On December 6, Alyaksandr Lukashenka made an emotional speech at the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St. Petersburg. He praised the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, but publicly critisized the pricing of gas for Belarus and reminded Vladimir Putin of the country’s losses in the Second World War, but then apologized to the Russian leader for his ‘overreaction’.
Is being a member of the union still advantageous or should Belarus join any other alliance? Why did Lukashenka express his outrage in the presence of journalists in spite of Putin’s remark?
Belarusian economist Leu Marholin, who was a guest of Belsat TV program Hot Commentary on Thursday, commented on the situation:
“That is what distinguishes Lukashenka’s style of behaviour from that of Putin. Lukashenka uses every opportunity to make his claims, so that they could become available to the public, including the press. Putin likes to negotiate in private. Therefore, he said that they would discuss the issue when reporters left. <…>
There is much unfair in these negotiations. Indeed, the price of gas [for Belarus] may be lower than for Western countries, but it is twice as high as the price Russia’s Smolensk region pays. But it was no secret. When the Belarusian president was signing the agreement, he knew it, he also knew that establishing the [common] market would be deferred to 2025, but the current situation makes him act. He could not predict that he would face such a difficult situation in 2019, when every Belarusian ruble, every US dollar would count. And now he has to fight like a lion for every dollar…”
Photo: Alexei Nikolsky / Russian Presidential Press and Information Office / TASS / FORUM