Analysis by Yuri Tsarik
The Belarus–Russia talks on “deepening the integration” have been controversial and have resonated both internationally and domestically. As the negotiated documents are classified, the information on the scope, content, and details of the deal remained undisclosed. Bringing together an analysis of the context, rationale, decision-making, and activities of the parties, this paper outlines the role of the integration deal in the context of Russia’s regional strategy and intentions vis-à-vis Belarus. It finds that the integration deal is a multi-purpose tool serving to cut the costs of the integration, impose integration initiatives that are beneficial to Moscow, destabilise Belarus, and finally, guide the inclusion of Belarus into Russia’s legal framework.