Forms and Mechanisms of Economic Cooperation Between Russia and Belarus Within the Union State: Tasks, Problems, Achievements

Forms and Mechanisms of Economic Cooperation Between Russia and Belarus Within the Union State: Tasks, Problems, Achievements

Natalia Eremina (St. Petersburg State University, Russia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9566-3.ch006
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On December 8, 2019, the Union State will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. During this time, a fairly long way has been covered - the main institutions were built, the tools for deepening and intensifying integration were defined, the people of Russia and Belarus acquired new opportunities. The Union State of Belarus and Russia is an actual research topic, since regional integration is now the trend of global development. And it is the Union State that is viewed by experts as the basis of the integration processes in the post-Soviet space. The Union State acts as a tool for enhancing integration processes in general in the post-Soviet space and explains to the citizens of the countries the advantages of these processes. The purpose of this study is to analyze the dynamics of the integration process within the framework of the Union State, to determine its factor in the intensification of regional integration in the post-Soviet space.
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The post-Soviet space is a complex geopolitical, economic, social and cultural phenomenon. This is the “Large Space”, which records a long historical experience of interaction and coexistence of different peoples within the framework of Russia, the Moscow kingdom, the Russian Empire, the USSR. History shows that centripetal and centrifugal tendencies constantly interacted and dynamically replaced each other, always preserving the basic connections between peoples, regardless of changes in the state structure. And now, considering the development of the post-Soviet space, we are witnessing an interweaving of integration and disintegration tendencies within the framework of the “Large Space”, which unites not only Russia and Belarus, but also the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states.

Exploring the development of this macro-region (post-Soviet space) in historical dynamics, it is impossible not to note the tendency of mutual attraction of many peoples of the post-Soviet space to each other and, above all, to Russia. For these deep reasons, regional integration in the post-Soviet space has a special historical, cultural and geopolitical uniqueness. Especially if we are talking about the Union State of Russia and Belarus, which is formed, in fact, by one people, because the Russians and Belarusians come from the same root and have a common history, a common mentality, common ideas about the structure of the world, etc. It also explains why within the framework of the USSR one of the most successful examples of economic cooperation was the cooperation between the Belarusians and the Russians. That is why the economic integration of Russia and Belarus is based on the cultural interaction of peoples and the political dialogue, which must be mentioned in our study.

The peculiarities of the post-Soviet space for the first time fully manifested themselves in the framework of the Union State, for this reason, the movement to further integration formats in the post-Soviet space, for example, within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), is justified. And already the development of the EAEU raises the question of promoting the integration movement towards China (conjugation of the Eurasian integration with the Silk Road) and in the direction of the European Union within the framework of the idea of ​​“Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”. In the Union State for the first time, the question of the harmonization of norms and standards was raised, which, in particular, is carried out by Russia and Belarus together and in accordance with international standards. In this regard, the Union State is also perceived as a test model for testing different versions of economic regional integration, based on political dialogue.

In the Union State, close and strong economic ties are formed, which have not been affected by the global financial crises. Russia is the main economic, trade and strategic partner of Belarus. It represents the main market for Belarusian industry and agriculture, and is the main supplier of the necessary energy resources for the country. In turn, Belarus significantly strengthens the position of Russia, providing it with additional access to the borders of European states through Belarusian transport corridors. Today, for Russia and Belarus, the priority direction for integration in the post-Soviet region is the Customs Union and the development of a single economic space. From 1999 to the present, countries have achieved a lot on this path, and their trade is constantly growing, which confirms the effectiveness of regional economic integration within the Union State.

The experience of the Union State has shown that institutions in the processes of regional economic integration play a key role. They act as a system-forming factor, determine the format and development of the integration movement. But their very formation in the post-Soviet space requires a long time. It is important that the cooperation of the parties within the framework of the Union State has shown that the desire for a multi-vector foreign policy of the participants of the integration movement also imposes its imprint on the formation of institutions. At least, the states, forming a single economic and social space, a security space, do not raise the question of a single political space with a single foreign policy orientation. Also, the Union State has set the competition dilemma of two principles in financing common projects. Thus, the principle of “proportional parity” in financing in some cases contradicts the principle of “parity” in obtaining benefits from the integration process. Another important conclusion of cooperation within the framework of the Union State is the recognition of Russia's special role in the strategy of the integration movement, which at the same time seeks to realize parity in setting its goals.

Key Terms in this Chapter

The Eurasian Economic Union: An integration project in the Eurasian space, the goal of which is the economic and political rapprochement of the post-Soviet countries, consists of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan.

Joint Production: A form of a country's participation in the international division of labor by creating an enterprise on the basis of jointly contributed property by participants from different countries, joint management, joint distribution of profits and risks.

Interregional Cooperation: Cooperation of non-border regions.

Large Space: A large economic and political territorial unit, which includes several states.

The Common Market: A single economic zone formed by several states united in an economic union; in this zone, a coordinated economic policy is carried out, uniform customs duties are in effect, etc.

Regional Integration: The interaction of states that form a common economic space and implement political forms of integration.

Cross-Border Partnership: The cooperation of neighboring regions of different states, especially often in the context of an integrated construction, which includes these states.

Globalization: Strengthening of the interdependence of international actors at all levels, globalization provides the conditions for the formation of integration associations.

The Union State: Economic, social, political, cultural, military alliance of Russia and Belarus.

Post-Soviet Space: The territory of the former Republics of the USSR.

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