In 1996, an agreement on cooperation was signed between Russia and Belarus, after which the two countries took a course for rapprochement and creation of a common economic space. The anniversary of Unity of the Peoples was celebrated on 2 April in the capitals of the two states with grand concerts.
While on the stage of the Moscow Variety Theater actors rehearsed the final entrance, the joint parliamentary officials in the foyer repeated their speech on press cameras.
Congratulations on the 17th anniversary of the two countries unification were expressed in Minsk too. At a meeting with journalists, Secretary of State of the Union State Grigory Rapota recalled how, in the mid-90s Russia and Belarus had to survive one by one. "We have learned to live separately, it's time to learn to live together," said the secretary.
From the press conference the celebrations moved to the Philharmonic Concert Hall in the center of Minsk. Traditionally, allied MPs, political and state agents of Belarus and Russia spoke, and artists of the allied countries performed at the concerts.