Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko revealed new details during a press conference regarding recent negotiations with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko said the two state leaders discussed transferring their economies to a common currency under the legal framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. The Union was formed in 1995 and has since been a source of hope for those who would like the two countries to be fully reunited as a single state. Since then, the Union’s precise nature has remained vague, but some commentators have speculated that Putin could use the structure to retain power after the end of his current term in 2024.
Several attempts to create a common currency for Russia and Belarus failed in the 2000s. However, Lukashenko said he and Putin had discussed the possibility in recent talks. “[Putin] says rhetorically, ‘Look, of course, this would be a ruble.’ I say, ‘Of course, a ruble. We have a ruble, and you have a ruble. Why switch to a thaler? A ruble! But that’s not the question. This would not be a Russian ruble or a Belarusian ruble; it would be our shared ruble if it comes about,” Lukashenko explained.
Lukashenko also said Putin suggested that the printing center for this hypothetical currency could be based in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. “Why not have it in Petersburg? It’s the Russian president’s hometown and my favorite city,” Lukashenko said in return.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov affirmed that current treaties between Russia and Belarus would allow for the active creation of a Union State and a common currency but also agreed that current discussions on the matter remain hypothetical.