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The Union State as an Instrument of Russia's Imperial Policy


Prepared by the Strategic Analysis Department of the National Anti-Crisis Management


Ukrainian language version of the article 🟦🟨

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Creation


After the collapse of the USSR and the creation of the CIS since 1992, the process of strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Belarus has been going on within this organization.


In accordance with the Treaty on the Formation of the Community of Belarus and Russia of April 2, 1997, it was decided to create a politically and economically integrated community "in order to unite the material and intellectual potential of the two states." The agreement on the formation of the Community of Belarus and Russia provided for the creation of a representative body. On April 29, 1996, in St. Petersburg, the leaders of the parliaments of the two countries signed an agreement on the Parliamentary Assembly.

On April 2, 1997, the Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia was signed in Moscow. On May 23, 1997, the Charter of the Union of Belarus and Russia was signed. In accordance with the Charter of the Union of Belarus and Russia, in 1997 the Supreme Council and the Executive Committee of the Union of Belarus and Russia were formed.


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Community was transformed into the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia.


In 1997-1998, the executive bodies of the Union and the general budget were being formed, and the first Union programs were being developed and implemented. The Border and Customs Committees, the Committee on Security Issues were formed.


On December 25, 1998, the Declaration on the Further Unity of Belarus and Russia, the Treaty on Equal Rights of Citizens, and the Agreement on the Creation of Equal Conditions for Economic Entities were signed.


On December 8, 1999, the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State was signed in Moscow, and the Action Program of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State was adopted.


On January 26, 2000, after the ratification of the Treaty by the parliaments of the two countries, it entered into force.


Working bodies of the Union State


The supreme body of the Union State is the Supreme State Council of the Union State. It consists of heads of state, heads of government, heads of the chambers of parliaments of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation. The meetings of the Supreme State Council are also attended by prime ministers, heads of the chambers of parliaments.


The main tasks of the Supreme State Council of the Union State:

  • determines the most important issues of the development of the Union State;

  • forms, within its competence, the bodies of the Union State, including the governing bodies of a sectoral and functional nature;

  • calls elections to the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Union State;

  • approves the budget of the Union State, adopted by the Parliament of the Union State, and annual reports on its execution;

  • approves the international treaties of the Union State ratified by the Parliament;

  • approves the state symbols of the Union State;

  • determines the location of the organs of the Union State;

  • hears the annual report of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State on the implementation of the adopted decisions.

The Supreme State Council also performs other functions assigned to its jurisdiction by the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State or transferred to its consideration by the participating states. The Supreme State Council, within the limits of its authority, issues decrees, resolutions and directives. Acts of the Supreme State Council are adopted on the basis of the unanimity of the member states. An act is not adopted if one of the participating states has spoken out against its adoption. Voting at meetings of the Supreme State Council on behalf of the State Party is carried out by the Head of State or a person authorized by him.


The Chairman of the Supreme State Council is one of the Heads of State-participants on the basis of rotation, unless they agree otherwise. At present, the functions of the Chairman of the Supreme State Council are performed by A. Lukashenko. He has held this position since 2000.


Chairman of the Supreme State Council:

  • organizes the work of the Supreme State Council, chairs its meetings and signs the acts adopted by the Supreme State Council, as well as the laws of the Union State;

  • addresses the Parliament with annual messages on the situation in the Union State and the main directions of its development;

  • on behalf of the Supreme State Council, conducts international negotiations and signs international treaties on behalf of the Union State, represents the Union State in relations with foreign states and international organizations;

  • organizes control over the implementation of this Treaty and decisions made by the Supreme State Council;

  • gives instructions to the Council of Ministers of the Union State within its powers;

  • performs other functions on behalf of the Supreme State Council.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia

Signing of the Treaty 1996, B. Yeltsin and A. Lukashenko
Signing of the Treaty 1996, B. Yeltsin and A. Lukashenko

On April 2, 1996, the Treaty on the Formation of the Community of Belarus and Russia was signed. In accordance with this document, a decision was made to create a Parliamentary Assembly - a representative body of the Community, which was to be formed on the basis of the principle of equal representation of deputies of the national parliaments of Russia and Belarus.


At the meeting of the leaders of the parliaments of Belarus and Russia, which took place on April 29, 1996 in St. Petersburg, the Agreement on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Community was signed. The Parliamentary Assembly was entrusted with the functions of developing draft legislative acts and submitting appropriate proposals to the bodies that have the right to legislative initiative.


During the time that has passed since the formation of the Community in April 1996 (since April 1997 - the Union of Belarus and Russia, since December 1999 - the Union State), the deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly have done work that laid the foundations for the formation of the legal system of the Union State.


The powers, composition, work procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly are defined in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly, which was approved on June 13, 1997. The last amendments and additions to the Regulations were made on September 16, 2003.


Council of Ministers of the Union State

Council of Ministers of the Union State in Minsk
Council of Ministers of the Union State in Minsk, 2021 Photo: soyuz.by

The Council of Ministers is the executive body of the Union State. It includes the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, the heads of government of Belarus and Russia, the ministers of foreign affairs, economy and finance of the participating states, the heads of the main sectoral and functional government bodies of the Union State, the State Secretary of the Union State.


The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State is appointed by the Supreme State Council of the Union State. It may be the head of government of one of the participating States on a rotating basis.


The Council of Ministers, in accordance with its competence, determined by this Treaty and decisions of the Supreme State Council:

  • develops the main directions of the general policy on the development of the Union State and submits them to the Supreme State Council for consideration;

  • submits to the Parliament of the Union State drafts of Union laws and Fundamentals of Legislation;

  • ensures control over the implementation of the provisions of the Union Treaty, acts of the Union State and, if necessary, makes motivated submissions to the participating States in case of non-fulfillment of obligations arising from them;

  • develops and submits to the Parliament of the Union State the draft budget of the Union State, ensures the execution of the budget, submits to the Parliament annual and semi-annual reports on the execution of the budget;

  • ensures the creation and development of a single economic space, the implementation of a single financial, tax, credit, monetary, currency, price and trade policy;

  • contributes to the implementation of a coordinated policy of the participating states in international affairs, in the field of defense, security, ensuring the rule of law, the rights and freedoms of citizens, ensuring public order and combating crime, as well as in the field of culture, science, education, healthcare, social security and protection environment;

Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union State:

  • manages the activities of the Council of Ministers and organizes its work;

  • submits to the Supreme State Council and the Parliament of the Union State annual reports on the activities of the Council of Ministers;

  • signs acts of the Council of Ministers;

  • on behalf of the Supreme State Council and within the powers granted to them, conducts negotiations and signs international treaties on behalf of the Union State.

Standing Committee of the Union State


The Standing Committee of the Union State is the working apparatus of the Supreme State Council of the Union State and the Council of Ministers of the Union State. Formed in accordance with the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State and the Resolution of the Supreme State Council of the Union State dated June 27, 2000 No. 13.

In its activities, the Standing Committee is guided by the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State, which was signed on December 8, 1999 by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, as well as the Action Program for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty, the Statute of the Supreme State Council of the Union State, the Regulations on the Council of Ministers of the Union State, and other regulatory-legal acts, national legislations of the participating states.


The Standing Committee organizes the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty, the development of proposals for the development strategy of the Union State, and coordinates the work of sectoral and functional bodies of the Union State. Together with the relevant bodies of the member states of the Union State, it carries out a preliminary review of the programs, projects and activities of the Union State, submits conclusions on them to the Council of Ministers and informs it of the progress of their implementation. Prepares for the Council of Ministers of the Union State proposals on draft laws of the Union State, on the unification of the laws of the participating states. Forms and submits for consideration by the Supreme State Council and the Council of Ministers draft agendas of their meetings, work plans. The Standing Committee ensures the interaction of the Council of Ministers of the Union State with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia.


The work of the Standing Committee is directed by the Secretary of State of the Union State, and the Standing Committee also includes four members of the Standing Committee, who are his deputies ex officio. Two members of the Standing Committee represent the Belarusian side, two members represent the Russian side.

The Standing Committee is accountable to the Council of Ministers.


The Union State as the Basis for Russia's Integration Projects


– Содружество независимых государств (СНГ) – Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – Организация Договора о коллективной безопасности (ОДКБ) – Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

– Евразийский экономический союз (ЕАЭС) – Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

– Союзное государство – Union State

This scheme clearly shows that Belarus is a key element of Russian integration associations. Thus, it is the Union State that is the association that makes Russia an empire. If the Russian Federation does not have the opportunity to keep its closest “ally” – Lukashenka’s Belarus – in its sphere of influence, then all other integration associations will begin to collapse in an accelerated mode. Only the fear and apprehensions of the majority of the countries participating in the CSTO and the EAEU are holding them back from starting the process of withdrawing from such associations.


Thus, the deconstruction of Russia as an empire can begin with the very first and ideologically key Union - the so-called Union State.


The Union State is an association that preaches the ideology of rashism, which can be observed in the general information space, narratives, as well as in the concrete example of the re-education of Ukrainian children illegally taken out of the occupied territories. Russia, with the support of the Lukashenka regime, planned to spread the ideology of rashism to occupied Ukraine if the so-called “special-military operation” succeeded.


Taking into account how the system of functioning of the Union State, which is described above, is built, it can be stated that the state bodies of the Lukashenka regime are quite widely involved in the processes associated with both the surrender of the sovereignty of Belarus and aggressive actions against Ukraine. All actions related to the war against Ukraine are carried out within the framework of the functioning of the Union State.


The role of the Union State in the preparation and aggression against Ukraine

Loading of Russian military equipment in Belarus 2022
Loading of Russian military equipment in Belarus 2022. Photo: eurasia.expert

On November 4, 2021, the Supreme State Council of the Union State adopted the Military Doctrine of the Union State. It is important to note that the legal basis of the Military Doctrine was: the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State of December 8, 1999, the Security Concept of the Union of Belarus and Russia of April 28, 1999, the Treaty between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on military cooperation of December 19, 1997, the provisions of the Charter of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (hereinafter referred to as the CSTO), international obligations of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation in the military sphere.

A month after the adoption of the Military Doctrine of the Union State, in December 2021, Putin and Lukashenko decided to conduct joint exercises “Union Resolve-2022”. On January 18, 2022, at a briefing for foreign military attachés, Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Alexander Fomin said that the objectives of the exercises were to conduct an unscheduled inspection of troops and develop various options for joint actions to neutralize threats and stabilize the situation on the borders of the Union State.

It was under the cover of these exercises that 4 days after they ended, an invasion into the territory of Ukraine from the territory of the Union State took place.


Despite the fact that the plans of Putin and Lukashenko to "take Kiev in 3 days" failed, they did not abandon the main goal - the destruction of Ukrainian statehood and its inclusion in the future in the Union State. Further actions of Lukashenka on complicity in aggression against Ukraine were implemented within the framework of the military doctrine of the Union State.

For example, among the foundations of the military policy of the Union State, the following areas are indicated:

  • coordination of plans for research and development work, production, supply of weapons, military and special equipment for the armed forces of the participating states, as well as joint fundamental and applied research in the field of creating the latest military technologies, advanced models of weapons, military and special equipment;

  • development and deepening of industrial and scientific and technical ties between enterprises of the participating states in the field of development, production and supply of products, provision of military services, as well as in the supply of materials, samples, components, training and auxiliary equipment necessary for this;

  • joint training of military personnel;

  • expansion of cooperation with international organizations and other states;

  • development of military and military-technical cooperation with the CSTO member states.

Thus, the transfer of military equipment and ammunition by Belarus to Russia, the training of Russian conscripts, the expansion of cooperation in the military-industrial complex with Russia's allies also took place within the framework of the Union State.

So, on October 10, 2022, Lukashenka announced the creation of a Regional Group of Forces (RGF) based on the Belarusian armed forces. In accordance with military doctrine, during a period of growing military threat (a period of direct threat of aggression), the Joint Command of the RGF is formed, which, in accordance with the evolving situation, refines the decisions made (developed plans) and manages the RGF.

The deployment of the RGF is carried out during a period of growing military threat (the period of an immediate threat of aggression) by decision of the Supreme State Council of the Union State. The RGF can be used both independently and jointly with groupings of national armed forces, other troops and military formations.

Separately, it is worth noting that among the measures to ensure the military security of the Union State, its military doctrine indicates that “nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation will remain an important factor in preventing the emergence of nuclear military conflicts and military conflicts using conventional weapons.”

It is on the basis of this paragraph that Lukashenka is taking steps to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, which he considers to be a guarantee of personal security.

It can be stated that with the development of the successes of the Ukrainian army on the fronts, the dictator returned to nuclear blackmail both in relation to Ukraine and NATO countries.

Conclusion


Belarus under the leadership of Lukashenka is a direct threat to at least 4 European countries (Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia) as long as it is in the sphere of influence of Russia and the military alliances founded by Russia. In this regard, the priority task is the deconstruction of Russian integration associations both at the base level of the Union State and at subsequent levels emanating from the base levels - the EAEU, the CSTO, the CIS.

For this, it is critically important to create conditions in order to tear Belarus away from the Russian center of influence and attraction, which means making the Union State project as toxic as possible.

Accession to the EU and NATO should become the strategic goal of the democratic forces of Belarus.

But as an intermediate stage in achieving this goal, one can consider the prospect of Belarus joining the Lublin Triangle format, and turning it into a “Square”. This equal association, because, as we know, all sides are equal in a square, can become the alternative that will allow us to begin the deconstruction of the Union State, and hence the imperial essence of Russia.



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