The Belarusian ruler has decided to show Russia once again that they won't get anywhere with him. At least, for free.
As stated by the Voice of Russia, the day before he set a task to his officials – to get maximum revenue from export of agricultural products amid adverse climate situation in a number of states and world prices increase. An explanation is needed here, that adverse conditions mean heat and wildfires. A number of states are primarily Russia and also Ukraine.
“We must earn maximum income,” Lukashenka said, anticipating profits. “We do not have oil or gas, and prices are increased for us every year. Ok, we also have things to sell. And we want to be happy with the prices considering the increase of prices for crude hydrocarbons,” he finished his sermon on trade during the working visit to Minks region. And notably, he calls this “generosity” assistance to Russian regions. “We must help our friends in Russia. They can pay, they have enough oil and gas. And they are ready to exchange that for agriculture products,” he noted. In general, he is ready to give a slice of bread, and even that for barter. It is not even a market, but swapping.
Moscow is fed up with Lukashenka’s friendliness. But now he offers it at even higher price. And it is clear that fires in Russia are an hour of triumph of his understanding of pragmatism. At the same time, to connect supplies of agriculture products with oil and gas, it as least economically incorrectly, even if moral categories and good neighbourhood are not taken into account.
Tariffs for hydrocarbons are defined by the formula of agreements, their increase is protracted in time and Belarus’s gradual transition to market level of prices is secured. All the accompanying rhetoric of Minsk: scandals, resentment, demarches, wringing hands, lamentation, referring to brotherhood are not economic but political concepts. And they are intended solely for making the price lower despite of contracts. As for food, everything is obvious here. And no formulas are needed here. Profiteering has always been clear and is explicable in bad times. But now it is called by different names: for instance, commercial opportunities. But that does not alter the particularity of the fact. It’s nothing personal, business only.
At the same time, when Belarusian firemen, side by side with colleagues from other CIS countries, embark to rescue Russia from fire, it was a sign of solidarity. When Belarusian TV channels started to compare Belarusian firemen with Russian ones, not on favour the latter, it was natural. When Lukashenka offered to take advantage of the fires, it became provoking. And in general, he just lives up to his reputation of a rural illiterate cunning fellow. He knows when, what and at what price anything could be sold. Talks about friendship now are empty talks. If the friends do not have tobacco in common, why should not they separate oil from grain?
But Lukashenka recommends not being in a hurry with grain. He states that prices are to go up. So Lukashenka advises to hold back grain, flour and feed compound, it means until bad days would come to Russia. Then we will sell it to our friends (which is emphasized y him). And until then a man shall not live by bread alone. Milk and meat could be sold. There are no surprises about that. It is known that disasters come treading on each other's heels. Most often disasters come with those who want to cash in on disasters. Sometimes they are those about whom it is said: a friend in need is a friend indeed. But Lukashenka is a different case. No calamity is needed to realize what kind of friend he is, “Voice of Russia” concludes.