Putin Rejects Oil Deal With Belarus, Increasing Pressure for Merger


On the 7th of February, Vladimir Putin met with the Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko at Sochi to discuss reducing the cost of oil being sold from Russia to Belarus. Currently, Belarus relies on oil from Russia, and though they still maintain a favorable deal on natural gas, that isn't enough. However, Putin rejected this deal and instead focused on a 1999 plan to unite the two countries. Lukashenko was predictably unreceptive to this idea, and no progress was made on a deal.

The situation involved in this deal is much the same as the Ukraine crisis that happened recently. Russification plays into this with the simple fact that Russia is aiming to bring Belarus under its control through a union. Irredentism is a large concept present in this deal because like Ukraine, Belarus was part of the major portions of the USSR until 1991 when it gained independence, meaning there are many ethnic Russians present in the country. Finally, the obvious parallel is the focus on the sale of Russian oil and gas, which Belarus is in a similar geographic location to Ukraine and so controlling trade with Belarus can stop the flow of oil into Europe. Though this is not a copy of the events that occurred in Ukraine, the concepts behind it are very similar.