Putin calls for Russia-Belarus unification
Putin pushes for merger with Belarus
Jul. 27, 2005 at 7:06AM
Russian President Vladimir Putin told members of a
political youth movement that the country needs
unification with neighboring Belarus.
"We do not want to offend those who value
Belarusian culture, language and history, which we are
proud of as well," Putin said, according to Novosti.
"However, in a broad sense, we are a single nation and
we will only benefit if we unite, having gained
advantages in relations with other countries."
Putin met with members of the Nashi movement at
the Zavidovo state residence in Tver region.
Russia and Belarus signed an agreement in 1999
seeking eventual reunification. But negotiators have
been unable to agree on a draft constitution and any
merger of the currency is on indefinite hold.
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus said
on Tuesday that part of the problem is that Russia
wants to model the merged state on the European Union
while Belarus would like it to resemble the Soviet Union.