April 2 – Day of Unity of the Peoples of Russia and Belarus

02/04/2024 10:37

On April 2, 1996, the presidents of the two States signed a Treaty “On the Formation of the Community of Russia and Belarus.” The fact of the signing marked the beginning of the mutual integration process of the countries. And every year on April 2 the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Russia and Belarus is celebrated.

Exactly a year later, on April 2, 1997, the Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia was signed. The main goals of the creation of the Union were the desire to improve the living standards of peoples, strengthen relations of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation in political, economic, social and other spheres, and ensure sustainable socio-economic development of the participating states based on combining their material and intellectual potentials.

The next important stage in the development of union relations between the two states was the signing on December 25, 1998 of the Declaration on the Further Unity of Belarus and Russia, the Treaty on Equal Rights of Citizens, the Agreement on Creating Equal Conditions for Business Entities and the Protocol thereto. In these documents, the presidents of the two countries firmly stated their determination to continue the gradual movement towards voluntary unification into the Union State while maintaining the national sovereignty of the Union member states. At the same time, the main areas of integration work in the economic and social spheres were determined.

On December 8, 1999, the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State and the Action Program of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State were signed.

Over the past time, the union project has proven its relevance and viability. A solid legal framework has been formed. More than 250 interstate and intergovernmental treaties and agreements have been concluded. Multilateral cooperation agreements also bind countries within the CIS, EAEU and CSTO. At the SCO summit in Samarkand on September 15-16, 2022, it was decided to begin the procedure for admitting Belarus as a full member of this organization.

Russia and Belarus interact fruitfully within the Union State in a wide range of areas, including issues of equal rights for citizens of the two countries in social security, access to education and medical care. Mutually beneficial cooperation is actively developing in foreign policy, trade and economic, defense, military-technical, migration, interparliamentary, interregional, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres.

Every year, at the expense of the budget of the Union State (for 2024 its volume is 6.9 billion Russian rubles), various joint programs and projects in security, medicine, scientific and technical research and other areas are implemented.

The acceleration of integration processes in almost all areas was facilitated by the approval by the Supreme State Council of the Union State on November 4, 2021 of the “Main Directions for the Implementation of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2021-2023,” which includes 28 industry-oriented programs.

As part of the programs’ implementation, the legislation of the countries in various spheres of economic activity has been largely unified, the basis has been laid for the implementation of a unified macroeconomic, monetary, tax and customs policy, as well as the formation of common markets and socio-economic space.

At a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State on November 29, 2023 in Moscow, the “Main guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2024-2026” were approved. The document consists of eleven sections, including issues of macroeconomic policy, activities in statistics of the common financial market, coordinated tax policy and cooperation in the customs sector, common industrial and agricultural policies, the functioning of united energy markets and the operation of nuclear energy facilities, an integrated transport system, building a single information space, as well as interaction in the cultural, humanitarian, scientific, technical and social spheres.

The political dialogue between the presidents and heads of government of Russia and Belarus is intense. Regular contacts are maintained between the heads of the chambers of parliament, deputy prime ministers, secretaries of security councils and heads of relevant departments. Foreign policy interaction between Russia and Belarus is systemic.

An important component of Russian-Belarusian relations is interregional cooperation, which contributes to the development of trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties between countries. About 80 constituent entities of the Russian Federation actively interact with Belarus.

Russia is the main investor in the Belarusian economy and the leading trading partner of Belarus. Belarus is consistently among the top five largest trading partners of Russia and ranks first among the CIS countries. At the end of 2023, bilateral trade turnover between Russia and Belarus amounted to about $53 billion.

According to the State Secretary of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev, during the validity of the agreement on the creation of the Union State of Belarus and the Russian Federation, more than 80 programs were implemented for a total amount of 56.7 billion rubles.
Cultural and humanitarian ties are consistently developing, including through direct contacts between institutions of education, science, culture, sports, public organizations of the two countries, as well as within interdepartmental and interregional cooperation programs. Traditionally, great importance is attached to the preservation of historical memory and the popularization of common history among the peoples of both countries.

Based on materials from https://ria.ru