The delay by the Belarussian leadership in instituting the Russian ruble as the sole currency in the country is connected with the difference in taxation in the two countries, said Belarussian Ambassador in Russia Vladimir Grigoriev in a lecture to State Duma apparatus employees yesterday. He said that 'in the context of instituting the Russian ruble as the sole currency it is necessary to carefully consider compensation problems in as much as tax revenues are higher than Russian tax revenues in 12 different items.' If we do not compensate for the difference, said Grigoriev, then Belarussian trade products will be more expensive than Russian products and will not compete equally in Russia.
We have to consider everything in order to make sure we won't make Belarus poorer, said Grigoriev. 'If we make a mistake in instituting the Russian ruble, then we will destroy not only the economic union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine but the entire economic system in the CIS,' he said. Nevertheless, Grigoriev said that Belarus welcomes the integration process in the CIS including the creation of a union government. 'I see no problems with the formation of a CIS union government. There may be some difficulties, but the prospects for development are greater,' he said.