Under the arrangement, Belarus and Russia would embrace shared money, common foreign and defense policies, a frequent parliament, one tax code, open borders and a devotion to rear sanctions imposed by government on a different nation.
From the absence of choices, a symbiosis with Belarus’s bigger neighbor looked like the ideal alternative.
“[Europe] didn’t provide Belarus appealing options, so the governmental elites of this nation chose the most comprehensible and accessible alternative.”
But fast forward over 20 decades and the landscape has shifted.
“The two nations have moved apart to some massive space [because the deal had been signed in the 1990s],” explained Rumen Dobrinsky a specialist on Belarus in the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies. “I don’t see anybody in Belarus who’d be prepared […] to eventually become part of Russia. Belarus has appreciated its liberty.”
Meanwhile, Lukashenko understands a marriage with Putin’s Russia in 2020 will be just one-sided.
“If there’s a joint common parliament and government, naturally, it’ll be ruled by Russia,” explained Dobrinsky. “If there’s a frequent currency, it’ll be the Russian Rouble, therefore, almost, Belarus will shed all its global independence.”
Add to the fact that Lukashenko – that has mastered Belarus since independence in 1991 – sees at Putin an adversary he never saw at Yeltsin, that by 1997 had wasted his early fame and eventually become something of a liability on the foreign point.
“Lukashenko’s approach to integration has shifted […] since he thought he looked just like a proper political pioneer in the post-Soviet area in the view of Russians, however, Vladimir Putin turned out to become popular,” Treshchenkov explained.
Once on a time, Treshchenkov included, Lukashenko was considered to have plans to carry over from the Kremlin following Yeltsin.
Talking on Friday,” Lukashenko stated”Belarusians would eat me alive” when he had been to pursue integration with Russia, and relating to this, he might be correct.
Included in this arrangement in 1997, Russia dedicated to supplying cut-price gas and oil to Belarus. For the previous 3 weeks, Belarus has obtained no energy out of its neighbor.
Talking to employees at a newspaper plant Friday, Lukashenko stated that Russia had stopped gas and oil supplies to Belarus in order” to decode Belarus… in brotherly Russia.
The Belarussian leader added: “We’ve got our nation, we are autonomous and independent. Together with our hands and brains, we make what we can, we are building our nation. And we can not be part of another nation.”
“Americans, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates… I have a fantastic relationship together, they state they will provide as much oil as required,” Lukashenko said, hinting his intention to not concede to Russia’s requirements is”not a bluff”.
However, Aliaksandr Klaskouski, manager of analytic jobs at BelaPAN along with a Belarusian governmental expert, stated that although Belarus can try to strike deals with other countries for oil and gasoline, the Belarussian market stays extremely closely tied to Russia.
“Minsk needed to negotiate. […] It is not possible to just cut ties with Moscow and divert to new markets instantly,” Klaskouski explained.
There’s also the simple fact that while Lukashenko wants economical ties which would lessen his dependence on Russia, his unwillingness to implement political reforms holds him back.
In generally dubious elections this past year, not just one opposition candidate won a seat at the Belarussian parliament. It’s a democratic deficit that Putin – a master of innovative procedures to stay in power – is more happy to forget than Brussels.
“Lukashenko is fearful to go for economic reforms, and of course political ones, since he fears for the stability of the regime. Along with the lack of reforms hinders diversification of the market, hinders the rapprochement with Europe and joins Belarus into Russia,” he explained.
However, not everybody agrees that Putin’s Russia retains the cards in regards to relations with its neighbor.
Russia appreciates a steady Belarus over anything, especially today.”