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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On the Russian-Belarusian border guards return

For the first time since 2011, Russia and Belarus will share not formal, but real border. This decision was made by Moscow after the decision of Alexander Lukashenko on the visa free regime for foreigners who could now quietly get into Russia. However, such a solution has a deeper background.

On Wednesday, the Director of the Federal security service of Russia Alexander Bortnikov has ordered to establish on the borders of Smolensk, Pskov and Bryansk regions of Belarus border zone. Later it is planned to determine the order and the time of passage of people and entry of vehicles into the border zone, where will be installed the warning signs.

“We consider Belarus is one of the closest States, we do not expect anything bad. Nevertheless, we want peace, tranquility and security”

According to the document, the measures taken to “create the necessary conditions for the protection of the state border of Russia”. Formerly the border zone on the borders of Russian regions with Belarus was not.

Note that the border control on the border of the two republics, including on the highway M1 (Moscow – Minsk), was abolished 20 years ago with the advent of the Union state. However, until 2011 there were still functioning customs control. De facto everyone crossing the border had to produce documents – though not the guards, but only to customs officers. In the last 6 years has disappeared and the actual control – so, cars with Russian and Belarusian numbers cross the border without stopping, only slightly dropping speed on-demand road signs. The control was subjected to only trucks.

Belarus has imposed a regime of the border zone along the Belarusian-Russian border in September 2014 by the decree of the President. However, the decree was a mere formality – Belarusian border guards on the border with Russia have not appeared. On Wednesday, RIA “Novosti” said the representative of the State border Committee of Belarus Anton Bychkovsky.

But now, it seems, everything will change – and for those traveling to Belarus by car or by train, you will have to submit the documents at least Russian border guards. Recall, February 9, comes into force the decree of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on a five-day visa-free regime for citizens of 80 countries, including USA, EU, Brazil, Japan. Therefore, foreigners coming to Belarus, got an opportunity to enter the Russian territory without going through the necessary procedures. In this regard, the FSB started with the beginning of the year to check the documents of all passengers arriving at the airports of Moscow from Minsk.

However, in September, a bus with 30 tourists from Austria, which took in Russia, the Kaliningrad company was forced to change the route and from the checkpoint near Smolensk to make a detour of 800 miles to enter Russia. The official reason – the absence in this place of the border control posts for the admission of third-country nationals. Tourists are recommended to enter Russia through Latvia or Ukraine, where there are a full, normal international border crossing points. In October, the Russian Union of travel industry warned that the border crossing point “Red Hill” near Smolensk will pass the citizens of all States, in addition to representatives of Russia and Belarus, Union state residents.

In November the representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova warned that crossing the border of Russia and Belarus, foreigners can apply sanctions, since it has no international checkpoints. She explained this radical change of the situation in the world. “Sharply increased the risks associated with a terrorist, migration issues,” – said Zakharov.

According to her, the Russian authorities at the border regularly detained persons who had no reason for entry to Russia and represented a security risk.

In Minsk feel the pressure

In Minsk, however, doubt called Moscow the reasons for establishing the limits. The head of the Minsk Center for strategic and political research, Yuri Tsarik considers the ongoing Russian pressure, “the desire to provide those actions of the Belarusian side, primarily in the military-political sphere, which is interested Moscow”.

“We know all the official justifications and positions associated with the so-called border migration issue. Based on the logic of the argument of the Russian side, we must acknowledge that, or the previous 20 years, when all the agreements are working normally, the entry of foreigners through Belarus to Russia was carried out illegally, or that the arguments of the Russian side are far-fetched and most likely politically motivated,” said Tsarik the newspaper VIEW.

“The situation was expected,” – said the expert. The analyst recalled that the underlying conflict between the two countries lasts from the middle of 2015, when once again the question arose about placing in Belarus the Russian airbase. When the question began to be discussed more in detail, it “surfaced aspects, not only related to aviation and land base”.

“Russia would like to turn Belarus into a military-strategic base, and seeks to place their troops on a permanent basis. Belarus will not agree, because this is incompatible with the sovereignty of the country. Everything that happens around it: the gas and oil, and so on – in our opinion, is a tool in relation to the principal contradiction,” concluded the expert.

On the contrary, the Chairman of the Duma Committee for security and combating corruption Anatoly Election (United Russia) in conversation with the newspaper VIEW welcomed the decision of the FSB. He said that Russia is doing everything possible to “fully guarantee the protection of the state and citizens from any unforeseen circumstances, conflicts”.

“Belarus is one of the closest States, and we have nothing bad from this side is not expected. Nevertheless, we want peace, tranquility and security for our society. We see what is happening in the world, on the border of Belarus with Poland and with other countries”, – said the Deputy.

The election assured that the Russians and the Belarusians, who used to travel freely across the border, no problems. “This is our Federal government. Belarus is a member of CSTO. We have very close political and economic relations, cultural ties. But the issue of security – category of another dimension, it should always be at the highest level and meet the interests of our national security,” – concluded Anatoly Vyborny.

As the newspaper view, with the December growing tensions between Minsk and Moscow. So, Alexander Lukashenko missed the summits of the CSTO and the Eurasian economic Union in St. Petersburg, thus depriving them of the quorum (for example, failed to choose a new Secretary General of the CSTO). In addition, in December, in Minsk, was taken into custody by four well-known Pro blogger. In spite of personal appeals, Sergei Lavrov, in Minsk decided to give Azerbaijan one of them – the Russians, the famous traveler Alexander Lapshin. His fault is that he had previously visited Karabakh without permission from Baku. “Lukashenko has been entered into the taste”, – said on this occasion the newspaper OPINION in the state Duma, adding that “such reptiles” recalls another anti-Russian gesture.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explicitly urged Minsk not to issue Lapshin, Recalling that “we with Belarus” Union state, in which made a decision to align the rights of citizens of one and the other countries in all fields. This fact “requires, among other things, identify the common lists of individuals which are undesirable and desirable, it also requires a unified policy in the field of extradition.”


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