Eurasian Economic Community
Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community that was created in 2000. The other members are Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan joined in 2005 and suspended its membership in 2008.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed in 2007 to create a customs union, which was established in 2010. The union will likely be most advantageous to Russia in economic terms. Kazakhstan may hope that the union will facilitate its penetration of Europe’s energy markets through Russia and Belarus, although it could just as easily find itself becoming a raw materials supplier to Russia within the union. Belarus may have acceded to the union to ease its political differences with Russia, but this will probably not suffice to paper over the many issues that have damaged their relationship.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (centre) and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. May 29, 2014 (Russian Presidential Press and Information Office)
In May 2014, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a treaty establishing the Eurasian Economic Union, to come into force January 1.