Belarus is preparing for Sochi Summits
Belarus’ relations with Russia have been focused on the preparations the forthcoming summits in Sochi on October 11th and 12th, and on refining her participation in the post-Soviet integration processes. Belarus has reaffirmed her allied commitments and continued to make efforts to reduce the confrontation between Russia and the EU.
On October 11th and 12th, 2017, the EEU and the CIS Summits will be held in Sochi and will launch the autumn integration events in the post-Soviet space. While congratulating Putin on his birthday, Lukashenka has confirmed Belarus’ participation in the integration initiatives. The CIS Summit will focus mainly on humanitarian interaction; the CIS heads plan to adopt and disseminate at the UN and the OSCE a declaration in support for the family and the prevention of domestic violence (apparently, this step aims to improve Russia’s reputation). In addition, the CIS states are likely to reduce the funding for the CIS and the number of its bodies.
Russia is interested in the success of Minsk's efforts to organize interaction between the EU and the EEU. Belarus, in turn, is interested in reducing the confrontation between Russia and the West and overcoming Russia’s isolation, since her economic growth is largely dependent on the intensity of economic exchanges and infrastructure ties between Russia and the EU. Simultaneously, Belarus is restricting her participation in post-Soviet integration initiatives in an attempt to prompt Russia to meet her obligations. For instance, Belarus still has not completed negotiations on the EEU Customs Code. In addition, Belarus is making efforts to reduce economic dependence on Russia through the diversification of sales markets for her produces.
In the coming weeks, relations with Russia are likely to develop as usual in an ‘allied mode’, which, however, does not exclude a conflict of interests in some areas. Independent media are likely to interpret the forthcoming summits as the evidence of Russia's increased pressure on Belarus.