Belarus wants additional guarantees from Russia before it adopts the Russian ruble as the only means of payment
The Union of Russia and Belarus is a very strange formation: it actually exists but in fact it seems as if it doesn't. From time to time Moscow and Minsk recollect this project, but it usually results in a couple of high-sounding statements and nothing more. In other words, if something is actually done concerning the unification of both states, it is rather inconspicuous.
But for the Belarus president, who makes statements on the subject rather regularly, everybody would have forgotten that the Union of Russia and Belarus actually exists. Thus, having statements pronounced by the president of Belarus we can say that it is at least pretended that some activity is carried out. If Alexander Lukashenko criticizes the Kremlin, then the creation process continues.
On August 28, Russia President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to the Belarus president with a suggestion to sign an agreement according to which the Russian ruble is to be used as the only means of payment in Belarus. After sending the letter, Vladimir Putin left for Sardinia for a meeting with Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Belarus President Alexander couldn't help commenting the letter of the Russian president. He had a nice opportunity for commenting Vladimir Putin's letter yesterday, during a visit to Belarus's Brest Region. Lukashenko's commentary was as vivid as usual.
According to Russia's news agency RIA Novosti, the president of Belarus said that Russia's suggestion concerning the introduction of single currency must be supported with some guarantees. First of all, Alexander Lukashenko thinks, this is actually very important to ensure equal prices and free markets on the territory of both countries. The president of Belarus says: "We have come to an agreement but Russia doesn't want to carry it out. I cannot make a decision until I know what consequences this will bring to Belarus."
Next, Alexander Lukashenko criticized the Russian leadership. He stated that "the new leadership of Russia hasn't followed the way Russia and Belarus had chosen 8-9 years ago. They offer to replace the earlier achieved agreements with introduction of the single Russian currency. If we need a single currency, let it be the Russian ruble. Let's wait and see what we'll have next." Alexander Lukashenko thinks this is just part of the common problem. He adds that if an agreement on introduction of the single currency is adopted without solution of economic and financial problems, the people in Belarus may lose their money, wages and pensions.
In his turn, Russia's Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin says that introduction of the Russian ruble as the single means of payment on the territory of Russia and Belarus depends on Belarus. According to Alexey Kudrin, the Russian side is ready to sign such an agreement.