General consulates to help regions of Belarus, Russia step up interaction
The expansion of the network of diplomatic institutions helps step up interaction between Belarus and Russia, BelTA learned from Pavel Popko, a member of the International Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus.
The MP believes that the opening of Russia's consulate general in Grodno in late 2022 will contribute to more vigorous cooperation. “The opening of the consulate general is a testimony of the society's need for more active interaction with Russia. It also reflects the eagerness of the two countries to advance integration. The step also helps significantly with stepping up cooperation of the regions of the Union State of Belarus and Russia,” Pavel Popko said.
Russia's consulate general in Grodno welcomed the first few visitors on 9 January. Belarus is also busy developing its infrastructure in Russia. An agreement on opening a consulate general in St Petersburg has already been reached. There are plans to do the same in Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg. Pavel Popko is convinced there is a great potential in Belarus-Russia regional cooperation. He reminded that Russian regions actively buy Belarusian machines, vehicles, and equipment as well as mechanical engineering industry products. The restrictive measures the West has introduced against the Union State of Belarus and Russia have helped step up this interaction.
“In addition to trade opportunities cooperation with Russian regions opens up new export ways for Belarus. On the whole, Belarus-Russia integration leads to higher prosperity of the two nations. Achievements in the social and economic spheres seriously improve the human development index in both countries. Russia is Belarus' main economic and trade partner, the largest market for Belarusian exports. It became possible primarily thanks to an active dialogue at the top level. Regular meetings of the leaders of the two countries help promptly address all the topical items on the Union State agenda,” the MP said.
Among the agreements Belarus and Russia have reached Pavel Popko mentioned full reconciliation of the list of import-substituting projects. “The total sum of investments is RUB105 billion. The financing scheme has been signed. The relevant projects are being fleshed out now. Manufacturing chains are being established in mechanical engineering, microelectronics, and heavy industry. Such interaction is vital in current conditions,” the MP is convinced.
The ordinance passed by the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia to approve the guidelines for work till 2023 and 28 Union State programs represented an additional impulse for deeper Belarus-Russia integration, Pavel Popko noted. “The main task is to set up joint markets, work out a unified policy in various spheres, and work out unified or harmonized rules depending on a Union State program. It is important that the 28 Union State programs will substantially simplify interregional interaction between Russia and Belarus,” he concluded.