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23 January 2023, 18:01

Opinion: Integration programs show benefits of closer cooperation between Belarus, Russia

An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 23 January (BelTA) – The interaction between Belarus and Russia helps effectively counteract the sanctions, analyst at the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research (BISR) Olga Lazorkina told a BelTA correspondent.

According to Olga Lazorkina, the implementation of 28 integration programs of the Belarus-Russia Union State that were adopted in 2021 has demonstrated the benefits of closer cooperation between the two states. By now, the parties have fully implemented seven programs related to the traceability of goods, transport, currency, veterinary and phytosanitary control, the financial sector, accounting, and nuclear energy.

“Belarus-Russia integration has its own logic and dynamics, we should not get ahead of ourselves. Last year showed that the Union State is ready to respond quickly to economic challenges. Fast decisions related to import substitution programs were of great importance. Next in line is a large-scale reformatting of trade logistics,” she said.

The analyst added that closer integration within the Union State is the response of Moscow and Minsk to the hybrid war unleashed by the West. “It is important to maintain the pace of integration and ensure the sustainability of the process. This explains the attention of the president of the Republic of Belarus to the financial aspect of the Union State programs,” Olga Lazorkina said.

It should be noted that last year saw a dramatic overhaul of financial relations in the Union State. Belarus and Russia switched to mutual settlements in the national currencies so as not to depend on dollar and euro fluctuations, speculation in the foreign exchange markets, as well as possible new sanctions. Settlements in the national currencies of Russia and Belarus in 2022 accounted for more than 80% of bilateral trade, thanks in part to the launch of the 28 Union State programs.

“Maintaining stability of the financial system of the Union State is of fundamental importance,” the BISR analyst continued. “Belarus and Russia are affected by external factors, especially illegal restrictive measures. Today, it is necessary to ensure the strategic security of the financial system. Moving away from the system of settlements of the Western bloc is no longer just a task, this is a new reality that does not need much explanation, especially when everyone saw that economy fell hostage to geopolitics and ambitions of individual countries,” the expert said.

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