Experts: Belarusian guest workers benefit from Union State most
The day of unity of the Belarusian and Russian peoples is marked on April 2. Does the Union State really work?
Economist Leanid Zaika calls the Union State "a post-Soviet creation", "a model used for hyper-compensation of historical memory". But he does not refute its success. Especially for Belarusian guest workers in Russia.
Leanid Zaika: “Belarusian workers can go to Moscow or other Russian cities and get the average Russian wage of 1215 dollars (last December). The average wage in Belarus was 500 dollars in December. Belarusians working is Russia gain double benefit."
They can also get medical assistance and their pension issues are regulated by the Union State. The state benefit of the Union State is cheap Russian oil that can be processed at Belarusian enterprises, the economist said.
Leanid Zaika: “It is the second part of our foreign currency influx. We buy oil for $400 per ton (unlike the Venezuelan and Azerbaijani oil for $800) and sell oil products for 835 dollars to the EU. This is half of the whole export, half of the foreign currency made by the today's economic elite in Belarus. And this is the result of these relations with Russia."
Associate professor of Moscow State University department of international relations Kirill Koktysh agrees that "migrant workers from Belarus" gain the most benefit from the Union State's social guarantees.
Kirill Koktysh: “The maximum proximity was reached at the end of the 1990s and at the beginning of the 2000s. The Union State will not develop more. The only further steps can be made in the Single Economic Area of the Eurasian Union."
The Executive Committee of the Union State has been working quite successfully for the small budget available recently, the Euroradio's interviewee thinks. Such structure as the Union Parliament has already been forgotten. We should not think about dozens of "union" laws and decisions either, Kirill Koktysh advised.
Kirill Koktysh: “Only one legal act really works: the one making Belarusians equal to Russians and Russians equal to Belarusians on their territories. People can get education and medical assistance."
Nevertheless, the Union State must exist despite its "obscurity", experts think.
“The denunciation of the Union State would leave Belarusians without any rights in Russia," Koktysh explained.
If we decide that the Customs Union is enough and the Union State should be denounced, all the bonuses our tourists and students have in Russia now will be cancelled. And Belarusian workers will become equal to Central Asian guest workers.