Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Belarus, Russia have different ideas of integration, politician says

Belarus and Russia have different ideas of integration, Russian politician Vladimir Ryzhkov said at a conference in Minsk on August 27.

Belarus has not planned to lose its independence while forging closer ties with Russia from the very beginning, he noted. "It was ready to voluntarily delegate some powers to supranational agencies but even on a lesser scale than it is now happening in the European Union," Mr. Ryzhkov said.

The Kremlin has always viewed the creation of a single state with Belarus as the ultimate goal of bilateral integration, according to the politician. "Even now there are people in Russia who advocate Belarus’ restricted sovereignty, although they don’t say this openly. Putin cannot imagine himself being commanded by some supranational agency," he noted.

The politician suggested that with Belarus facing a tough economic situation, Moscow could seek to "push through its integration scenario." "But Belarus will hardly agree to this, which will cause a new spiral of mistrust. The situation regarding the Union State Treaty has reached the final impasse," he said.

In order to improve their relations Belarus and Russia need to acknowledge their importance to each other, preserve their current level of cooperation and "take a step back without making utopian plans," Mr. Ryzhkov said.