What Happened: Belarus and Russia are reportedly planning a large-scale economic integration program that includes a single tax code, consolidated customs service and a unified industry regulator for key sectors like energy, Kommersant reported Sept. 16, citing a preliminary agreement between both countries.
Why It Matters: The document, if confirmed, suggests an extensive attempt to integrate the Russian and Belorussian economies beyond the current level of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, political differences between both countries will likely limit the integration process to specific economic areas, while political integration will also remain elusive.
Background: Russia and Belarus signed a union deal in 1999 that both sides continue to back as a broad statement of intent. The pair have continued negotiations on how to further their bilateral economic integration since then, although talks between Minsk and Moscow have intensified in recent years.
- On Russia's Borders, Bolton Probes for Openings for the U.S. (Aug. 27, 2019)
- Belarus, the Borderlands and the U.S.-Russia Standoff (June 7, 2018)
- When Moscow Plays War Games, It Thinks a Few Steps Ahead (Aug. 17, 2017)