Updated at 18:44,21-03-2018

Who is behind Belarusian milk sales in Russia?

Lola Buryeva, Belsat, photo: BelTA / TASS / Forum

Who is behind Belarusian milk sales in Russia?
Belarusian dairy products are a strong competitor to Russian. However, on March 6, Rosselkhoznadzor will ban the import of Belarusian milk, cream, whey and protein concentrate products to Russia.

Last week, Siarhey Sidorski, a board member of the industry and agro-industrial complex of the Eurasian Economic Commission, said there were no legitimate grounds for the ban. Rosselkhoznadzor responded with a detailed list of violations of the Belarusian side.

The problem is in the re-export of sanctioned products from Ukraine and the European Union “… under the guise of producers from countries that did not fall under the current restrictions (Iran, Macedonia, San Marino and China). It was about the legalization of 150 thousand tons of products banned for import into Russia. Rosselkhoznadzor needed only one day to contact the veterinary services of Iran, Macedonia, San Marino and China to receive an answer from them that this product was not shipped to the address of the Belarusian and Russian recipients,” Rosselkhoznadzor explained.

Another example of fraud, which affects not only Russian, but also Belarusian enterprises, was given by the representative of the Russian Union of Milk Producers. We are talking about Belarusian products marked for third countries.

“When delivering to third countries, prices in Belarus are traditionally lower than for deliveries to the Russian Federation. As a result, these products do not reach third countries, but settle in Russia. So the products spoil the environment in the domestic market and negatively affects both Russian and Belarusian producers. When we talk about the evaluation of effects, specific figures are difficult to name. But the fact that these things traditionally affect not only Russian producers, but also Belarusian ones is clear,” the director of the association Artem Belov said.

Such schemes are not local initiatives. They are approved at the very top of the Belarusian leadership, the domestic experts repeatedly stated.

“It’s not about the people from the agro-industrial complex, not about the processors. They deal with the highest Belarusian authorities,” Alyaksandr Yarashuk, the former deputy chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee for the agro-industrial complex, explains.

Economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk was even more emphatic. “I would advise the Rosselkhoznadzor to look for ends in Russia. Because without the Russian ends, these schemes will never take place. Because these are very high-ranking siloviki who are behind this. Belarusians are only providing certain services here,” he said.

Belarusian enterprises were first accused of the re-export of sanctions products after Russia introduced counter-sanctions. They were a response to European measures over the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea.