The Kremlin is likely to make “a symmetric move” in response to Uralkali director general’s arrest.
Detained on August 26, Vladislav Baumgertner has been charged with abuse of power. Yesterday the Belarusian Investigation Committee informed of its intention to initiate a criminal case against Uralkali’s major shareholder Suleyman Kerimov, who once was one of the chief partners of Minsk.
Moreover, Moscow has met the immediate situation with a ban on import of Belarusian pork, lodging claims against the quality of Belarusian dairy products, reducing export of crude oil and reminding of debts.
The Kremlin demands the immediate release of Vladislav Baumgertner; what might Minsk face if it turns the demand down? “I cannot rule out that Moscow may make “a symmetric move” in response to Uralkali director general’s arrest: it may find a person who is a real asset to the Belarusian authorities in order to detain them somewhere,” well-known Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovski believes.
Today Russian diplomats have met with Vladislav Baumgertner in the detention of the Committee for State Security (KGB) in Minsk.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the embassy’s first secretary, Gavriil Mamontov, said that Mr. Baumgertner “looked somewhat tired” but made no complaints, and that his detention conditions were “normal.” Mr Baumgertner is being kept in a one-man cell, he said.
According to him, an agreement has been reached with Belarusian law-enforcement agencies that Mr Baumgertner will be able to meet with his Belarusian lawyers at least once a week. Mr Baumgertner reportedly asked his lawyers to tell his mother that he was alright and bring him a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.