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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin and Lukashenko Talk Up Ties

ReutersPutin and Lukashenko walking with Putin's dog Connie on the grounds of the president's Sochi residence on Monday.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko talked up Russia-Belarus ties during a meeting Monday in Sochi, where Putin was on a working vacation.

Since the last time they met in October, Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Moldova's parliamentary elections and the Kyrgyz uprising have drastically changed the post-Soviet landscape -- causing Putin to rethink his policy regarding other former Soviet republics and driving Lukashenko further into isolation.

The two leaders, however, made no public comment about those events Monday.

Putin, instead, spoke of strong ties with Belarus and said he and Lukashenko had discussed their countries' plans to introduce a single currency. "This idea is not dead," Putin said, Interfax reported. "We confirmed we're ready to continue this work, but we won't talk now about deadlines.''

Lukashenko stressed that there was no friction between Minsk and Moscow.

Meanwhile, a leading Belarussian human rights activist said Monday that people in Belarus were so fed up with Lukashenko's harsh leadership that they could take to the streets to oust the government as early as next year, The Associated Press reported.

Andrei Sannikov, in Vienna to receive a human rights prize, said Belarussians have been energized by events in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine to the extent that a revolution could occur during the next presidential elections, scheduled for 2006. "Changes are long overdue in Belarus," he said. "People are ready for change, especially now that [most of] our neighbors are in the European Union or want to be in the European Union."