Information about the plans for a possible union between Belarus and Russia. [BYS37865.E]

For background information regarding the status of a proposed union of Belarus and Russia as of 15 December 1999 and future proposals from that time period, please consult BYS33313.E of 15 December 1999.

Although talks are still ongoing, no dates have been set for actual unification; the Union is still considered "vaguely defined" (The Economist 8 September 2001) and "relations between the two states are in a state of continuous stagnation" (Radio Racyja 4 June 2001).

In general, steps toward unification are progressing slowly, including on economic matters (Monitor 15 June 2001). A full monetary union is projected for 1 January 2005, but Russian reservations could alter current talks: "Russian Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev, who chaired the session of the Union parliamentary group, told the press that Belarus-Russia merger plans still faced strong resistance in both countries..." (ibid.). Russia also unilaterally introduced customs controls on certain goods and delayed the adoption of a union budget (RFE/RL 6 June 2001).

On October 23 2001 representatives of the Belarus-Russia Union State held a meeting to discuss trade and economic co-operation (Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs 25 10 2001). The meeting addressed the creation of a system of tariffs, unified tax legislation, customs regulations and the control of the Belarus-Russia border (ibid.).

Previous to this meeting, the Council of Belarusian-Russian Union Parliamentary Assembly had discussed initial elections to the Union Parliament expected to be held in April 2002 (Radio Racyja 24 September 2001). Recent talks have also focussed on the preparation of a Constitutional Act (Monitor 5 September 2001), budgetary guidelines for 2002 (Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs 29 August 2001) and several joint program projects (ibid.). A draft of the Constitutional Document of Russia-Belarus Union is projected for 5 November 2001 (Rosbalt News Agency 24 October 2001).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Belarus. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 25 October 2001. "Belarus embassy and Union State permanent committee held joint meeting." [Accessed 1 November 2001]

The Economist [London]. 8 September 2001. "A rotten state." (NEXIS)

Monitor [Washington, DC]. 5 September 2001. "Moscow the Likely Winner of Presidential Election in Belarus." (Articled taken from The Belarusian Review) [Accessed 31 October 2001]

_____. 15 June 2001. "Little Progress on Economic Front of Russia-Belarus Union." (Articled taken from The Belarusian Review) [Accessed 31 October 2001]

Radio Racyja. 24 September 2001. "Integration Gains Momentum." [Accessed 31 October 2001]

___. 4 June 2001. "Belarus' and Russia's Legislators Gather for a Joint Session." [Accessed 31 October 2001]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)Newsline. [Prague]. 6 June 2001 Vol.5, No.107, Part.11. "Lukashenka Criticizes Moscow for Impeding Russia-Belarus Union." [Accessed 29 October 2001]

Rosbalt News Agency. 24 October 2001. "The Constitutional Document of Russian-Belarus Union Will Be Completed by the Middle of November." [Accessed 30 October 2001]

Russian Federation. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 29 August 2001. Daily News Bulletin. [Accessed 1 November 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

BBC News Online

BelaPan [Minsk]

Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Belarus Today

British Helsinki Human Rights Group

Development and Peace Foundation (SEF)

Freedom House

Hokkaido University Slavic Research Centre

The Human Rights Centre Viasna - Minsk

Human Rights Watch

Interfax [Moscow]

International League for Human Rights

ITAR-TASS [Moscow]

Political Resources on the Net: Belarus

Pravda [Moscow]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russian Federation. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russia Today