The Crisis of the Union State of Belarus and Russia

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-3-56-67
A. Suzdaltsev (,
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of the current crisis phase in the evolution of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. The author identifies the main problems and obstacles in the dialogue between the two countries on the development of the integration project, defines the stages of the crisis phenomena extension, evaluates scenarios for overcoming the crisis. The article points to the mistakes made by the founders of the Union State during formation of the project in the early 21st century, which eventually began to appear after the Union crises of 2008 and 2014. According to the author, the main causes of the current crisis are the substitution of economic and political integration between Russia and Belarus by the balance of interests of the two neighboring countries. However, the latter did not guarantee the development of the integration project. Over the years of the Union State’s existence, Russia’s extensive financial and resource support has become an indicator of the lack of real economic integration. As a result, Russian subsidies have replaced the union of the two economies. In turn, in the second decade of the 21st century, Minsk’s avoidance of participation in the solution of Moscow’s strategic military objectives and the absence of a single Union foreign policy have broken the balance of interests between the countries in the Union State. The Union State has lost its foundation. Russia’s desire to reformat allied relations between its founders implies a revival of real economic integration. However, the Belarusian leadership does not want to change the existing subsidized system of relations within the Union State. According to the author, the crisis between Russia and Belarus is striving for its climax.

Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Russian-Belarusian integration, A. Lukashenko, balance of national interests, Russian-Belarusian crisis


1. Tkachev I., Feinberg A., & Makarova O. Skrytyi schet na $100 mlrd: kak Rossiya soderzhit belorusskuyu ekonomiku [Hidden account for $100 billion: how Russia supports the Belarusian economy]. RBK, 02.04.2017. Available at: (accessed 24.07.2019).

2. Staff report for the 2016 article IV consultation – Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the executive director for the Republic of Belarus International Monetary Fund. Republic of Belarus. IMF Country Report No. 16/298. September 2016. Available at: (accessed 24.07.2019).

3. Lukashenko spoke about the future of Russia and Belarus. Parlamentskaya gazeta, 01.03.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 26.07.2019).

4. Putin intends to check the clock with Lukashenko on controversial agricultural and energy issues. TASS, 21.09.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 24.07.2019).

5. Lukashenko said that Minsk and Moscow will not “break” the Treaty on the Union state. TASS, 08.07.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 26.07.2019).

6. Lukashenko suspected Russia of wanting to Annex Belarus. RIA Novosti, 14.12.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 24.07.2019).

7. Brennan David. Russia may absorb Belarus: ‘We’re ready to unite; president says. Newsweek, 19.12.2019. Available at: (accessed 27.07.2019).

8. How Belarus earns on smuggling of imports to Russia. DW. Made for minds, 26.08.2014 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 27.07.2019).

9. The end of 2018. Belarus’ GDP amounted to almost $60bn in equivalent. Banki24, 21.01.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

10. The growing negative balance of Belarusin trade with Russia: “blame” is not only energy. Voenno-politicheskoe obozrenie, 25.03.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.07.2019).

11. Migranyan A. A. Spetsifika belorusskoi modeli ehkonomiki: problemy i dostizheniya [Specificity of the Belarusian model of the economy: problems and achievements]. Materialy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii “Perspektivy Soyuznogo gosudarstva Belarusi i Rossii [Scientific-practical conference “Prospects of the Union State of Belarus and Russia]. Moscow, Institute of CIS Countries (Institute of Diaspora and Integration), 2012, pp. 120-131.

12. Tarakanova E.V. Uroven’ zhizni i sotsial’no-ekonomicheskaya differentsiatsiya belorusskogo obshchestva [Standard of living and socio-economic differentiation of Belarusian society]. Sotsiologicheskii al’manakh, 2017. Available at: (accessed 27.07.2019).

13. Belarusian guest workers are the highest paid in Russia. IREX. News agency, 04.09.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.07.2019).

14. On the military doctrine of the Union state / Consortium code. Elektronnyi fond pravovoi i normativno-tekhnicheskoi dokumentatsii, 26.12.2001 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.07.2019).

15. Meeting with a group of American analysts. President of Belarus. Official Internet portal of the President of the Republic of Belarus, 06.11.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

16. Lukashenk is glad that the European Union started greeting him., 11.06.2014 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

17. In Kiev, told why Russian fuel is bought in Belarus. Voennoe obozrenie, 19.01.2019. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

18. Tkachev I. Siluanov zayavil ob utrate doveriya k Belorussii [Siluanov said about the loss of confidence in Belarus]. RBK, 25.12.2018. Available at: (accessed 28.07.2019).

19. Ukraine, Georgia, even Belarus ‘bulwark against Russian neoimperialism’ – US. BELSATtv, 19.10.2018. Available at: (accessed 30.07.2019).

20. On geopolitics, security and cooperation – Lukashenka met with analysts from the United States. BELTA. Belorusskie novosti. Belorusskoe telegrafnoe agentstvo, 06.11.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

21. Kryat D. Aleksandr Lukashenko provel vstrechu s pomoshchnikom gosudarstvennogo sekretarya SShA po evropeiskim i evraziiskim delam Aaronom Mitchelom [Alexander Lukashenko met with us assistant Secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Mitchell]. Belarussegodnya, 01.11.2018. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

22. Kononovich E. O chem dogovorilis’ Prezidenty Belarusi i Rossii v Sochi [What the Presidents of Belarus and Russia agreed on in Sochi]. Belarussegodnya, 25.09.2018. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

23. Myasnikovich: opinions on the financial dependence of Belarus on Russia is harmful and biased. Belarus’ segodnya, 12.10.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

24. Putin protiv snizheniya tseny na daz dlya Belorussii. Vesty. Ekonomika, 19.12.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 22.12.2019).

25. Lukashenko accused Russia of slowing down integration., 09.07.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

26. Lukashenko proposed to prepare a strategy for integration with Russia by December. Vzglyad. Delovaya gazeta, 09.12.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

27. Belarus and Russia are discussing the extension of the state loan for the construction of Belarusian nuclear power plant for ten years. Kommersant, 04.04.2019 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

28. Civil Society Under Russia’s Threat: Building Resilience in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. Research Paper. Chatham House, November 2018. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2019).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Suzdaltsev A. The Crisis of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 3, pp. 56-67.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 4
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Financial Contagion Propagation in Europe under the Impact of Global Shocks
  • Regional Powers on the African Continent: Trends and Prospects
  • Investment Activity of the PRC in the Kyrgyz Republic
  • “Land Grabbing” Concept: Global and National Aspects
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.