8 April 2020, Wednesday, 18:44
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Valer Karbalevich On ‘Oil Compromise’: Conflicts Will Continue

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Valer Karbalevich On ‘Oil Compromise’: Conflicts Will Continue
VALER KARBALEVICH

They are simply programmed in the Moscow-Minsk relations.

Lukashenka’s press-center said on Friday that Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation with Aliaksandr Lukashenka, spoke about Russia’s readiness to “compensate for Belarus’s losses from lowering customs duties on Russian oil this year (relative to 2019), as part of in Russia tax maneuver due to the profit (or bonuses) of the Russian oil companies”.

Does this mean the end of the confrontation between Minsk and Moscow, related to the Russian energy supplies to Belarus?

“Apparently, Russia is ready to compensate for some money, and this means certain changes in Russia's position,” said political analyst Valer Karbalevich as he commented for “Your Country’s Tomorrow.”

- What can it be connected with?

- Perhaps there was some kind of agreement regarding the Mazyr refinery, and Belarus is ready to sell some set of shares to Rosneft. Obviously, this is connected with the visit of the chairman of the board of directors of this company Igor Sechin to Minsk. As a sign of gratitude, Russia is ready to compensate for the price increase.

The second option is that Russia was afraid that Lukashenka had promised to take part of the oil that flows through the Druzhba pipeline to Europe, and in order to avoid scandals with European consumers, Russia decided to make concessions.

The third option is that the Russian companies also suffer losses due to the long quarantine for the oil supplies to Belarus. And so they decided it was cheaper to pay.

And, finally, the fourth version - the project of coercion to integration and economic blackmail was necessary for Putin in order to solve the problem of the year 2024 with the help of the Union State. Since this problem is now being solved in a different way, with the Constitution of Russia, the need to continue strangling Lukashenka has disappeared, and Russia has made some concessions.

- During a meeting with Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Uladzimir Siamashka, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said that taking into account prices in Europe, Belarus should pay Russia about $ 90 per thousand cubic meters for gas. Will Lukashenka torpedo the gas issue now?

- How to torpedo it if the contract is actually signed? True, there are disagreements on the price, but Siamashka and Miller (Gazprom CEO - edit.) have already signed the document. You don't wave your fists after a fight. But Lukashenka raised this issue in order to once again show how bad Russia is, and what it owes to Belarus.

- Is it possible to talk about the end of the Belarusian-Russian confrontation on the issue of energy supplies?

- The gas issue is more or less settled, although there are also disagreements there. What does the price of 127 dollars per thousand cubic meters mean - is it the price at the entrance, with or without a bonus? And for oil - you have to wait until all the applications take the form of specific signed documents. Therefore, for now, I would refrain from claiming that the confrontation is over. But the parties are close to a compromise.

- What controversial issues remain in relations between the two countries?

- There is time to resolve the remaining issues and to find compromises. The issue of the nuclear power plant (the loan for its construction, its payment, timing and size) has not yet been resolved; now discussions are underway on it. The question about roadmaps is pushed aside, because so far it is not relevant. The issue of access of Belarusian products, especially food products to the Russian market is an eternal problem, I think these conflicts will never end. Conflicts will continue, they are simply programmed in the relations of the two states.