18 January 2018, Thursday, 18:54

Former Ukrainian minister of economy: Customs Union threatens with new Berlin Wall


Volodymyr Lanoviy thinks Belarus may follow Russia's example and ban imports of Ukrainian goods.

Such a decision of official Minsk would look logical taking into account that being a member of the Customs Union, Belarus is greatly influenced by Russia. Doctor of Economics Volodymir Lanoviy, a former minister of economy of Ukraine, spoke to charter97.org about a decision by Russia's Customs Service to blcok imports of Ukrainian goods.

It is a blow to Ukraine's economy that obviously depends on exports to the Russian Federation. Exports to our eastern neighbour make up about 20% of our country's exports. Losing this market will be sensitive for us. It's certainly less painful for Russia than for Ukraine.

The main question is why it happened. What are the reasons? In my opinion, it is a strong blow that demonstrates a threat to Ukraine from Russia: If you turn to the West, you will lose our market; there will be a new Berlin Wall between us; you will suffer huge damages because Europe doesn't need you. This is the background and the hidden sense of these actions,” the former minister said.

Volodymir Lanoviy stresses that the reasons for halting imports from Ukraine are exclusively political.

“The matter is that the Russian authorities don't have the aim of 'economic gain'. The decision is explained by political goals and implementation of imperialistic strategies and expansion, the desire to increase its (Russia's) role. Decisions, also those relating to Ukraine, are taken for political rather than economic consequences. The aim of the Russian government is to dominate over Belarus and Ukraine and demonstrate its power to ordinary citizens of Russia.

Russia violates the agreement of the CIS countries on creation a free trade zone signed a year ago. In accordance with the document, the participating countries undertake obligations not to impose new restrictions and bans on mutual trade. What Russia and other countries of the Customs Union do conflicts with this document and other arrangements on economic integration.

The decision on banning imports from Ukraine shows that Russia needs political dominance on the strategic foothold it has chosen, but not economic integration,” Volodymir Lanoviy said.

The politician is sure that the Belarusian authorities will support the restrictive measures imposed on Ukraine by Russia.

“I think Belarus will follow Russia in this issue. This step by Minsk is based on the country's membership in the Customs Union. It's more profitable for the Belarusian authorities to listen to Russia and remain in its shade than get necessary products from Ukraine. The influence of the eastern neighbour on Belarus's economy, finances, trade and energy is great, unreasonably great. It determines Minsk's policy,” he said.

Photo: focus.ua