21 April 2024, Sunday, 21:33
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Russian loan can become a mousetrap

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Experts form Russia and Belarus haven’t reach a common opinion on a reason of warming the relation between Moscow and Minsk.

Only at the end of 2007 Belarus received a stabilisation loan of USD 1.5 billion from Russia, which was promised yet at the end of the last year. The money was brought by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to his Belarusian colleague. It was the first visit of Putin to Minsk, and apparently the last one in his present status, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” writes.

The decision on giving a credit to Belarus was unanimously appraised by experts as rapprochement between Russia and Belarus. It should be reminded the relations tightened at the end of the last year, when Russia announced the transition to market relation with Belarus. In particular, increasing of energy price for the country. Such acts of Russian allowed Alyaksandr Lukashenka to say many unflattering remarks addressing the Russian leadership. Among other subjects of emotional comments of the Belarusian ruler was also the requested credit.

But the experts of the two countries haven’t reached a common opinion on a reason of the rapprochement between Moscow and Russia. Versions concerning the subjects of 7-hour talks between Putin and Lukashenka continue to appear two weeks after the meeting. There is an opinion that Belarus received the loan and low gas price (USD 119 per 1.000 cu m) in return for a promise to allow Russian capital to Belarusian privatisation. A three-month lag (low gas price was established only for the first quarter of the year) was given for realisation the pledges, as Lukashenka had given promises before, but hadn’t fulfil them.

There are suggestions that Moscow has paid with a loan for silence on the western direction before the presidential election in Russia. Lukashenka, satisfied with the loan and low gas price, won’t make unflattering remarks in the address of the Kremlin, and threaten Europe to cut gas.

There is also an opinion that the 1.5 billion credit is payment for political support and military protection “on the Western Front”. It’s not an occasion that Lukashenka declared that “Belarus stands ready to play its part in the issue of probable deployment elements of the US anti-missile system in Europe and coordinate its actions with Russia in the frames of Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.”

Moreover, Russia could change its tactics towards Belarus. The dependence can be not only energy, but also financial one. The local observers suppose the money received can save the situation in the Belarusian economy only in the short-run. They will only worsen its state in the long-term perspective, and it means the received credit can become some kind of mousetrap.

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