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Belarus economy will not necessarily collapse without ruble

June 15, 2012, 6:22 UTC+3

The president also stressed that Belarus “is absolutely open, first of all for Russians”

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MINSK, June 15 (Itar-Tass) — One cannot say unequivocally that the Belarussian economy will collapse without the introduction of the Russian ruble, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with the governor of Russia’s constituent region of Bashkortostan, Rustem Khamitov, on Thursday.

“Will we collapse or not, will we go through a next crisis without the Russian money or not, - it is an open question that we can discuss today,” the president said at the talks. He mentioned that in connection with recent statements by Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov, who believes it is necessary to return to the issue of single currency. “The Belarussian system will not survive a second crisis,” the ambassador warned then.

The fact that “we have no Russian ruble at the moment is not a catastrophe,” Lukashenko noted, for his part. He said the two countries are ready to “get back to close integration” any moment.

“We won’t have special problems with Russia,” the president said. “However, Russia and Belarus are not enough. We must also think today about other republics. By the way, we have recently discussed it with the Russian president. This issue is already on the agenda,” the Belarussian leader stressed.

He said that Belarus receives warnings about a future crisis that the country will fail to survive. Lukashenko noted, however, that during the economic recession of 2011 the republic saw production growth, despite the fact that the prices of energy resources have grown almost fivefold over the past five years.

The president also stressed that Belarus “is absolutely open, first of all for Russians”. We have chosen that course long ago,” he noted.

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