Belarus to Unite With Russia: The Start of the New Eastern Bloc?
By 2022 Russia will form a union with Belarus, is this the beggining of the rebuilding of the Iron Curtain?
Belarus and Russia have always been close, except for some complications at the beginning of the 21st century, both countries have stayed together ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Talks about a possible union have always been on the table since the collapse of the Iron Curtain but it seems like the talks are finally reaching a point with the announcement that by 2022 Russia and Belarus will form an economic union.
The Russian-Belarussian economic confederacy would entail the creation of a single tax code, civil code and list of foreign trade rules, in addition to unified oil, gas and electricity market regulators, by 2022 with their customs and energy policies being expected to unify by 2021 and the union state tax code by April 1, 2021.
Unity or takeover?
When asked by reporters if the end goal of such cooperation was the unification of the two countries into one representative of Moscow denied such accusations but recent reports suggest that this proposal might be back on the table.
Even so, it can be hard to imagine that the current discussions about a union will be made on the equal ground considering Belarus’ situation. With an economy 29 times smaller than Russia, one could only assume that Belarus has no power to dictate the equality of the proposed treaties.
With some sources saying that the unification of the two countries parliaments is a possibility in the future could this be the diplomatic takeover that Vladimir Putin is looking for?
Expansion or cooperation?
Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has been adopting an expansionist agenda towards its foreign policy. Starting as soon as Vladimir Putin came into power with the invasion of Chechnya and continuing with the most recent example being the annexation of Crimea.
It is clear that Vladimir Putin wants to put Russia back on the map, making it once again one of the world powers after its fall from grace in 1991, but will the international community allow for that to happen?
We have seen some type of sanctions being placed on Russia after the invasion of Crimea which made the value of the Rouble tank to one of the lowest levels ever experienced by the Russian economy, but it seems that this hasn’t deterred Putin from his goal to increase Russia’s influence on the world.
The geopolitical game
By making friends in the East with China, Putin has further increased the divide between East and West which has become ever more prevalent with the trade war between the US and China. With such developments in geopolitics, we could soon see a Second Cold War develop, once again between the East and the West but with a roster of drastically different members than what we saw in the original Cold War.
The current geopolitical climate has allowed for the development of a multipolar world (a world where more than two nation-states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, and economic influence) which means that an equivalent Cold War would be drastically different, with rising world-powers such as Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and India having a say in the affairs of the world.
As we get closer to the date of the economic and possible political unification we will have to see how Russia and Belarus will interact as we get closer to the deadline to truly understand the impact of the decisions on the fate of Eastern Europe and the whole world.
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