– Moscow understands very well that Lukashenka is now in a dead-end situation. Without Russian financial support, he cannot hold on to power for long. Nor can he count on support from the West, and the IMF credit is still not secured. Russia knows that in such situation they have an upper hand in negotiations with Lukashenka – Pavel Sharemet, opposition journalist, told Belsat in an interview.
Sheremet thinks that a recent visit of Belarusian prime minister Mikhail Miasnikovich to Moscow had no significance. In Sheremet’s opinion, all decisions are made by Lukashenka. “No one in Moscow does not treat these kind of talks seriously. No matter if they are held with Miasnikovich, Makiey (chief of staff), some minister or a factory manager – he added.
Sharemet also commented on privatization of Belarusian companies. At the beginning of August, media reported that Russian Sbierbank and DeutscheBank are to give a 2 billion dollar credit to the Belarusian potassium fertilizers producer Bialoruskaliya, in exchange for 35 percent of the company’s shares. – This is a specific form of privatization. Everyone knows very well that Belarus has money shortage. If a company is receiving money now, it means, they will be privatized soon. If Bielaruskaliya will manage to pay their credit back, everything will be fine. If not – the company will become Russian property, and not for 30 bilion – as Lukashenka hoped, but for 5 billions. – said Shremet.
If Lukashenka will not be able to pay the credit, Belarus is threatened with serious financial sanctions. – Belarus is now in a situation with no good solution. Every move Lukashenka can take, will turn against him. We are witnessing the end of “lukashism”. It’s hard to say if this condition will last for half a year, a year or two, but everything is now in Russia’s hands – concluded Sharemet.
Paval Sharemet contributes to Russian magazine „Ogoniok” and runs an independent news website „Belarusian Partisan”. He had to leave Belarus in 1990s, because of his criticism of president Lukashenka. An author of a book on Belarusian dictator “Accidental President”. Belarusian authorities attempted last year to revoke his citizenship.