October 9 – October 15, 2023
Belarus-Russia relations

Have the union programs been fully implemented? Let’s discuss new ones

The situation has not changed
Have the union programs been fully implemented? Let’s discuss new ones
Фото: пресс-служба администрации Ульяновской области

Minsk continues to intensify cooperation with Russian regions. Belarus and Russia will likely begin discussing new integration documents similar to the 28 union programs.

At the forum of the Council of Heads of State of the CIS, held in Bishkek, Lukashenka met with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. In turn, Putin held negotiations with the leaders of Tajikistan – Emomali Rahmon, Kyrgyzstan – Sadyr Japarov and Azerbaijan – Ilham Aliyev. Putin did not have time for Lukashenka, which in itself is remarkable. Either at this stage they have nothing to discuss (which is doubtful), or the Kremlin has deliberately pushed the “Belarusian issue” to the periphery. Thus, emphasizing the decline in Lukashenka’s political status to a post-Soviet leader of the “second order” – like the head of Chechnya, Kadyrov.

In fact, such a decline actually took place. In an effort to compensate for the acute lack of communications with heads of state, Lukashenka focused on regional policy – and continued a series of meetings with Russian governors. During negotiations with the head of the Novosibirsk region, Andrey Travnikov, the Belarusian politician proposed jointly developing artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial systems. In general, Lukashenka repeated the crib sheet about the need for closer industrial cooperation, import substitution and “technological sovereignty” of the Union State.

As part of the policy of regional cooperation, a Belarusian delegation went to the Ulyanovsk region. It will get acquainted with the work of 10 factories in Ulyanovsk and Dimitrovgrad. A week earlier, a delegation from the Ulyanovsk region visited Belarus.

In the near future, apparently, the topic of further integration will actively figure on the bilateral agenda. As Putin recently noted, in the face of unprecedented external pressure, it is important to strengthen the Union State. The current year should be a milestone in terms of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the integration plan – all 28 of its provisions were approved by Lukashenka and Putin in November 2021. Moreover, according to the Secretary of State of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev, Belarus is ready to begin discussing new integration documents.

In April, during a meeting with Putin, Lukashenka stated that almost 80% of the union programs have been completed. At the same time, he several times expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of these provisions. In fact, notes Ekonomicheskaya Gazeta, those issues that did not require significant concessions from the parties were resolved. Others, more complex ones, were not solved as expected. The greatest difficulties are associated with agreements relating to energy, industry and transport. The main stumbling block was the implementation of the program to form united markets for gas, oil and petroleum products. This essentially means that controversial issues could resurface at the highest level before the end of the year.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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