Medvedev snaps back at Lukashenko

Russia does not trade in its principles and does not respond to pressure. A statement to that effect is placed on President Medvedev's blog in response to the critical remarks against Russia from the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko did not mince his words as he lashed out at top officials in Moscow and accused Russian journalists of "whacking" him on orders from the Kremlin ahead of presidential elections in December. President Medvedev was quick to provide a harsh response to the attacks:

"President Lukashenko uses abusive language which goes beyond the bounds of diplomacy and violates elementary rules of social behavior. Belarus' leaders traditionally lay the blame for whatever problems there are on a foreign enemy in an effort to set one nation against another. In previous years, they blamed the United States, Europe and the West. Now, they blame Russia."

The Belarusian leader has used similar language in relation to Russia before but this time he has clearly gone overboard, wearing out Moscow's patience and clearly misleading the public.

"The current election campaign in Belarus centers on anti-Russian sentiments and anti-Russian hysteria over Russia's alleged unwillingness to support Belarus' economy. But Russia has supported Belarus uninterruptedly ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago, and the volume of Russia's assistance is immense. This year alone, Belarus received nearly two billion dollars in aid from low-rate oil supplies from Russia and it is profiting from Russian gas supplies too," said Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia and Belarus shrare years of friendship, are partners in the Union State, and are working side by side in creating a Customs Union and developing the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States. President Medvedev has described Belarus' attempts to bargain for extra perks as dishonest:

"President Lukashenko demonstrated a whimsical vision of partnership with Russia as he announced readiness to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the presence of five presidents. Shortly afterwards, this issue became a matter of political bargaining. But Russia is not bargaining, and it will rely on this principle in relations with Belarus' leadership."

The people of Russia and Belarus will preserve fraternal relations regardless of who is elected as president, President Medvedev says. The current spell of tension will soon be over, he says, and Moscow and Minsk will proceed to foster effective partnership and cooperation.


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