Participants: analyst Andrei Fedorov and registered in Lithuania director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies Vitaly Silitski.
Why Lukashenko agreed to sign the Customs Code?
Valery KarbalevichGuide Belarus traded with Russia on the terms of accession to the Customs Union is very tough. It exhibited a condition: Moscow should cancel oil duties. In the words of Deputy Prime Minister Semashko, it is "our concrete demand." But Russia is not lost. And after the gas war, which most experts evaluated as a tool ushturhovvannya the Customs Union of Belarus, Lukashenko after a humiliating for the film on NTV — Belarusian President signs the Customs Code, and the country is connected to this group. Externally it looks like a capitulation. This is a little like Lukashenko, he is afraid to look weak. What happened to him?
Andrei Fedorov: Sometimes it happens that even one who is afraid to appear weak, forced to acknowledge the superiority of the enemy. That's what happened today. Perhaps Russia fielded such arguments to argue with that was impossible.
Belarusian officials say that Belarus has managed to achieve concessions from Russia in this regard. Belarus will not have to wait for the ratification documents partners to create a single economic space. If it is ratified these documents, then immediately cancel the Russian oil duty. Documents can be ready for January 1, 2011. However, any party may delay the process of harmonization. So really Lukashenko signed the Customs Code of Belarus looks like a defeat.
Karbalevich: What is the assignment here? If the documents are consistent, the ratification — a technical question, it passes quickly.
Vitaly Silitski: The other options in the Belarusian leadership was not. Pressure from Moscow was very strong. At the same time, Putin and Medvedev are guided not only by the interests of their country, but also their own. For them, the Customs Union — is one of the most important steps in the consolidation of the part of the former Soviet Union, which Russia can still catch.
The film "The Godfather" on NTV could only appear on the senior management team of Russia. This means that the hunt was on Lukashenko and more — to Belarus.
Lukashenko has to rescue his political future. His only support — it's the people you need to win the election. Therefore, the entire resistance to Russian pressure — it was a PR for his own electorate. To look like a strong fighter. The assignment of a strong enemy — it is also a sign of heroism.
A state-owned media to tell that, despite the hard pressure, we have defended their interests, quickly cancel oil duties, the duty on cars has not yet introduced. According to the old joke, if Napoleon was the newspaper "Pravda", the world would never have heard of his defeat at Vaterleo. And Lukashenko has BT.
Did he have any other options?
Karbalevich: Mr. Silitski, you said that no other options were not. But such an option: not to sign anything in Astana, wait, watch, check out their Russian threat, whether it will go to the introduction of the customs border with Belarus?
As it was last year during the "milk war". Then in protest Minsk refused to sign the agreement on the establishment of the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force. Then, a few months later, an agreement was signed quietly. But at that time, Lukashenko was able to create the impression of the winners in the "milk war". Why now Lukashenka so hurried? Perhaps the reason for president — he did not want complications on the eve of this company?
Fedorov: In theory, such an option was possible. But I think that Lukashenka was shown on the fingers, what will happen to Belarus in case of refusal to join the Customs Union. He explained that if Belarus did not sign now, you have to sign later on worse terms.
And wait Belarus can follow up. First, the meat-and-milk war. Secondly, the introduction of taxes on gas, which hinted at the Deputy Prime Minister Sechin. This would mean disaster for the Belarusian economy.
Silitski: It came into force on psychological factor. Putin and Medvedev completely angry, and they would act very decisively. Would be introduced customs barriers on the Belarusian-Russian border, introduced tax on all energy sources.
I note that Russia operates within the legal framework of self-will, breaking dozens of Belarusian-Russian agreements. The treaty establishing the Union State says that the two countries are establishing a common customs area, common customs regime in respect of any other countries. That is, it applies to Kazakhstan. So before you create this customs union should first denounce the agreement on the establishment of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Moscow withdrew from her de facto. Therefore Lukashenko claims are absolutely true.
KarbalevichAll what you said about the violations of the agreement on Russia Union State, takes place. But I want to remind you that Belarus and repeatedly violated the treaty.
Silitski: Yes. But now that Russia had violated the contract at a higher rate than Belarus. Minsk broke on the little things.
What are the implications of Belarus' accession to the Customs Union?
Karbalevich: So an interesting situation. Against the backdrop of political conflicts, information warfare, in the economic sense of Belarus with the entry into the Customs Union is even more integrated with Russia. What are the implications of Belarus' accession to the Customs Union? Or is this a formal act a little difference in the Belarusian-Russian relations?
Fedorov: At the moment, it really makes little difference. Changes may have occurred (bad for Belarus), Minsk rejected if the Customs Union. But later, when Belarus will have to open the border for better quality Russian goods (because there already are rules of market competition, a large portion of western capital), it may be strangled by certain Belarusian production. Second, as we well know, the agreement does not mean it is in progress, a debate.
Silitski: Even more difficult to integrate, as Belarus and so closely integrated. But the Customs Union is not so disadvantageous for Belarus. For example, it is beneficial to those sectors where the interests of Belarusian and Russian producers are the same. The Customs Union is actually built on the Russian import tariffs. For some Belarusian industries (agricultural engineering, food) they are beneficial, as protection from foreign competition.
In the Customs Union built some of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). So they can prepare for the integration of Belarus into the world economy.
By the way, two weeks ago, it was the U.S. statement that they will support Russia's accession to the WTO next year. But in this case it will be necessary to copy the documents of the Customs Union. And then, as with the accession of Belarus and Kazakhstan to the WTO?
Belarus' accession to the Customs Union of Belarus negates the chances for the establishment of a free trade area with the EU. But the leadership of Belarus is not trying very hard.
Fedorov: Today it was reported that Russia plans to join the WTO in the next few weeks.
Silitski: And n
ow what with the Customs Union?