There are many "white spots" in the history of his visit to the sheikhs.
Lukashenka spent more than a week in the United Arab Emirates. However, the details of his visit were not particularly disclosed.
From the high-profile news, there was only a message about the allocation by the ruler to the Arab sheikh of a thousand hectares of land in Minsk for the construction of an international financial center. As well as information that the dictator is being secretly treated in one of the elite clinics in Abu Dhabi.
Is there any sense or benefit for Belarus in the economic cooperation with the UAE? Barys Zhaliba, Ph.D. of Economics, is answering the questions of the Charter97.org news website.
- Each time after traveling abroad, Lukashenka speaks of "billion-dollar agreements". Is it really true? Is there any significant benefit for the Belarusian economy from the ruler’s friendship with the Arab sheikhs?
- I believe that there is a benefit, at least for Lukashenka, because the Arab countries - in particular, the UAE, Saudi Arabia - are tough authoritarian regimes led by sheikhs who have a lot of money. Here the main issues are resolved to a greater extent in the framework of personal relations between the rulers of the two states.
Lukashenka himself emphasized that during such meetings they talk about their families. But he has to conduct conversations in the language in which he will be understood and which can bring him results.
Another thing is that Lukashenka single-handedly decides on the allocation of territories for construction. Such issues need to be addressed collectively, and not based on personal relationships. In addition, he gave away a good place - on the coastal territory of the Drazdy water reservoir. Apparently, in the near future, the sheikhs will come to Belarus and discuss the construction issue with our government.
The territory that Lukashenka gave to the sheikhs used to belong to the 2nd clinical hospital. At the moment, no movement is visible there yet. It also remains quiet in Raubichy, where certain territory was also previously allocated. This raises certain questions.
It is embarrassing, of course, that very little information about the trip is made public. Apparently, this visit was unofficial. As far as it is known from the media, the President of the UAE did not accept Lukashenka with a visit, therefore, rich sheikhs accepted him.
It is too early to talk about any amounts, personal agreement should play a role here. I think that this is not discussed in the Emirates at the government level.
- Lukashenka during his stay in the United Arab Emirates said that his visit there "is not clear to everyone." What, in your opinion, caused the interest of the ruler and his officials in this country?
- The main interest of Lukashenka to the Emirates is to lend money. This is not only money in the form of investments, but also those funds that are required by the budget. According to my calculations, this year Russia undergave Belarus at least 1 billion 600 million dollars. Before, these means of power came every year. But now Lukashenka has been denied everything.
If he could agree with the sheikhs on an amount of at least $ 1 billion, this would be a great help for him to live the next year without Russian support.
- Some economists claim that the Emirates is a favorite place for officials to keep their capital. Do you agree with this statement?
- I think this does not apply to our officials. They have easy money stored in Belarus. As for personal savings, it is unlikely that our officials keep them with the Arabs - Western Europe is closer anyway.
- Among Russian democrats, it is customary to talk about the "golden trillion" of Putin and his oligarchs stationed outside the Russian Federation, as well as about the mechanisms for it's return. Are there really working mechanisms for the return of capital, and can Belarusians, in the event of a change of power, find the billions that the Guardian wrote about and return this money to their homeland?
- This issue is more relevant for Russia. This is an "amnesty of capital" - there billions of dollars are transferred to offshore companies. And this money does not work for the Russian economy.
Why do people withdraw capital? Because it is unreliable and dangerous to invest them in their homeland - too much risk. You can go bankrupt, or even go to prison. Therefore, they are in a hurry to make themselves "alternate aerodromes", so that in the case of a fuss they could always flee there.
In Belarus, wealthy people also probably prepared for themselves some "safe airfields".
However, in my opinion, it is more important to solve not the issue if export of capital, but the problem of it's leakage. In any case, it will be very difficult to return capital to their homeland. This is a big problem.