that President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Boris Yeltsin put their signatures in the St. George Hall in the Kremlin under the agreement on the creation of the Community of Belarus and Russia. The fact of signing marked the beginning of the process of mutual integration of countries.
Exactly one year later, on April 2, 1997, the Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia was signed. The main goals of the Union were to improve the living standards of the peoples, to strengthen the relations of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation in the political, economic, social and other fields, to ensure the sustainable socio-economic development of the participating states on the basis of combining their material and intellectual potentials.
The next important stage in the development of the union relations between the two states was the signing on December 25, 1998 of the Declaration on the Further Unity of Belarus and Russia, the Agreement on Equal Rights of Citizens, the Agreement on the Creation of Equal Conditions for Business Entities and the Protocol to it. In these documents, the presidents of the two countries firmly declared their determination to continue the step-by-step movement towards voluntary union in the Union State while preserving the national sovereignty of the member states of the Union. At the same time, the main directions of integration work in the economic and social spheres were identified.
On December 8, 1999, the Treaty on the establishment of the Union State and the Program of Action of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty establishing the Union State was signed.
Over the past time, the union project has proved its relevance and viability. A solid juridical base has been formed. Over 150 agreements have been concluded that regulate practically all the key aspects of bilateral cooperation.
Within the framework of the Union State, conditions have been created for ensuring the equality of citizens' rights, pursuing a joint defense policy, coordinated foreign policy interaction, and implementing large-scale economic and scientific-technical processes.
The successful experience of cooperation within the framework of the Union State contributed to the deepening of integration processes in the CIS space - many Russian-Belarusian developments were used in the formation of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and then the Eurasian Economic Union, which began its work on January 1 2015.


Two countries - one fate
Vasily Grigorievich Lopatin, fitter repairman of the joint venture:
- I come from Smolensk district, where I lived with my parents until I was 19, but fate decided that I met my future wife in Russia (her mother is also a Russian woman) and went with her to her homeland - Belarus, and here I live to this day. In Smolensk lives a lot of our relatives: my brothers and sisters of their family, so often come to visit them, meet friends, classmates. In my opinion, neither the nature nor the mentality of the peoples of Belarus and Russia are particularly different. In Russia, too, many forests and lakes. There are many kind and open people there. Therefore, I especially do not have to rebuild when I go to relatives and return here. I love Russia, because I was born there, my childhood and youth passed away. Of course, I love Belarus - my family lives here, my children were born.
Alexander Viktorovich Vakulenko, Senior Controller at the checkpoint:
- I was born in Ukraine, graduated from the Nikolayev Shipbuilding School and in 1975 was called to serve in the Navy. In Russia, I happened to work in Sevastopol, then in the north of the country in the city of Polar, I also served for many years in the Murmansk region in Vidyaevo (a town that became famous after the death of the Kursk submarine), where in 1992 I retired . I moved to Belarus in 1996. Here live the relatives of my wife, whom we met on vacation in Gelendzhik. She lived with me for many years in Russia, but still persuaded me to move to her homeland in Belarus. I must say that I, basically, had to serve in the northern region of Russia, that's why nature and climate in Belarus are much more pleasant to me. As for people, the fleet often worked with the Slavs, then there was the Soviet Union, and there was no such division between Russians and Belarusians. Having lived here for many years, I concluded that the Belarusians are probably more friendly and open, although I have many friends in Russia and are also remarkable people.

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