Borys Kushniruk

Observing the statements of Russian officials with respect for the EU Association Agreement signature with Ukraine, it may be noticed how they differ from the attitude of Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Russian powers that be predict the default for Ukraine and the unlimited number of problems in case of the Association Agreement signature. However, the Belorussian attitude looks more reserved. President Lukashenko even stated that he cannot see a problem with Ukraine’s Association with the EU. Belarus respects and accepts Ukraine’s choice; moreover, it sees in it not obstacles but new opportunities for the mutually beneficial cooperation, Alexander Lukashenko observed.

The reason for such difference in attitudes is quite prosaic; it lies in the structure of the foreign trade turn over between the two countries. Ukraine within the CIS countries has a negative balance of the foreign trade only with two countries – Russia and Belarus. Thus, in 8 months of the current year the negative foreign trade balance with Belarus amounted to 1.1 billion US dollars. Based on the results of 2012 – the negative balance was 2.8 billion US dollars. With Russia – the negative balance is 3.4 billion US dollars (in 2012 – the negative balance was 9.8 billion US dollars).

At the same time, if the Russian export to Ukraine is mainly raw materials, the Belorussian export is mainly finished goods.

So, in case of any tough measures towards Ukraine on the part of the Customs Union (read – Russia), it will be Belarus which will suffer from this the most. Ukraine will have to take measures in response regarding the Customs Union countries, which will lead to the drastic drop in the foreign trade. As a result, Belarus, which already is extremely dependent on the export to Russia, will completely become a hostage of the will of the Kremlin powers that be.

 

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