‘Not a kopeck to Putin’s gang!’ Opposition against Belarus-Russia integration

The solidarity movement Razam (Together) called on the Belarusian political forces to unite and stage mass protests against integration agreements between Belarus and Russia.

The oppositionists believe that people should not only take to the streets but also stop paying taxes and fees. The slogan is ‘‘Not a single Belarusian kopeck should go to Putin’s gang!’.

On December 1, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wished his Belarusian counterpart Syarhei Rumas all the best on the occasion of the 50th anniversary. At the same time, the heads of governments discussed the schedule of meetings and negotiations. Over the past months, the officials have been preparing roadmaps, i.e. the documents on the sequence of integration agreements. They are expected to be signed by Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka in a week.

“The Belarusian society is not aware of details of the negotiations, we do not know what documents are planned to be signed on December, 8 or later,” Vyachaslau Siuchyk, Chairman of the Razam movement, says.

Officially, Moscow announced an economic association; unofficially, however, public opinion is being shaped for the creation of a single government and parliament by the so-called leaks to the Kremlin-controlled media. Belarusian officials, along with state-run media, are issuing terse messages and statements on the subject, which sparks rumours about the imminent loss of independence in the coming months. The reason is the authoritarian system’s weakness, political analyst Valery Karbalevich believes:

“Decisions are taken by one person, all vital issues are tackled by one person, that is why the Belarusian statehood depends on one person.”

Alyksandr Lukashenka says that independence is sacred for him, but his subordinates are preparing a new union treaty with Russia for the signing.

“Any agreements with Moscow pose a threat to the Belarusian nation, as these agreement are made with the country that is currently being involved in wars. And Belarusians do not need wars at all,” he stressed.

Belsat TV has asked the residents of Minsk whether they are in favour of the current developments and whether they are ready to protest against passing under the control of Moscow.

“Most people do not like it. Such decisions must be made at least on a referendum. ”

“If they make an attempt to sign [the treaty], we should take to the streets and protest.”

“We must go out and fight for Belarus”.

On September 16, the Russian newspaper Kommersant presented some details of the project of the further integration of Belarus and Russia, which was reportedly agreed by the prime ministers of the two states on September, 6. The integration may be ‘deeper’ than that in the European Union, the article reads. If the information is anything to go by, the document provides for the partial economic integration at the same level as the EU member states have; in some fields, the integration will be similar to that of a confederation or even federation.

Belarus set between independence and integration

On the same day, president Lukashenka’s press secretary Natallya Eysmant toldthe Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva that the terms ‘confederation’ and ‘federation’ used in the article were nothing but ‘journalistic cliches’. The independence and sovereignty of Belarus and Russia are ‘sacred’, she added.

In late September, Anatol Hlaz, Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that the deepening of the integration of Belarus and Russia would not go beyond the limits of the Union Treaty of 1999. However, it should be noted that this document, among other things, suggests a single currency, a single parliament, a Council of Ministers, a court and symbols. In addition, the union of the two countries should have a single monetary, currency, tax and price policy, common rules of competition and consumer protection, joint transport and energy systems, a single trade and customs tariff policy, a single legislation on foreign investment and other functions.

By 8 December 2019, the authorities of Belarus and Russia are expected to sign a new agreement on deepening integration. In late October, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said that the Belarus-Russia integration program would soon be prepared and handed over to the leaders of the two countries. However, the Belarusian authorities are not going to make public the program signed by the two prime ministers in early September in order to prevent ‘manipulations’.

New information about integration with Russia

Yaraslau Stseshyk, Belsat TV