The working group to discuss the dispute with Russia will be headed by Minister of Economy Dzmitry Krutoy, said recently Prime Minister Siarhey Rumas. The most important of these issues is the compensation for the increase in price of the Russian oil.
President Lukashenka has ordered to buy oil not only in Russia. He puts hopes for the reduced dependence on Moscow on the Baltic countries.
Lukashenka has been setting this task to his Ministers for a long time. Ability to import oil from the Baltics has been discussed in Minsk since 2004.
Lukashenko has labeled the rumors that Belarus may join Russia in exchange for energy subsidies “nonsense” and promised to get the Kremlin’s compensation “in other areas of cooperation.” However, some experts are skeptical.
According to Lukashenka, over the last 4 years, Belarus lost three and a half billion dollars over the Russian tax maneuver. And it stands to lose another $ 10 billion over the next 6 years. But the economic catastrophe is not going to happen, the head of state is convinced. In any case, Belarusians have become accustomed to various catastrophes.
Russian oil subsidies have been on the slide for over a decade, but they still remain substantial. Last year alone, they allowed Minsk to save an amount greater than four per cent of gross domestic product.
Lack of money from the East may encourage Minsk to seek funds from the West. Andrei Yahorau, Center for European Transformation:
“New funding may come to Belarus from the IMF, for example. ”
“If the Russian leadership choose to lose a single ally in the western direction, then it is their choice,” Lukashenka hinted to the Kremlin. However, he has been trying to scare Moscow with movement to the West on an number of occasions in the past, but so far it has not materialize.
Alyaksandr Papko, belsat.eu