Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 25 December headed to Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin, on the eve of having to make a controversial statement about the erosion of the brotherly relations between Belarus and Russia. During a special meeting on November 24 in Minsk, he rebuked Moscow in the Russian leadership failure of the promises, including on the notorious compensation for the change of tax laws of Russia (the”tax maneuver in the oil sector”). The Russian government did not remain in debt and the same evening made it clear, that liars and deceivers in Moscow, the search is not necessary.
During the beginning of the official visit, as reported by the press service of the President of Belarus, “will be summarized the results of the Belarusian-Russian cooperation in the past year, discussed the most actual problems of bilateral cooperation in the near future”.
“Special attention of the heads of state focused on the development of mutually beneficial relations in trade-economic sphere with a focus on the implementation of previous agreements in integration formats”, — said in an official statement.
Behind these two brief reports — a large complex of problems that have accumulated between Minsk and Moscow, exacerbated by the end of 2018 to the extent that the Belarusian leader has stated that there is no fraternal relations. In his opinion, so believe in the leadership of Russia.
In the ensuing 24 December special meeting “topical issues of cooperation with Russia,” Lukashenka noted that Russia for Belarus is a key external partner. He said: “I’m not talking the brotherly government, because, as I was informed, in Russia it is not accepted. Allegedly new people have come that this concept is unacceptable. Well, let’s be partners.”
“We have always stressed the importance of this interaction. The comprehensive nature of our relations is of great importance not only for Belarus but also for Russia. They are built on the system and, most importantly, scheduled basis,” he added.
The media have focused on the detection of the absence of “brotherhood” and the beginning of the partnership. Moscow immediately recognized the danger of such statements and the evening of the same day, the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov commented on the statement of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, making it clear that the Belarusian leader, diplomatically speaking, made a mistake and made the wrong conclusion.
“Of course, Russia and Belarus are fraternal and allied States. Of course, sometimes there are problematic issues. As a result of the dialogue, which is scheduled for tomorrow between presidents Putin and Lukashenka, as a rule, such issues are resolved. I hope that tomorrow the presidents will have an opportunity to discuss in detail all the issues that they feel the need to discuss”, — said on December 24, Dmitry Peskov.
However, not only about the lost brotherhood said Lukashenko. He accused the Russian leadership is the failure to implement earlier agreements, noting: “And the Higher state Council and Union state Council of Ministers, and bilaterally signed many agreements. Unfortunately, as I often say, they don’t all run”.
“There is a programme of action. We have long practised, but also identifying each question, agreed, and ordered all they are capable of and what we were capable of particularly in the Russian Federation. In terms of preparation in those days, many of our proposals on closer integration was not supported”, — stated the Belarusian leader.
According to him, these agreements covered a wide range of issues including macroeconomics, fiscal, industrial and foreign policies, transport and space migration, health and culture: “In all directions were adopted specific plans. We are very close to the creation of one of the fuel and energy market, go to the formation of common legal space of the Union state”.
“In the middle of this year we had to start and finish by year-end questions on gas prices (we are in St. Petersburg agreed with Vladimir Putin), to solve the oil issues in connection with the tax maneuver in the Russian Federation. However, all our proposals Russia did not, and these terms are actually broken. And our part of the delegation tomorrow in the negotiations, and the Russian will have to answer the question of why adopted two presidents decision was not executed this year,” — said Lukashenko, Recalling the agreements by April 2017 in St. Petersburg.
It will be recalled that negotiations in the spring of last year was not an easy one because of another “gas war”, sparked by the debt crisis of the Belarusian state-owned enterprises for the consumed products of the Belarusian “daughter” of Russian Gazprom. The government of Belarus in 2016, decided that the Russian gas price is too large for the Belarusian state-owned enterprises were allowed to pay less. There was a crisis of non-payments, “Gazprom transgaz Belarus” prepared documents for litigation, has begun an information war with the seizure of political hostages (the criminal “case renumbered”).
Now, judging by the statements of Lukashenko, at stake is “the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Belarus”, as Russia does not fulfill its obligations. Belarusian politician just accused the first Deputy Chairman of RF government — Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov in sabotage taken at the highest level of solutions and called the new figures “losses” of the Belarusian budget due to amendments to Russian tax legislation.
“As for oil prices, the situation changed three years ago. During these three years because of the tax maneuver (in the oil sector of Russia — ed.) we lost almost $4.5 billion. We understand that in the coming years to about 2024, will incur losses by $10.5 billion,” — said Lukashenko.
Here pertinently to remind, that on 20 December, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Igor Lyashenko said that the “loss” of the official Minsk from the Russian “tax maneuver” will be $383 million for 2019. A few days before the 17 December meeting with the government Lukashenka has voiced a different amount, “If we do not agree, this tax maneuver us in bulk will come gradually from 2019 to 2024. In 2019, if suddenly, then we could lose about $400-500 million.”
Even earlier, 14 Dec Lukashenko has estimated the total “loss” of the Republic “until 2025 to 10.8 billion due to tax maneuver”, and December 13, the Finance Minister of Belarus Maxim Ermolovich said that the “loss” of Belarus from realization in Russia’s tax maneuver in the oil sector will amount to $300 million in 2019.
There were other statements made by the representatives of the official Minsk. Thus, on 7 December the press Secretary of the President Natalia Eismont said that because of the Russian tax maneuver in the oil sector, the leadership of Belarus in 2015 is underfunded by $3.6 billion and “over the next four years we’ll lose out on nearly $11 billion.” And on the same day, 7 December, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Igor Petrishenko said that “Belarus from 2015 to 2018, according to our calculations, a shortfall of about $3.4 billion of export duties” and up to 2025 “we’ll lose somewhere up to $10 billion.” All this allowed to consider that in Minsk too liberal with the numbers.
Judging by the press service of the President of Belarus, at the meeting on 24 December, Lukashenko accused the Russian leadership in the fulfillment of the promises made and decisions taken. “And me personally, and the government is not denied, it was firmly promised:
“We (Russia — ed.) never go to the deterioration of the economic situation in Belarus, and we will compensate the losses from the tax maneuver”. It was a promise. We understood and were ready to negotiate, — said Alexander Lukashenko. — It seems that you are at the level of the two governments considered all, the decision was made”.
Lukashenko recalled the statement Siluanov, who led negotiations on “compensation” notorious “loss” of the official Minsk due to the changes in the Russian tax legislation, as reported by the presidential press service, noting that “the Russian side was ready to compensate these losses at the expense of the budget.” Lukashenko said:
“And then suddenly everything stopped. I would like to answer the question: why have you stopped these negotiations when, in principle, everything was ready for decision, even at the Union Council of Ministers in Brest?”
We are talking about the statement by Anton Siluanov on the evening of 14 December in response to the scandalous revelations Lukashenko during the meeting with the Russian press. Then the Russian official said:
“Russia did not give Belarus any promises for the payment of compensation for changes in tax legislation in Russia. We believe these changes, including the tax maneuver in the oil industry, an internal affair of the Russian Federation”.
The evening of 24 December, the press service of the Russian government was forced again to respond to Lukashenka’s statements, in fact, refuting them, and Recalling that “the agreement was to discuss this question” — the question of “compensation” for official Minsk for the implementation of Russia’s sovereign rights on changes of Russian tax legislation. State media in Belarus, as earlier, refrain from the spread of the statements of the Russian leadership that showed the obvious signs of another information war.
“I want to reiterate that no agreement on compensation for Belarus in connection with the tax maneuver in the oil and gas industry in Russia never was. The agreement was to discuss this issue. This is what is happening now”, — informed the government of the Russian Federation.
On the day of Putin’s talks with Lukashenko in the Kremlin with the comments made by press Secretary of Russian leader Dmitry Peskov, urged the press more restrained to respond to the statements of the Belarusian leader noted that “we should not be taken out of context, such statements”.
Commenting on the differences on the key issue of Lukashenka’s visit to Moscow, Peskov admitted that “this question is quite sharply raises our Belarusian partners” and “there are nuances in approaches that need to discuss.” However, the most important thing in his comments — stating that on December 25, Putin and Lukashenko will hold a comprehensive discussion of allied relations, in particular the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty establishing the Union state of Belarus and Russia of 1999.
Spoke personally to the President, explaining the differences with the official Minsk:
“We say that you are our neighbor, our ally, but lately, trust is lost. All of these solvents, sanctione comes to us, excise goods — cigarettes, our markets fill”.
“All the elements of the Union Treaty of 1999, it’s all spelled out, but not fulfilled,” he added, Recalling that still in the Union state of Belarus and Russia there is no uniform currency.
He said that the leadership of Belarus is asking Russia to subsidize the Belarusian oil refinery, and this $2 billion annually. However, Moscow is not ready to spend that kind of money, since a lot of their own costs and the need to implement national projects. Siluanov said:
“A lot of money, so the cost of integration, but of course, we are willing to pay, but would like to see reciprocal steps, we have to understand that we have a grant to give to our partner, the best neighbor, very close. In terms of our needs, projects, and limitations of borrowings”.
“Tax reform is an internal affair, if you want, so we created the same conditions for your refiners, as we do, let’s get this moved still profitable. Let’s excise policy combine. We have a distrust of the work of your customs and let the customs officials there are working to establish data exchange”, — told reporters the President.
Thus, Moscow and Minsk have matured to a Frank conversation. Not the best format and tone of preparing to this conversation chose the Belarusian leader, but more important meaningful part of this conversation, what will the process output.
Obviously, the Russian leadership wants greater transparency allied relations, it is not satisfied with the process of spending billions of dollars unobvious result. Official Minsk, on the contrary, satisfied with the movement to an unknown end, followed by the Russian fed. When Moscow’s support is reduced — the Belarusian leadership is nervous and makes a sharp statement.
The intention of the Russian leadership to stop the various schemes of earnings-state structures at various benefits and preferences in Russian-Belarusian relations is a natural activity of those who had hoped to have a deal from the implementation of “gray” schemes, which allowed to redistribute the millions and billions of dollars to the Russian budget, and into your own pocket. In addition, the transparency of the mechanism for subsidizing Russia formally the Union of Belarus hurts the image of the Belarusian leadership, blurs the clay feet of the colossus nationalist, so carefully vozdvizhenskoe in Minsk for nearly a quarter of a century of post-Soviet existence.
Reformatting of bilateral relations the current leadership of Belarus is not satisfied in any way — neither economically nor politically. The Russian leadership is not satisfied with nearly 20 years of uncertainty, the notorious Union building, the results of which the Federal government did not become a full-fledged state, is not acquired even symbolism, not to mention more enshrined in the Treaty of 1999.
In General, the Union state of Russia and Belarus ripe almost revolutionary situation: one side does not want to farm as before, and the other is to live as before. it lacks only the activity of the masses, who would use the crisis of the powers that be.
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