Relations between Moscow and Minsk have consolidated with a recent agreement over 28 Union State programs proposing cooperation in various sectors of the economy.
Russia and Belarus have further developed their relations by signing economic deals and the continuation of Moscow’s efforts to militarise Minsk.
The two countries have agreed on all 28 Union State programs, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday.
Union State programs are designed to unify the legislation of both countries.
"It is about 28 so-called Union State programs aimed at harmonizing Russian and Belarusian laws in various areas of the economy, ensuring equal conditions for the activities of the two countries’ economic entities, forming common financial and energy markets and a common transport space, as well as at developing and implementing a common industrial and agricultural policy.” Putin said while announcing all the 28 programs are agreed.
"The plan is that they will be approved at a meeting of the Union State Council of Ministers in Minsk tomorrow and after that, they will be submitted for approval to the Supreme Council of the Union State that is expected to hold a meeting before the end of the year," the Russian President added.
Within the Union State, both countries have reached an agreement to integrate their national payment systems and create a single space to facilitate customs and taxation.
"The general guidelines for the formation of a single monetary policy in the future have been determined. [This includes] implementation of currency regulation, integration of national payment systems and creation of a single payment space within the Union State," the Russian leader said.
Together with ensuring fair competition and enhancing business activities, the single payment system is expected to fight money laundering and the financing of crime, including terrorism.
By pointing out it's too early for a common currency, Putin said that “It is very important to conduct a single macroeconomic policy.”
Lukashenko also noted their work towards a single currency, but both states’ central banks are reportedly unready to take such steps for now.
On the other hand, the amount of credit given by Russia to Belarus will exceed $600 million from September 2021 to the end of 2022.
Under the unification agreement of energy markets, including gas, oil and electricity, Moscow and Minsk are intend to create a unified gas market by December 1.
Russian gas prices for Belarus will remain the same for next year at the level of 2021, Putin said.
The latest economic agreements consolidate the two countries' ties which have been developing at speed under Belarusian leader Lukashenko. Lukashenko announced on September 3 that Russia will send a massive military consignment which includes aircraft, helicopters and air defence systems.
The heavy arms transfer to Belarus, is likely to be interpreted as a sign of Moscow’s support for Lukashenko's violent crackdown against opposition protests to his rule last year, which was condemned by Western nations.