Abstract Martynau

Political Bargaining in the Union State of Russia and Belarus

Alexander Martynau

Abstract: The article analyzes a series of economic and political disputes between Russia and Belarus in the recent decade. Th e author lays out a three-tier framework of political bargaining, comprising structural, situational and personal factors, adjusted for the realities of the post-Soviet political regimes. Based on the review of the fi ve so-called ‘wars’ between the two countries, the author

concludes that the Belarusian leadership has learned to balance out its structural economic disadvantages vis-à-vis Russia by manipulating favorable situational factors and resorting to aggressive personal decision making.

Keywords: Union State of Russia and Belarus, fossil fuels, economic disputes, Alexander Lukashenka, Vladimir Putin