Medvedev claims roadmap for Russia-Belarus integration to be signed as soon as November

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MOSCOW – The working groups of the governments of Russia and Belarus prepared for making a full report to the presidents regarding the progress on the integration of the two countries. This was at a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, RIA Novosti reports.

“Our negotiations are going well, the ministers have done a good job, I have to say thanks to them. Vice-premiers are in an active, ongoing dialogue. We are now almost ready to pass on all this for consideration at the presidential level. We hope that this can be done in July to resolve the main remaining points, ” said Medvedev.

According to him, road maps for the implementation of integration initiatives can be signed in November.

“We proceed from the fact that if everything proceeds in this vein and the presidents’ final approval is received, somewhere by November it would have been possible to sign roadmaps for the implementation of all these initiatives, ” the Russian Prime Minister emphasized.

The recent history of this process  has been contradictory in scope, at best. Leaders of the two states have made numerous statements which often, at face value, depart from the logic and rationale of previous statements.

Belarus and Russia already form a union state. However, as wikipedia notes:

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko promised to introduce a common currency on 1 January 2004. The currency was not introduced, and the plan was pushed back by one year. On 1 January 2005, the Union State again failed to introduce a common currency, and it was again postponed by one year, which, in 2006, happened once again. During a press-conference in Minsk on 2 February 2006, Pyotr Prokopovich, chief of the National Bank of Belarus, announced that a “common currency might be introduced in 2007”. This, however, failed to occur in 2007. The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus announced that, starting in 2008, the Belarusian ruble would be tied to the United States dollar instead of the Russian ruble.

Recall that on May 7, Russian President Vladimir  Putin stated that there were no grounds for the unification of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, a rather strange statement given the status presently of Ukraine in the scheme of things.

In April, it was reported that a poll revealed the people of Russia  did not support full integration with Belarus.

In February, the President of Belarus Lukashenko said that the leaders of Belarus and Russia  are ready to begin the process of uniting the two states , but with the support of the people.

Recall, on January 19, Lukashenko called Belarusians “Russians of a higher standard” and warned against repeating the Ukrainian scenario in the country.

This comment was broad and open ended, and perhaps meaningfully so. Lukashenko has attempted to establish Belarus as a ‘neutral country’ within the Russian sphere of influence, outside of direct Russian regulatory control and able to play the role of a neutral financial nexus, tax  haven, and middle-path for European investment into Eurasia.

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