On October 3, the Russian Federation Council adopted a resolution calling on Russia’s president, government, and Duma to approve a referendum "On deepening economic and political integration of Russia and Belarus." The resolution recalls that in May 1995 85 percent of the Belarus electorate approved the policy of president Aleksandr Lukashenko toward integration with Russia. (11)
The measure of the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament is not immediately binding and may have more symbolic that legal value. Integration is a notoriously elastic term, and its interpretation in this case will probably depend on political circumstances. But a counterpart Russian referendum urging political integration with Belarus, and presented as a response to the Belarus initiative, could later serve to legitimize steps toward unification of the two countries. However actual unification, should it come to that, would require a separate referendum.
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