"I believe the main task facing today Russia and Byelorussia, who are building a Union State, is a more vigorous economic integration and cooperation of our enterprises", said A. Surikov. He cited a few specific projects corroborating his position.
"Buses produced in Byelorussia are competitive, but they require further promotion on the Russian market. The Management of the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), the Russian Embassy and the Trade Mission have to support that effort. We have to find appropriate structural entities, including banking systems and leasing companies, for Byelorussian buses to occupy their due place on the Russian market, the more so as 50 percent of completing parts for "MAZ" buses are made at Russian plants. Therefore, that project, being advantageous for both countries, should be supported, among other things, from the Union State budget.
Another example is that of the Minsk Tractor Plant using Russian-made completing parts in diesel-building. That modern project is being implemented jointly by the Minsk and Yaroslavl plants. At the same time, there is a whole group of Altai motor plants that might be invited to take part in the joint production of diesel engines.
There is also room for joint action in the field of petrochemistry and light industry. Byelorussian flax has been winning Western textile markets, but not so Russian flax. What seems to be the problem? Is it that Byelorussia has more advanced and cheaper technologies? Let us jointly find out why Siberian and Mid-Russian flax cannot make their way to Western markets. The list can be continued", said the new Russian Ambassador to Byelorussia.
An opinion poll recently conducted in Byelorussia showed that, when asked about the most favored variant of integration with Russia, 52.3 percent of respondents supported the idea of a union of independent states linked by close political and economic ties, while 12 percent stood for one single state with one president, government, army, flag and currency.
As for the structure of the union state of Russia and Byelorussia, says Alexander Surikov, "there is no clear-cut definition of what we would like to have – one single state with two subjects, sovereign or otherwise, or something like the European Union, that is, a union of sovereign states with certain powers delegated to the Union State. In my opinion, there is no sense in flogging a willing horse. You can get things quick, but then lose it all just as quick. A state is formed to last for centuries, not decades, and it should meet all the requirements of state-building, communality of its population, economic life, people's expectations – in this particular case the two peoples very close in spirit and united by centuries-old history. The very form of unification must not harm the peoples. The Supreme State Council has taken a very sensible decision – to scrutinize the draft Constitutional Act again this year".
A. Surikov disclosed that in the nearest future he was going to familiarize himself with Byelorussian national specifics: "Regretfully, I am not fully versed in customs and traditions of the Byelorussian people, though we, the two brotherly peoples, have very much in common. So I would like to travel across the country, read about it and get to know its people. You have to live the Byelorussian people's life so that, while working for the good of both countries, to fully take into account our common interests".