Russia’s failure? Integration road maps still not signed

On December 7, the presidents of Belarus and Russia spent five hours negotiating behind closed doors. But neither Putin nor Lukashenka revealed what they were talking about. Instead, Russian Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin briefly informed the public on the situation.

“[The sides] effectively worked in a number of fields: agriculture, communications, customs, oil market regulation. They have made significant progress even in the issue of oil and gas, the parties’ positions have got closer indeed,” he stressed.

Although the two leaders were expected to sign the agreement on Belarus-Russia deeper integration last Saturday, the next round of the talks was set for December, 20. Moreover, there has been not a word about the reasons for not signing the roadmaps on December 8, on the 20th anniversary of the the so-called union state treaty.

“In global terms, Russia has faced a failure <…> The fact of Russia’s inability to find reliable allies in the modern world is the global failure of its policy,” political analyst Syarhei Nikalyuk said.

On December, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Uladzimir Syamashka said that during the negotiations the sides had decided on how to remove the restriction on the export of Belarusian products to Russia and found the way to make amends for the tax maneuver losses to Minsk.

“The goal to unify the taxation aspects in 2020-2021 has been set so that they could be put into practice from January 1, 2022 on. The issue of the full compensation for the tax maneuver losses may be resolved onwards of 1 January 2022,” Syamashka stated.

According to him, two road maps – on power sector and customs – were approved in the course of the talks. Another eight of the thirty-one roadmaps remain unagreed and classifies. The gas price is to be settled in the next two weeks, he added.

“I am sure that the meeting in Sochi is not bringing about any fundamental changes in Belarus and the issue of its independence,” political analyst Volha Kharlamava believes.

But why are the negotiations wrapped in secrecy? And why haven’t road maps been made public?

“Both Lukashenka and Putin have only one major interest, i.e. the preservation of personal power. To make it possible, Lukashenka needs to provide the growth of the people’s income. In turn, Russia is an empire, and the problem of imperious attitude of mind is coming into the picture,” Syarhei Nikalyuk stressed.

That is why, in his opinion, it is hard to the sides to come to some understanding.

Turning point: Lukashenka, Putin deciding upon two countries’ integration

Vitaut Siuchyk, Belsat TV