Lukashenka takes Putin's seat
11:51, — Politics
The incident happened during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
Lukashenka made a mistake and sat down in the chair meant for the Russian Prime Minister before the beginning of the extended meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, Interfax reports.
“We seat in a wrong way,” Lukashenka joked repeating the famous remark by Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin and took the right seat.
Presidents of Ukraine, Armenia, Tajikistan and a representative of Kyrgyzstan joined the presidents of the troika – Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
“We, our specialists and experts have been discussing a range of issues for two hours in a narrow format. The presidents of Ukraine, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan's representative joined us later. We agreed that we would inform them about the discussion,” Lukashenka said.
“We agreed that Viktor Khristenko [the chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission – Interfax] would inform them about the issue of the dialogue,” the Belarusian ruler said.
Vladimir Putin plans to have bilateral meetings with Viktor Yanukovych and Aliaksandr Lukashenka on the sidelines of the summit, according to NTV. Among other issues, the situation of Uralkali is expected to be discussed with Lukashenka.
Russian media note that the summit was held in Lukashenka's new residence, which construction “provoked debates in Belarusian society”.
“The staff of the Palace of Independence say construction workers left the building literally a day before the event. The interior is furnished with marble. Walking through the main entrance you find yourself in a huge corridor with two large Belarusian coat of arms on the walls. A guard of honour is inside the building and officers of the president's security service wear full dress uniform,” Izvestia writes.
Journalists were surprised with security measures. Access to the internet was available only after giving your passport details. Security officers openly took photos of journalists during the check.
Yeltsin said “We seat in a wrong way” on May 5, 1999, and added after a pause: “Stepashin is the first deputy prime minister. Fix it. Change your seat, Mr Stepashin.” Sergei Stepashin took the seat near PM Yevgeny Primakov after that. He replaced Primakov prime minister shortly afterwards. The phrase became an idiom.
A photo from the Kremlin's website