Russia is willing to participate in the construction of a nuclear power plant in
Belarus if the latter country's government makes a decision to this effect, a
source in the Russian government told journalists prior to a meeting of the
Council of Ministers of the Union State in Moscow. Trade between the two
countries was somewhat inefficient, as energy products accounted for the most
significant part of Russia's imports to the republic. Nuclear power plant
construction is projected to improve trade and economic cooperation between the
two countries, the source said.
Reasoning given here for Russia's participation in Belarusian nuclear power plant actually does not seem to give a full picture of Russia's interest in this project. Russia is and has been for quite a long while the largest consuming market for Belarusian goods, and one can say that the trade turnover is large enough to say that countries are economically cooperating. An energy project in Belarus is important for Russia as a strategic point - Belarus is so far considered the only ally of Russia left out of the former USSR, and building an energy project in Belarus will only strengthen this connection. Such a step seems needed when Belarusian economy has stepped into crisis after gas prices were risen on 31st of December 2006. Moreover, own nuclear power plant means a lot for the country's political ambitions.