Belarusians Nix Adopting Russian Rouble

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Most people in Belarus are against adopting the Russian currency to simplify transactions between the bi-national union, according to a poll by the Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS). 66.7 per cent of respondents disagree with the Russian rouble becoming the unified currency-especially if only Russia is allowed to issue it.

Belarus seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, independent candidate Aleksandr Lukashenko won the presidential election, boosted by his popularity after acting as chairman of an anti-corruption parliamentary committee. Lukashenko remains the country's president to this day.

In late 1999, Lukashenko and then Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bilateral treaty, where the two nations agreed to eventually merge their tax systems and currencies. The agreement affectively created the Union of Russia and Belarus.

In early 2007, Belarus and Russia's relations were strained by a conflict over the price of oil and natural gas. Russia doubled the price of its gas-which Belarus largely depends on-and imposed a high duty on oil exports. Belarus responded by imposing an expensive tax on Russian gas in January. The impasse affected several European countries that depend on Russian oil exports, which are transported through Belarus.

In May, Dmitry Medvedev took over as Russia's president, while Putin became the country's new prime minister.

On Jun. 27, Pavel Borodin, secretary of state of the Union of Russia and Belarus, said the Union is ready to adopt the Russian rouble, declaring, "I think we finally introduce a common currency on the territory of Russia and Belarus. Concerning the final integration of the two states, I can say there is a will of the governments of the both sides, but much depends on the presidents."

Polling Data

Do you agree with the Russian rouble becoming the unified currency in the union of Belarus and Russia and that it should be issued by Russia alone?





Not sure


Source: Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS)

Methodology: Interviews with 1,021 Belarusian adults, conducted from Jun. 2 to Jun. 12, 2008. No margin of error was provided.