Presidential hopeful calls for closer ties with Russia

Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and a potential presidential candidate in the coming elections, has called for closer ties with Russia and attacked Minsk for its bitter dispute with Moscow, as quoted by BelaPAN.

Speaking at a party conference in Minsk on August 21, Mr. Haydukevich said that the party’s stance on relations with Russia had remained unchanged for more than a decade. “We advocate a common currency with Russia. If it were introduced, we would buy energy resources at Russia’s domestic prices,” he stressed.

The politician described the establishment of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia as “excellent” but said that he was “sorry for what is taking place now, when Russia is being blamed for our troubles.”

Mr. Haydukevich called for studying the possibility of forming a confederation with Russia. “Its establishment would not mean the loss of sovereignty but envisage a common currency and a joint military policy,” he said.

The remarks may be a sign of the politician’s attempt to enlist Russia’s support amid Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s rapidly deteriorating relations with the Kremlin.

The LDP advocates a multi-vector foreign policy, according to Mr. Haydukevich. “We must gradually develop relations with the European Union and the United States and China. It will be good if Belarus joins the EU even in a couple of years,” he stressed.

Mr. Haydukevich confirmed his plans to run for president in the coming elections.