Does the dictator no longer trust his entourage?
After the last talks in Sochi, the Belarusian authorities hide from the population the real price to be paid to Russia for gas in 2020.
The situation is the same with oil. Against the background of the official media assurances about the search for alternative sources, Lukashenka said on Friday he was ready to take the transit Russian oil from Druzhba.
How can the failure of Sochi talks affect the situation for the Belarusian regime? Famous Belarusian documentary film director Yury Khashchevatski answers the questions of Charter97.org.
- Before the talks, Lukashenka stated that "the moment of truth" was about to come. Do you think this moment has come for him?
- This moment of truth came a long time ago. Lukashenka has always told about it. However, he believed he was "smartest" and he could deceive everybody. But he fell across the same person, who can cheat as much as Lukashenka - two criminals met.
Now one of them has a nuclear weapon, a huge army, much money. And the second one has nothing but his stupid "economic model," which has led to a dead-end and taken away a quarter of a century from Belarus to develop.
This is the moment of truth. It was already clear a long time ago. Lukashenka just can't understand it. He might have already realised it, but he is just trying to somehow veil his confusion, fear and awareness, and to hide that the economy of living for free, which has always been claimed to be an "economic miracle", has simply reached a dead-end. This is the moment of truth.
- How do you assess Putin's metaphor "water porridge" for Lukashenka?
- That's their style now. In principle, it is humiliation. This question was asked to humiliate. It was a question of the Dom to the petitioner who did not want to listen. It's a clear and perfect humiliation.
Lukashenka deserved it. Because he used to freely pull this oil money out of Russia. He used to transfer it to his accounts. He used to give that money to his friends. However, it's over.
Now Lukashenka shrivels like a slug in salt. Now he doesn't know what to expect. He's scared, now he's looking around. If he used to pay his law enforcers and knew that they would protect him, now this confidence has faded away. I mean, there are serious problems.
That's why Putin said so. He learned this style a long time ago and now uses it.
- Is the so-called "oil emirate" over for Lukashenka and his associates?
- I hope it's over. Basically it is not that bad, because it is high time to give up oil and switch to electric motors.
At the moment, it is a very serious blow to the whole vertical of Lukashenka. Not to Belarusian citizens. The fact is that the Belarusians have never enjoyed these discounts on oil and gas.
On the contrary, they paid in full or even more. As far as I remember, I was surprised when I came to Ukraine, which had been receiving gas since the 2000s without any preferential price and I saw my mother, who lived in Odessa, paid twice less for gas than we do here.
Therefore, it is very important for citizens of Belarus to understand that they did not benefit from Russian discounts on oil and gas. This money was given to the Belarusian nomenclature so that they could provide for themselves, to share this money. To the greatest extent, it concerns Lukashenka, who was one of those who profited most from Russian donations.
- Now we turn back to the issue of Lukashenka's trust in the "vertical". Will the dictator be able to fulfill his "social contract" with certain groups in the existing power structure - first of all, with the law enforcement agencies?
- I hope that he will not be able to fulfill his "social contract" to the same extent as it was before. I believe that he will not.
It poses a real problem. His only source of income is to take money from the population to provide payments to law enforcers and those who still support him. He's met his match. The population has no money. Now we observe absolutely incredible things, when people get 70 rubles each. It's awful.
It's the situation when one tries to take away everything from the citizens of Belarus. For what? To pay for the law enforcement agencies, which Lukashenka still relies on. Let's see how it will develop. I think that the sooner the citizens of Belarus feel how hopeless position is, the sooner the country will come to its senses, the sooner we will be able to overthrow this power and finally remove this stranglehold from Belarus and bring our country back to normal.