MOSCOW, 3 March. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday presented his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko with the Order of Alexander Nevsky. The ceremony took place on the sidelines of a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State that was held in the Kremlin.
The Russian president signed a decree awarding the Order of Alexander Nevsky to Lukashenko last August — on the 60th anniversary of the Belarusian president. The document says that Lukashenko has been awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky "for his great personal contribution to the development of traditional friendly ties between Russia and Belarus, to deepening bilateral cooperation in the political, defence, economic and social spheres."
"You know well our attitude to you. I would still like to say once again that without your active, open position on Belarus-Russia rapprochement not only the Union State would not exist — although there is still much to be done — but certainly there would be no single economic space, no our Eurasian Union, which already includes not only Belarus and Russia, but also Kazakhstan, and two more countries are in the process of accession, they are already, in fact, full members of our organisation. This is a major creative process much needed by our people. Thank you very much," President Putin said after the ceremony.
In turn, Lukashenko said: "Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Now, I hope, my patron saint will be protecting me even more. Thank you."
The Order of Alexander Nevsky existed in tsarist Russia (from 1725 to 1917) and the USSR (since 1942). The Order’s statute and description were reapproved in 2010. The Order can be awarded to both Russian and foreign state figures.