A friendship that has lasted decades

Moscow Days took place in Minsk in the beginning of June

A number of joint Moscow-Belarusian documents were signed during Moscow Days in June. Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin and Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee Andrei Shorets signed a plan that outlines measures for the Republic of Belarus and the City of Moscow on the development of trade and economic, research, technical and social cooperation for 2016-2018.

“Obviously, Moscow and Minsk are connected by an extensive history that stretches back centuries. Over the past 20 years, after the Soviet Union fell apart, we have maintained friendly relations with Belarus, with Minsk. Our cooperation expands every year, encompassing various sectors of the economy, from the social sphere to transportation, the municipal sector and so on. This friendship, which has lasted decades, worked well when Moscow was going through a difficult time due to economic sanctions. Produce from Belarus entered the Moscow market and replaced many European goods, allowing Moscow to cruise through the crisis with relative ease,” said Sergey Sobyanin, clarifying that signing the plan on cooperation is a testament to the fact that cooperation across these areas is due to expand.

During his opening speech for the business cooperation forum in Minsk, which was organized by the Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations, Sergey Sobyanin thanked Belarusian agricultural producers for their help with the food supply.

The mayor pointed out that Moscow and the Republic of Belarus are not competitors, but that their economies complement each other, helping each other through rough time periods. “The latest example is the food sanctions implemented by Europe against Moscow. Moscow came out almost unscathed in terms of the diversity and volume of products thanks to Belarusian agricultural producers, who filled a niche left open by Western suppliers.”

According to Mr. Sobyanin, cooperation is not limited to produce supplies. The mayor pointed out that our mega-city is a serious consumer of construction goods and services. Minsk producers have carved out a niche in this sphere. “I would like to thank Belarusians for their contribution to the construction of two branches of the Moscow metro,” Sobyanin said.

Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee Andrei Shorets pointed out that the forum itself serves as testament to the fact that the two sides are moving toward real, concrete cooperation and are starting to discuss urgent issues. These issues include public procurement, information technology, energy, transportation and logistics.

Alexander Surikov, the Russian Ambassador to Belarus, pointed out that the Minsk business cooperation forum took place against the backdrop of a conference between the regions of Belarus and Russia. “We welcome close cooperation between the capitals, since they hold the main research and industrial capacities of our governments. I hope that the forum will result in not just an increase in trade turnover, but also an increase in production potential for both regions,” Mr. Surikov said.

In the evening, the Palace of the Republic hosted a concert by the Pyatnitsky choir. At the Moscow House in Minsk, people’s artist of the USSR Vasily Lonovoy and performers from Moscow theatres presented the project “Immortal Regiment.”

A book exhibition helped Minsk residents get to know Moscow better. The exhibition was comprised of the best examples of publishing programs of the Government of the Russian capital, and a photo exhibition entitled "My Moscow." There were also friendly hockey matches between junior teams. The Muscovites won.

The day after Moscow Days, Minsk held a plenary meeting for the Third Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions, which was attended by leaders of the two countries. Speaking before a large audience, Putin praised the Muscovites: “Moscow Days in Minsk were a great success, and I would like to extend a special ‘Thank You’ to our capital’s Mayor, Sergey Sobyanin.”

Moreover, the President suggested that Belarusians hold Minsk Days in Moscow. According to him, both sides are interested in organizing this event.

President Putin’s praise was well-deserved. Moscow Days, which have become a regular event in Minsk, were very well organized and tens of thousands of Belarusian citizens took part in cultural in business events. ■



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