21 January 2018, Sunday, 19:52

Millstone round the neck


Lukashenka has given the China-Belarus industrial park the name of the Great Stone.

Although, as reported, the name comes from the toponym of the nearest village, such a choice of the name looks, to put it mildly, ambiguous. Not much good is associated with a stone in folklore.

However, apart from folklore there are more serious grounds for anxiety. In an article, published in the Belarusians and Market weekly, professor Jury Viasiolau makes the point that from the Russian trap of oil and gas our country risks getting into another one – this time Chinese, gazetaby.com reports.

Here are a few quotes:

“Earlier it was the cement trap, in which fell Belarusian cement plants, the modernization of which was done at the expense of Chinese tied loans. The modernization of our plants, based on traditional power-intensive gas-consuming technologies, without the consideration of the change in the external conditions of the falling construction market in Russia, has led to losses, instead of additional profits and increased competitiveness”.

“Unlike the energy and cement traps, the one of the industrial park will bear multiple adjacent risks. Most significant of them can be identified already today.

First one is the ecological risk, connected to the industrial character of works done by the park’s residents. This is not only cutting down a significant piece of woodland in the territory, adjacent to a two million large city, and a significant capacity reduction of its “lungs”. In the conditions of the coming global warming, this is also a risk of the emergence of a new hotbed of industrial smog near the National airport, modernized for the ice hockey world championship.

Another risk is the violation of the ethnical homogeneity of the Belarusian society, caused by the circumstance that foreign resident companies seeking to lower the production costs will be compelled to hire labour force of different qualifications based on different human resources management techniques. Managers and specialists, able to speak English, will be hired based on competition, first of all among foreigners, with whom they will be able to communicate professionally without an interpreter. For working jobs mostly Belarusians will be hired. Otherwise the production costs will too high.

Such a globalization will, of course, favor the locals, but it is hard now to predict how they will take such a competition with foreigners emotionally. Ethnic conflicts also have their economic and social roots. This risk should be always kept in mind.

Third risk is the possible re-export of the products, produced in the park. As the practice of the Belarusian free economic area shows, they all with no exception suffer from this, which is shown in the inspection reports by the State Control Committee.