Belarus has to fulfill its share of the agreements. Then Russia will take up its part of the promise: those were the terms of the agreement between Lukashenka and Putin reached on Monday. Fulfilling them will not be easy.
One of the main conditions is for Minsk to repay its debt for gas in the amount of more than $ 700 million. The previous gas truce reached last year was not reached precisely because of the fact that Belarus had failed to meet this condition. Although the debt then was half the amount that it is now. Today, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich stressed — if you do not pay the debt, there will be no recovery in oil supplies.
Tensions also remain on the food front
The representatives of “Rosselkhoznadzor” have arrived in Belarus for the inspection of domestic enterprises, which had previously been banned from shipping to Russia. The goal of the visit was to restore export certificates.
The inspection results are not yet known, but Russian inspectors continue to treat the new shipments of Belarusian products like it did before. The other day, the “Rosselkhoznadzor” management in the Bryansk region rejected 13 tons of herring from Babruisk. Chairman of “Rosselkhoznadzor” said that if the Russian authorities wanted him to change the methods of working with Belarus, they were to remove the responsibility from him.
Meanwhile, the re-export of western products into Russia not only infuriates the Kremlin, but also has a negative impact on Belarusian consumers. Indeed, a large share of cheap European food coming to Belarus does not remain on the shelves of local shops but is smuggled to the east. As a result of this, a number of products, among other things, tomatoes or cucumbers, in Minsk now cost more than in Moscow.
Issues between two countries will remain
Even if the parties now comply with the terms of the armistice, contentious issues will once again come to the surface in the near future.
“To put it very harshly, it is the freezing of the conflict. After all, the underlying problem of the union realtionship has not been solved,” said Andrey Suzdaltsev from the Highest School of Economics in Moscow.
The main accompanying issue here is the volume of Russian subsidies to Minsk, which has dramatically decreased in recent years, and without them Minsk cannot pay earlier debts.
Stanislau Ivashkevich, Minsk, Photo: peremogi.livejournal.com