Belarus and the EAEU: Expectations vs Reality

The drivers promoting deeper EAEU integration

21 February 2019

Whereas Armenia is often seen as illustrative case of Russian pressure on the issue of EAEU accession, Belarus and Kazakhstan – the EAEU’s founding member states – are normally taken as natural followers.

Although Belarus never began negotiations over an association agreement with the EU – unlike Armenia – its engagement into the EAEU was not smooth either. Significant stages of Eurasian integration were accompanied by notorious disagreements between Belarus and Russia.

Setting the Stage

In 2009-2010, when entry into the common Customs Code and ratification of the agreements on establishment of the Common Economic Space were at stake, the two countries went into a lengthy row over energy rents.

Alexander Lukashenko

During that period Russia cut energy subsidies to Belarus and ran a brief anti-Lukashenko information war. In turn, from 2010-2012, Belarus resorted to importing oil from Azerbaijan and Venezuela in its quest to secure more beneficial terms for oil deliveries from Russia. Consequently, in 2014, Russia and Belarus bargained heavily over the oil rents when it came to the signing and ratification of the EAEU Treaty.

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Andrei Yeliseyeu

Research Director at the EAST Center.

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