Belarusians holding opposition views should be included in the national constitutional reform, only the Belarusian people can decide what their constitution should be like, Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko said in an interview with TASS.
"I primarily would like to say that the situation in Belarus is obviously not an easy one, but President Alexander Lukashenko said that a constitutional reform is needed. I, for instance, am positive about the very fact that he met with people who have opposition views and their point of view on the country’s future development. It is necessary to have dialogue with them and involve them in this constitutional reform," she noted.
"Only the Belarusian people and no one else have the right to decide what the constitution should be like and what country development choice should be made. If they ask us for advice, we will share our opinion. <…> There has never been any economic, political or forceful pressure on our CIS territory partners. We act in a partner-like manner," Matviyenko added.
The speaker underlined that Russia treats Belarus as a respected sovereign state and is convinced that "no one can interfere into domestic affairs of this or any other country from abroad."
"We empathize with what’s happening and are very concerned, hoping that there is no further radicalization, more clashes because it will primarily affect the well-being and living standards of people," she added.
According to the speaker, any responsible politicians and parties, even if they hold different views, "should understand that democracy is negotiations, it is a process, it is a parliament that reflects people’s will, it is elections." "This should be discussed rather than how to radicalize the situation with possible, God forbid, victims and toughest consequences for the country. This is untenable," she concluded.