The Belarus-Kazakhstan Business Council will hold a videoconference today. The talks take place as Belarus seeks to enhance its ties
The Belarus-Kazakhstan Business Council will hold a videoconference today.
The talks take place as Belarus seeks to enhance its ties with fellow Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) nations—Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Expect energy, industrial and agricultural trade to feature prominently in discussions.
Following the August 2020 general elections that saw Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko extend his 26-year rule amid widespread allegations of fraud, Minsk has increasingly turned from the EU to Russia and the EAEU for political and economic support. Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his support, promising a $1.5 billion loan to prop-up Belarus’s struggling economy and Russian security assistance. In turn, he has demanded that Belarus seek closer integration with Russia and strengthen economic cooperation within the EAEU.
Expect Belarus to push for closer economic ties with EAEU countries in order to maintain crucial Russian support amid ongoing protests over the disputed presidential election. The EU is likely to continue to increase the intensity of sanctions against Belarus for violence targeting the protesters, further pushing Minsk into Russia’s orbit in the short-term. However, it is unlikely Russian economic aid will suffice to rescue Belarus’s flagging economy and in the medium-term worsening economic conditions could facilitate Lukashenko’s departure.