MINSK, 26 September (BelTA) - Belarus is a key partner for Leningrad Oblast, Governor of Russia's Leningrad Oblast Aleksandr Drozdenko said as he met with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on 26 September, BelTA has learned.
According to the governor, the current visit of the Leningrad Oblast delegation to Belarus began with a visit to the Khatyn Memorial Complex. He expressed his gratitude for everything that had been done there recently. “Our delegation came out deeply impressed, both emotionally and mentally. This is all very close to us. The people of Leningrad Oblast and Belarus are together spiritually, mentally. It is manifested in everything,” Aleksandr Drozdenko said.
He cited the Belarusian president as saying on 17 September, the Day of People's Unity, that today, just like on the eve of the Great Patriotic War, there are vultures circling around the Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian lands, and therefore it is necessary to unite and act together. “I have always believed that you are a key partner for us. You understand why. Today we are working out the situation together with Nikolai Snopkov and [First Deputy Prime Minister and Belarus' Ambassador to Russia] Dmitry Krutoi literally in manual mode,” the governor stressed.
According to him, the parties have established systematic work and have already held the 11th meeting of the joint working group. Aleksandr Drozdenko is confident that this year the parties will reach the previously planned volume of trade of $1 billion. “We are approaching $1 billion. We do not have doubts that we will do this. The trade keeps growing. I want to say that it is thanks to such close cooperation that our lineup increased by 70 new items in the last year alone. This has never happened before. The assortment of our mutual interests has never grown so fast. We are already opening fairs and stores with Belarusian products,” the governor said.
Aleksandr Drozdenko also agreed with the president's words that there was no need to duplicate production facilities, as the parties could trade with each other in what they were already good at producing: “You are indeed right. We do not need to reinvent the wheel in what we can buy from you. Moreover, we have started to work out very good lending schemes that are favorable to us. We do not need to invest budget money. We can get a service, goods or works here and now, and then pay through leasing and lending schemes.”
According to the governor, Leningrad Oblast purchases a lot of Belarusian equipment. Since the beginning of this year, some 110 units of equipment worth more than RUB300 million have been purchased alone. “By the way, the subsidies amounted to RUB90 million. This means that we subsidized almost a third of the purchase. We defended this position in the government for a very long time and said that we would subsidize the equipment through our budget,” Aleksandr Drozdenko said.