Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 227

Writing in the December 2 issue of Sovetskaya Belorussia, his administration’s official newspaper, Belarusan president Alyaksandr Lukashenka warned that "the fate of the CIS will be easy to predict" if it continues "wasting time on discussions and explanations, without taking any specific decisions," as — in his view — was the case at recent CIS summits. Calling for a "reform of the CIS," Lukashenka emphasized the organization’s "economic and cultural" functions, not the political ones. His main proposal, which he says he will raise at next month’s CIS summit in Moscow, envisages the creation of a CIS standing supervisory body, comprised of personal representatives of the member countries’ presidents. This body would be empowered to monitor the implementation of collective decisions, work out a mechanism of sanctions for noncompliance, and "coordinate" the work of central CIS economic bodies in Moscow. (Sovetskaya Belorussia, cited by Russian agencies, December 2)

Notwithstanding its "integrationist" rhetoric, the proposal is actually driven mainly by national interest as Lukashenka understands that interest. His main goal here is to pressure Russia to deliver on its largely unhonored promises of economic support to Belarus. Superimposing a collective presidential organ above the CIS central staffs would ipso facto dilute Russia’s dominance of those staffs. While Lukashenka stresses the economic aspects of CIS ties and a bilateral "economic union" with Russia, the government in Moscow has envisaged mainly a future "political union" with Belarus, but has recently de-emphasized that goal as well.

The Monitor continues its survey of Ukraine’s political parties and blocs in the runup to the parliamentary elections.

Ukraine’s Political Landscape: the United Social-Democrats.