Agreement on the allocation of the Russian state credit to Minsk in 2019 is achieved, the next stage — the conclusion of the relevant agreement. “Some new solutions we do not expect from the Russian colleagues, nor with his hand,” — said Finance Minister of Belarus Maxim Ermolovich reporters.
The government of Belarus applied to the government of Russia to provide in 2019, the state credit for $ 1 billion to refinance part of the external debt, the repayment of which next year will amount to 3.6 billion dollars. The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation confirmed the negotiations and noted the constructive cooperation on this issue.
Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas reported that the Russian side proposes to refinance the payments attributable to the address of Russia in 2019. According to him, the Belarusian side offers a loan to expand a little and ask Russia to refinance the payments attributable to the use of Eurasian Fund for stabilization and development.
Then there was the usual history of credit Belarusian economy despite the fact that the foreign policy position of Minsk remains quite uncertain and often bizarre in relation to the main ally of Russia.
What prevents Moscow to demand Belarus to take a more Pro-Russian policy in exchange for economic support. And always whether Belarus is going to need Russian loan?
— With regard to the inevitability of a credits — should be understood based on what the Belarusian political model, says the Director of the Center for political studies University of Finance Pavel Salin. — It is based on social contract between the government and the population that implies all sorts of benefits and financial help power large parts of the population. The provision of such contracts requires a major resource base of the state. And the Belarusian government it is not. Something Belarus receives from the export of fertilizers, but this is not enough. Therefore, Belarus is using its geopolitical advantages, stemming from Russia. And it’s not only about loans is a direct recharge, which, as expected, Belarus receives no compensation. Russia provides a loan and receives interest, although the question of debt repayment is very vague. So it’s not the main type of assistance. Russia annually sponsoring the Belarusian economy at the expense of her duty-free sales of petroleum and petroleum products. It is well known and taken for granted.
It is not surprising that the Russian authorities Lukashenko has opened a new credit line for next year. Among other things, in Belarus ahead of the presidential elections. And the Kremlin is interested in the fact that the rating of Lukashenka was good.
“SP”: — Well, Lukashenka will require something more than assurances of friendship with Russia?
— A good question. Moscow is not against to establish a military base in Belarus, but the old Man tries to delay the issue, to get away from it. Recently there was another statement Lukashenko, where he basically said that he sees no need in construction of the Russian base.
There is still interest of Russian business to certain Belarusian assets. But Minsk is not ready to give a controlling stake to the Russians. At least on the terms on which Russia wants. So I think that actually in exchange for financial assistance to Russia will not receive any new political or economic bonuses. Besides the fact that to be elected President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who is considered the negotiability. Lukashenko, according to the Kremlin, it is possible to deal with, but instead may come someone who will be more difficult. And then Minsk could cease to be even an unreliable ally, as it is now.
“SP”: — the analogy: Ukraine for a long time received gas from Russia at preferential prices, but you can integrate at the last moment refused and was ultimately anti-Russian government. If according to this scenario, though, and mellowed to go in relations with Belarus?
— It is theoretically possible, as the way of ensuring loyalty, which chose Russia, implies that the situation can develop according to different scenarios. While I have a feeling that Belarus is moving on the Ukrainian scenario. However all can change very quickly. At some moment greater political weight of Belarus to gain strength far less Pro-Russian.
“SP”: — what is the reason?
— Russia does traditional error in the relations with post-Soviet countries that would like to keep in the zone of its influence. Moscow, generally supports one political force, unlike the Americans, who support different political forces playing on the contradictions. Russia relies on the current government. And it is always expensive, much more expensive opposition. In addition, if any of the former Soviet republics, the opposition shifts the power, she begins the better for the Kremlin, which had supported the previous regime, and the Kremlin remains a loser. So you need to do as Americans: to maintain the current government, and simultaneously to raise over the opposition. But the Russian political tradition this is not intended. And it is necessary to act more discreetly, in order not to lose influence in the former Soviet Union.
“SP”: — Why, in your opinion, the Kremlin does not draw conclusions from the failure of the Ukraine?
— It is a matter of psychological comfort of the power she was used to a certain modus of foreign policy. Now the authorities need to deal with domestic politics. Mistakes in foreign policy are expensive, but in principle the foreign policy that is, can continue unchallenged. Resources from Russia to buy the loyalty of the same Lukashenko is. But in domestic policy, the authorities need to radically change the approach, but she can’t or doesn’t want to do. The inability of the authorities to change in domestic politics can lead to fatal consequences for her.
— Belarus receives duty-free oil gets loans from Russia, but in return ensures the safety of transit of oil and gas, says assistant Professor of political theory at MGIMO of the MFA of Russia Kirill Koktysh. — So these bonuses can be called a share in the business of selling energy abroad. Through Belarus runs West of the hydrocarbons by about $ 120 billion a year. Are we willing to refuse to support the Minsk and to question this income?
The relatively small money that we spend on Belarus, it is not so much of a price for maintaining overall friendly relations with Minsk. View, due to the deterioration of relations with Ukraine we were forced to spend a total of about $ 20 billion for the construction of two “Northern stream”. This price relationship.
“SP”: — by the Way, for a long time, Russia has similarly sponsored Kiev, selling gas at deep discounts, and in the end…
— Not exactly. The fact that Ukraine received for their “share of the business” were distributed mainly among the elite. And in Belarus the government is honestly divided by its population.
Overall, I believe that the Belarusian economy is quite viable, when operating in a single system with the Russian economy. And this mutually beneficial cooperation. Yes, in some issues, Russia and Belarus, the positions are different, but it sometimes even helps the two countries to work together to solve common challenges, both in politics and in the economy. Clearly, much would like to improve, but what is available is good. The level of interaction in the framework of the Union state of Russia and Belarus is very high.
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