Russian leaders dissatisfied with Lukashenka's behavior, expert says
According to Russia's Ambassador to Belarus Aleksandr Surikov, the Belarusian government should not expect an increase in oil supplies from its Eastern ally in the coming months.
The reduction of oil supplies to Belarusin in the IV quarter to 4 million tons from 5.3 million tons in the III quarter occurred in the overall balance of supply of hydrocarbons from Russia to Belarus, Mr. Surikov says.
According to Interfaks-Zapad news agency, Belarus intends to restore the supply of oil in the IV quarter to the level of the III quarter. Mr. Surikov responded to this intention: "Wanting is not harmful to anyone, including the Belarusian side and the Russian side, but Russia has obligations to supply oil to other countries".
An economist Leanid Zlotnikaw comments in the interview with UDF.BY on the statements of Mr. Surikov.
- Aleksandr Surikov made it clear that Russia will not supply in Belarus additional oil, which the official Minsk very much hoped for, and will supply 4 million tons in the 4th quarter instead of the 5.3 million. What is the cause of this statement?
- I think this is due to dissatisfaction of Russia's leadership with the behavior of Lukashenka. Moscow has been concerned with the unfair play of Lukashenka with"solvents-diluents,": formally, the ally has this right, but there are certain rules of behavior.
I think that the statement is caused by the obstinacy of Minsk with respect to the privatization. Minsk shuts itself of from the Customs Union and this causes discontent. Putin builds the competitive market economy on this space, and Belarusians do not want to open their economies. Minsk torpedoes the Kremlin's plans in order to maintain the existing economic model.
- At the same, Surikov did not rule out the restoration of the level of oil supplies in the IV quarter, if an increase in oil extraction is to happen in Russia: "If there is an over-fulfillment of the extraction in Russia, then the over-fulfillment of the balance of the hydrocarbon supplies to Belarus is possible." How should one understand this?
Surikov is right that there was too much oil supplies to Belarus. Minsk has increased exports of oil products in three times due to it. Russia itself has shortage of oil products, and at the beginning of the year, if I remember correctly, there was the agreement that Minsk will partly cover the needs of the Russian market in oil products. It seems that the Minsk received oil in full, but forgot about oil products.
There is nothing to blame Russia in: if there is a contract - execute it! If the contract is executed and there were surpluses - enjoy it. If Russians are marketeers, then they should have done is the way as they've done.
- Leanid, is there any correlation between the reduction of Russian oil deliveries to Belarus and the increase in the US dollar rate?
- There is a link with "solvents-diluents": they cut off a tap and it will affect on the inflow of foreign currency in the country. Exports decreased by 2 million tons, then the inflow of foreign currency will be reduced, too.
1.5 billion tons of oil, which Belarus will not receive in the 4th quarter, we are given a profit of $600-700 million. Export taxes should be payed of this amount to the Russia's treasury. So, there is $200-250 million of added value that we could get. GDP loses about $200 million or 0.4% of GDP.
It is also money. But there is nothing extraordinary to happen. We do not stand or fall by and it is strategically safe.