MINSK, 19 May (BelTA) - Western countries, pursuing a policy of sanctions, have pushed Belarus and Russia to a more intensive development, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia Gleb Nikitin in Minsk on 19 May, BelTA has learned.
The head of state emphasized a great potential for cooperation between Belarus and Russia, including Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. In his words, the sanctions pressure from the West is pushing the two countries to enhance cooperation. “These sanctions have pushed us largely to mind our own business and not to look around, not to look at things which are good there, but create something good at home,” said the Belarusian leader. “They say ‘sanctions, sanctions'... I think that the West, without realizing it, has pushed us, Russia and Belarus, to intensive development. If someone is ready to join us here, they will benefit from it greatly.”
The only thing is that those benefits will not be immediate. It will take some time to restructure the economies of the states, said Aleksandr Lukashenko: “We just need some time. It is not easy to turn around this huge machine. There are a lot of industries. Manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors are huge. We need time to do it.”
According to the president, the manufacturing sectors of the two countries have the potential to produce almost any product, but quality needs to be improved in some industries so that the countries could reach the world level. This, of course, will take some time. “We will not drive Mercedes cars for a while. We will drive the cars that we have,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Continuing the topic of import substitution, the president stressed that Russia had recently announced its intention to produce Lada and Moskvitch cars. “What's wrong with it? They are no longer those Soviet-era Moskvitch cars, of course. Yet, maybe they are not as good as Mercedes cars. One day we will have our own Mercedes-class cars. One does not need that much time for this,” the head of state said.
“Once we get out of these sanctions, we will get a solid effect. If not for the Westerners, the Americans who had imposed sanctions against us, you would still exchange oil and gas for products of the real economy of Germany or the United States. Now we will be doing it all ourselves. Once we were on par with the United States or other countries, we were providing for ourselves. Therefore, we will cope with these sanctions. Sanctions are not a bowl of cherries. But nevertheless, we have to live and develop in this situation. And we are determined to do so,” stressed the Belarusian leader.