The Russian authorities are deeply concerned over Uralkali CEO’s arrest.
“What has happened today is out of all reason; we are speaking from sure knowledge: as we were reported, the company director was there on invitation of [Prime Minister] Miasnikovich. We believe this is quite a strange situation taking into account the character of our interrelations,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov commented on the burgeoning scandal
Leu Marholin, Deputy Head of the United Civic Party, points out that if the Belarusian authorities are eager to shift the blame on somebody for Belarusian Potash Company’s collapse they should have initiated a criminal case against Uralkali instead of detaining its director.
“This event is fraught with grave consequence because the Russian government never tolerates such actions against their citizens, especially top officials,” the politician believes.
“The situation is troubled, and its further escalation seems to be on the cards,” political analyst Ales Lahvinets says.
According to the expert, Russian-Belarusian potash confrontation spirals on: “Last week they held a press conference which was nothing but statements and blame game between the parties. The conference was a verbal round; now we are witnessing a certain ‘action’: Uralkali director general is in custody; what is more, four colleagues of his have been put on the wanted list”.
What will Russia respond with? Both sides are easy to take politically motivated decisions, Mr Lahvinets stresses. In his opinion, the war will go beyond the field of potash fertilizers. “Soon Russia may well find more harmful substances in Belarusian or introduce more restrictions on imports of Belarusian pork”.
Tensions will never ease until Moscow has more loyal political appointee in Minsk or Lukashenka meets Russia’s expentations, the expert believes. As for the Belarusian side, it wants access to Russian markets, not to speak of cheap oil and gas. “These are differences which are not to be adjusted overnight,” the analyst says.