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“I Love You, You Pay My Rent”: Belarusian-Russian Integration 1

By Er Baturo and Slava Mikhaylov


“There’s no fire escape on a submarine” A folk wisdom The history of Russian-Belarusian integration is a strange history indeed. Throughout the whole decade ever since 1995, the two countries have engaged in a highly publicized series of diplomatic exchanges about their commitment to the Union state between each other, and ever-closer union it were to be in political, economic and military spheres. Yet despite all public declarations and the expanding bureaucratic machine that work on these declarations, there has been so little achieved in terms of real integration so far, that any student of integration would pose a legitimate question as to whether the purpose of these declarations was the integration or something else entirely. Especially puzzling is the fact that, despite the obvious disparity between these two countries, Belarus manages extract considerable concessions from its more powerful neighbour, giving little in return. For more than a decade, Belarus has sustained this strange process of integration with Russia on a slow burner and retreated each time a serious step towards integration was about to take place despite repeated threats of retaliation from the Kremlin. Yet Belarus has kept receiving considerable economic concessions from Russia in exchange for declarations of loyalty, that allowed the former to sustain its unreformed economy and increasingly authoritarian regime in relative stability. In fact, the title of this paper captures th

Year: 2013
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