A NEW CONCEPT OF CONVERGENCE?

Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 96

While property manager for the Kremlin, Pavel Borodin was a protector of the rising star Vladimir Putin. The roles, however, have since been reversed, with Borodin now in the role of President Putin’s protege as state secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union. Interviewed in the current issue of the Minsk weekly Sem Dney, Borodin calls for the convergence of the Russian and Belarusan economic models into a happy middle ground. “Russia ought,” he says, “to use the experience of Belarus, which adheres to the principles of state regulation of the national economy and direct participation of the state in economic processes. That strategy,” he continues with approval, “has made it possible for the Belarusan leadership to preserve almost the entire state economic infrastructure.” By the same token, the Belarusan state “might usefully study the experience of economic liberalization in Russia. Bringing the two economic models closer together, we can create a common macroeconomic system which would bridge the two economies.”

As a centerpiece of that system, Borodin calls for the establishment of “Russian-Belarusan transnational financial-industrial groups (FPGs). Only on that basis can integration bear fruit.” FPGs are a euphemism for the takeover of economic infrastructure and production enterprises by Russian oligarchic capital. The publication of Borodin’s interview gave rise to questions at the Belarusan Foreign Affairs Ministry’s weekly briefing. Asked for an official reaction to Borodin’s indictment in Switzerland in an international financial scandal, the ministry’s chief spokesman replied that the government had no knowledge of this because the Swiss authorities had not sent the relevant documents to Minsk, but only to Moscow (Itar-Tass, May 8, 10).

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