Under pressure from Western sanctions, the ruler of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, signed a decree on further integration into a union state with Russia. “Then I’ll sign now,” said Lukashenko at a video conference with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, which was broadcast on Russian state television. The Russian President, who nodded in agreement, had signed the document in advance.
Also coordinated military doctrine included
The decree provides for a total of 28 integration programs – including a coordinated military doctrine. Putin and Lukashenko emphasized that cooperation between the two states would be raised to a new level. Lukashenko had already announced a “breakthrough” in September after years of work.
The programs focus primarily on economic issues, including taxes, agriculture and energy. More delicate questions such as the political integration of the two countries, for example through the creation of a common parliament or a common currency, were left out.
Belarus traditionally depends on Russia’s drip. Because of the EU and US sanctions against Lukashenko’s power apparatus, the ex-Soviet republic is currently more dependent than ever on financial aid from Moscow. The Kremlin has long insisted on greater integration between the two states.
Tichanovskaya foams out of exile
The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya protested against the integration document in her exile in the EU. Lukashenko no longer has any legitimacy to launch such programs.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya: Lukashenko has no legitimation for this approach
She also complained that people were left in the dark about the specific content. Lukashenko has denied allegations that he is selling Belarus to Russia and putting the country’s independence at risk.
Moscow’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in the newspaper that hundreds of individual laws and ordinances were needed to fill the programs for the Russian-Belarusian Union state with life. Lukashenko, who had always been hesitant about integration, had recently made more and more concessions in talks with Putin under the pressure of the European Union’s sanctions. Putin, for his part, again assured Lukashenko, who has been described as the “last dictator in Europe”, support in his confrontation with the West. The EU no longer recognizes Lukashenko as head of state after the controversial presidential election last year.
sti / AR (afp, dpa, rtr)