Ewolucja polityki Federacji Rosyjskiej wobec Białorusi w kontekście wysiłków integracyjnych w ramach Państwa Związkowego
Despite expectations, 2019 did not bring a significant breakthrough in the existing model of Russian-Belarusian relations. The extreme scenario – Russia's seizure of Belarus in the course of the process of 'deeper integration' is highly improbable. This is primarily because the Kremlin is not significantly determined to change the existing legal and international status of Belarus. Moreover, Belarus is determined to defend the bilateral relations with Russia formed in the mid-1990s and does not
... -1990s and does not accept the Kremlin's proposals regarding 'deeper integration', which mean limiting its sovereignty. Belarus is determined to defend itself against Russia's demands, which paradoxically increases the level of social legitimacy of Lukashenko's authoritarian rule. Russia has a wide set of negative tools to influence Minsk (energy blackmail, destabilisation of the political and socio-economic situation), but it has no positive tools. There is also a noticeable lack of internal coherence in the Russian power camp with respect to the future of Belarus. Russia is interested in changing the current model of the bilateral relations in terms of limiting financial losses resulting from the generous subsidy of the Belarusian economy and Minsk's disregard for existing obligations in the area of customs and taxation. However, Moscow intends to achieve this goal neither by seizing Belarus nor by destabilising the Belarusian political regime. The issue of 'deeper integration' of both countries was, from the very beginning, clearly related to other problems that cast a shadow on Russian-Belarusian relations. Therefore, it should be assumed that Russia's intention was to use a 'tax maneuver' to force Belarus to negotiate in the sphere of finance, economy and compliance with Russian customs and tax standards. The most likely scenario for the development of Russian-Belarusian relations assumes maintaining the existing model of relations but, from now on, Belarus will be deprived of a significant part of the 'integration rent'.