MINSK, 7 August (BelTA) - Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko shared his recollections about first Russian President Boris Yeltsin and also revealed some details on his talks with current Russian President Vladimir Putin as he gave an interview to the Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, BelTA has learned.
The Belarusian head of state described his relations with Boris Yeltsin as very good. “If some of the people around him had not pushed us away from the way we were going, we could have done more,” said the president.
“We were on first name terms at his request,” said the Belarusian leader.
The head of state recalled that once during a meeting in the Kremlin he stated that some of the earlier agreements regarding supplies and pricing were not implemented. Boris Yeltsin responded to it immediately: “This is not good. Do not let Belarus down, Comrade Chubais [Anatoly Chubais worked at various high-ranking positions in the Russian government in the 1990s].”
“I still remember that phrase. An hour later, everything was back to the way we agreed. All issues were resolved. He had the same attitude towards all the Soviet Union states. He thought that he was the senior and he should support and help,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The interviewer asked whether the current Russian President Vladimir Putin had such an approach. “You know, the system is different now,” the Belarusian head of state replied.
The Belarusian president said that Vladimir Putin has a good quality and that he told the Russian leader about it. “I often tell him: you know, if I need something from you, I know what to do: I need to get you make a promise. If you make a promise, you will always stick by it,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“Now, for the past six months I have seen this thing: they say one thing, then retreat from this. Putin makes promises, the government does differently. This does not apply to this government [Russian] as we have not worked with it yet. This applies to the previous government.”
Dmitry Gordon asked Aleksandr Lukashenko if it is true that the relations between the Belarusian leader and Vladimir Putin are tense. “If I say that this is not true, this will not be my style. Indeed, there are certain tensions, but this is because we are both strong personalities," the president replied.
“I have told him recently (in connection with all these road maps, integration and so on): we are not eternal, sooner or later we will leave, and our task is to leave behind something that those who will come after us, our children, will be grateful to us. Such was the reasoning. I asked him not to put pressure on me or Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. "He interrupted me and said, ‘Listen, Sasha, do you think I am going to allow myself to put pressure on you? I know that if you are pressured, you will do the opposite. This is unpromising and useless.' And he said it sincerely.”
“He has not made attempts to put pressure on me. He knows that it is useless to put pressure on me, and this is true. I am always ready to compromise if this concerns me personally, or something else. If it is about the country, if I see that something is unfair, I cannot stand it. Justice is at the core of everything I am trying to do, of every policy I am pursuing. Justice is the cornerstone of everything. laws are a good thing, but you cannot formalize everything. Justice is all important. If I see that someone is trying to treat my people, my nation, Belarus unfairly I cannot tolerate it,” the Belarusian leader said.