Opposition MP in Belarus launches petition to stop union state with Russia

Belarusian lawmaker and member of the opposition United Civil Party Hanna Kanapatskaya has launched an online petition to have Belarus quit the 1996 Union State Treaty with the Russian Federation.

“Many citizens are concerned over this issue, but they keep holding closed-door consultations on it. This is an issue that should be addressed with due consideration given to public opinion,” the opposition MP, who previously described the union state project as a “stillborn child” told Belsat TV. So far, the newly launched petition has been signed by more than 1,100 Belarusians.

Ms Kanapatskaya’s move comes after she unsuccessfully pushed for a referendum on the issue in March. The only way to quit the treaty is by holding a referendum.

Talks have been underway between Russia and Belarus for months to form a joint state in accordance with the treaty. Earlier this week, Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that proposals regarding the union state’s implementation “were 70 per cent ready”.