April 2 is a turning point in relations between Russia and Belarus. Exactly 25 years ago, Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement with Alexander Lukashenko to create a community of Russia and Belarus. There is no reason why the Union State cannot simply become one.
A quarter of a century of uncertainty
On April 2, 1996, the election year in Russia, Yeltsin, with a rating approaching zero, signed an agreement with Alexander Lukashenko to create a certain community of two post-Soviet states. It is clear that the decision was made in advance, but Yeltsin had to revive his rating by any means before the elections. The work was in a hurry, and therefore it should not be surprising that many issues were not worked out at that time, and their solution was left to the future. As it was thought then, bright for both parties to the agreement. Did this help Yeltsin? Only to some extent, since the peoples of both Russia and Belarus had already missed a common family by that time. But not enough to ensure an unconditional victory for Boris Nikolayevich. To be honest, in the end he lost the election to Zyuganov, and he had to go to a direct deception of the country in order not to let go of the power from his trembling hands with alcoholic tremors. Dmitry Medvedev, who was not the most sophisticated in politics at that time, told about this when he was president of Russia. But now it is not about Yeltsin’s cunning and sang along with him, but about the fact that the signing of that agreement is perhaps the only thing good that “Boris in the kingdom” did during his reign.
The ambulance is not enough, we need resuscitation
A quarter of a century is a good time to sum up at least preliminary results of integration. Let’s say right away – the achievements could have been much more impressive and successful.
Over the past 25 years, a good foundation has been laid, joint management structures have been created: the general parliament, the Supreme State Council, the Council of Ministers, the court, the Accounts Chamber, and the Standing Committee. But more than half of these organizations are non-working and exist only formally. For example, the judiciary plays practically no role in the life of the Union State and has a very narrow range of powers due to the fact that there is no common legislative framework regulating the functionality of this branch of government. Also, according to the Union Treaty, the Accounts Chamber was supposed to enter the system of state bodies, which was planned as a financial control body of the Union State, but this does not work in full.
And in economic issues, problems often arise due to the fact that each of the countries interprets them in its own way. Because of what, the very integration either stalls or simply slows down.
But just a few days ago, the Union State of Russia and Belarus received an additional impetus for rapprochement – former Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev became the State Secretary of the Union State. Mezentsev possesses both theoretical and practical experience of state building, and, among other things, has studied integration problems well in the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belarus.
Time will tell whether the “reanimator” Mezentsev will be able to revive these simulacra. But for now, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Customs Union, the common economic space, which, in addition to Russia and Belarus, include Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, can be called fully functioning. In the future, they are quite members of a single Union State.
The eternal question – what to do
First of all, it is necessary to develop a common legal framework on which integration and cooperation can be developed. Economic convergence should not be limited by customs and tax regulations. The economy is the basis on which you can begin to fully unite the pieces that were broken 30 years ago into one whole. And you can start with the introduction of a single currency. The difficult economic situation in Belarus will only accelerate this process.
As the first step, Dmitry Mezentsev chose to convene a solemn meeting on the occasion of the anniversary of the signing of a joint agreement, which will declare work in the following areas: “Common legal space, defense and security – the foundation of the Union State”; “Economic potential of the Union State: state and development paths”; “Social projects and youth as a resource for innovative development of the Union State”.
The politicians of both countries and ordinary people need to understand and accept one axiom: it was not for the good that we were separated in 1991. And our strength lies in unity, not in a parade of sovereignty. No matter how contradictory it may sound, in order to preserve national identity, sovereignty and statehood, in order not to become a cosmopolitan weak-willed biomass, it is necessary to unite into one state, to correct the crime committed by Yeltsin in 1991, contrary to the wishes of the majority of citizens who in a referendum spoke in favor of preserving a single state …
As you know, building is always more difficult than destroying, but this is the kind of building that we must do, this is the mission of our Russian people. It doesn’t matter who you are – Russian Belarusian, Russian Armenian or Russian Kazakh.
International pressure on Russia and Belarus for an independent position and upholding the traditional values close to both Russians and Belarusians makes our presidents stay in constant contact and look for joint ways to protect our sovereignty, and sometimes just common sense.
Constantinople does not intend to remain aloof from the process of the revival of our country. We have already opened a bureau in Yerevan, we plan to make every effort to protect the fraternal peoples who have lived in good-neighborliness and harmony for centuries.