“Kommersant” has published the program of economic integration between Minsk and Moscow in the framework of the Union state. Experts fear that its implementation leads to the absorption of the Belarusian economy.
Belarusian economists and political scientists interviewed by DW, cautious about the published in “Kommersant” plan of economic integration of Belarus and Russia. What is the plan, what are the pros and cons for Belarus it contains and what are the reasons for concerns of experts in Minsk?
And ntegrate I t e t by the establishment of a confederal state?
“The degree of integration is higher than in the EU,” tak “Kommersant” in its issue for September 16, described the essence trapped in the order of publication of the program of economic integration of Belarus and Russia. The source of Kommersant in the government of the Russian Federation confirmed the authenticity of the document. This publication is the first published details of the integration plan, which the leaders of Belarus and Russia are discussing since December 2018.
The author notes that in fact in the economic sphere, integration measures will lead to the creation of the Confederate States, and some aspects – and the Federation. However, “Kommersant” has doubts that the Alliance will be equal – because Russia’s economy is 29 times more than Belarus. But that such economic measures would mean for Belarus?
Only Economics, no politics
“Kommersant” claims that he has become aware of the provisions of the draft “Programme of action of Belarus and Russia on the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on establishing the Union state”, which is September 6, initialed (pre-signed with the possibility of minor changes. – Ed.) Prime Ministers Sergei Rumas and Dmitry Medvedev. Officially, the document was not published.
Belarusian Prime Minister Rumas before the initialing of the program assured that it will be the realization of the principle “two States – one market” and that there was “no political issues”. In principle, it is. In the article “Kommersant” stated that the document says nothing about the introduction of the single currency, does not address issues of defense, security, and the device of Executive power in Russia and Belarus, as, indeed, the powers (and very existence) of the Executive authority of the Union state.
According to the publication, we are talking only about economic measures – a uniform Tax code, foreign trade regime and the Civil code, a unified account of ownership and similar social guarantees, almost merged banking supervision (but with the two Central banks), the single regulator of oil markets, gas and electricity and a harmonised regulation of industries.
Press Secretary of the President of Belarus Natalia Eismont in the comments for the edition of “Nasha Niva” said that the basis of any integration process is the idea of independence of Belarus and Russia. “All the big terms in the article, Confederation, Federation, we propose to evaluate as an empty journalistic cliches,” said Eismont.
On the question of the veracity of the information provided by “Kommersant”, she said that currently work on the integration continues, and “the program will be a program only when it will be signed by the President, and it will be approved by Supreme Council of state (of the Union state. -.). if the parties are ready for this.”
The economic acquisition of Belarus?
However, the Belarusian economists and political experts interviewed by DW, react to published in the material “Kommersant” information cautiously. If it is true, in the case of the adoption of the plan “opportunities of Belarus has its own economic space and economic sovereignty will be severely limited,” explained in a comment for the DW senior researcher, Center for economic research outreach Dmitry Kruk.
In his view, although the plan is mainly concerned with economic tools, the integration programme is far beyond the scope of pure Economics, because these measures affect the possibility of making their own independent decisions. “In fact, we are talking about the economic absorption”, says crook. And reminds us that purely economic integration is already planned in the framework of the Eurasian economic Union (EEU).
Minsk economist Yaroslav Romanchuk on his page in Facebook wrote that if we were talking only about the economy, the integration project was widely discussed in the government, among the experts, scholars and business representatives. However, according to Romanchuk, the proposed model of integration of Belarus and Russia – it is a variant of absorption, merge the two economies into one.
P rowark and reaction and Belarusian on societies and
Political analyst Andrei Egorov drew attention to the fact that so far no official and trustworthy information on how to further integration has not been seen, and the article in “Kommersant”, in his words, is nothing but normal discharge. They can be checked reaction of the Belarusian society and key political figures on the plans, described in the article, says Egorov.
According to him, nothing good program for Belarus is: “Unification of laws in taxation, banking, customs and other fields leads to the actual establishment of the priority of Russian law over the Belarusian legislation – because one can hardly expect otherwise.” The analyst added that although the program is not a word on the common currency, the establishment of common rules in the financial and banking sector is a direct path to the single currency.
The implementation of the integration program can affect the lives of ordinary Belarusians, warned Egorov, paying attention to the plan refers to the “special economic measures” by which is meant the Russian counter-sanctions against the West: “This means that Belarus is also subject to all rules of Russian sanctions on the Belarusian market will not infiltrate Western goods, and the Belarusian company, as well as Russian, will be in the Western sanctions list”.
Whether “carrots” to Minsk?
Meanwhile, we cannot say that the integration plan brings only inconveniences and losses for Belarus. Yaroslav Romanchuk “cakes” for Minsk calls gas prices, the preservation of the regime of supply of oil and oil products, the provision of new loans, access to the Russian market for Belarusian goods, as well as access to state order of Russia.
For the Kremlin offered the option of integration is the strong absorption of the best assets in Belarus and preparations for the final transfer of Belarus, the legal status of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Chechnya, says Romanchuk.
Only beneficial for Minsk aspect of this plan deeper integration Dzmitry Kruk sees compensation for the consequences of the Russian tax maneuver, which makes the budget of Belarus in the coming years will suffer significant losses. “It’s a little short-term benefit, if it can be called a benefit. In the long term, this strongly ties the Belarusian economy on Russia and limits the possibility for its development”, – concluded the economist.