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President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the opening ceremony of Days of Belarusian Culture in Russia

January 16, 2001, Moscow

Speaking at the ceremony in the Bolshoi Theatre, President Putin said Russia and Belarus were consistently and persistently moving towards economic unification and political integration. Mr Putin stressed that, thanks to the efforts of the Belarusian leadership, the people of Russia could rediscover the roots of their common culture that had united both fraternal nations for a thousand years. President Putin said such events, which had not been held in Russia in the last 15 years, helped bring people closer together.

Before the ceremony, Mr Putin and Mr Lukashenko met each other in the Kremlin. The Russian leader highlighted the Belarusian President’s contribution to organising this major cultural event. Both leaders discussed the implementation of the decisions of the Supreme State Council of the Union State and important issues related to economic cooperation.

January 16, 2001, Moscow