MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Belarusian authorities’ displeasure over the decision to introduce border zones on the Russian side of the state border between the two countries might be caused by economic considerations, Mikhail Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament told reporters on Friday.
"Quite possibly, the Belarusian authorities dissatisfaction stems from economic considerations," he said. "The inevitable process of aligning the two countries’ economies in the format of the Eurasian Economic Union is underway but contradictions should be eliminated on the operating level."
Dzhabarov also surmised that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had received improper information on Russia’s decision to introduce the border zones.
"Nothing changes in the rules for crossing the [Russian-Belarusian] border and on the Belarusian side of the border line a similar zone exists as of 2014," he recalled, adding that President Lukashenko signed a degree regulating the imposition of border zones with the territories of regions and districts that adjoin the Belarusian-Russian state border.
"Now we’ve decided to pay attention to the situation in such areas on our side, as Minsk has lifted travel visas for citizens of a number of countries," Dzhabarov said.
Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov issued an instruction to set up border zones in the areas along the Russian-Belarusian border.
A letter of comment appended to the instruction said the goal of the step was to establish the conditions essential for protection of Russia’s state border and to prevent the possible offenses, the troubleshooting of which fell into the scope of powers of border control agencies.
Back on January 9, President Lukashenko signed an executive order permitting visa-free entry to Belarus for a period of up to five days for the citizens of 80 countries including the entire European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, and the US.
Lukashenko reacted to the FSB decisions with displeasure, saying Russia had violated a treaty on the state border between the two countries.