The State Duma of Russia has ratified the protocol on the terms of oil supplies to Belarus on 12 February, BelTA has learnt.
Some 436 MPs voted in the affirmative, one MP abstained from voting, nobody voted in the negative.
Despite the unanimous support, the document aroused heated debate in the State Duma. For instance, MP Anatoly Lokot who represented the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, said that the oil supplies protocol raises questions about Russia’s policy towards Belarus. "6.3 million tonnes of duty-free oil which is to be delivered to Belarus under the protocol, is a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of oil Russia pumps to the west. This drop reflects Russia’s stance towards the Union State construction," he said.
"How come, oil-rich Russia fails to ensure well-being of its people, while Belarus can do it without oil resources? Are we interested in the economic growth of the Union State or we want it ruined?" the MP asked.
According to Anatoly Lokot, very often Russia’s foreign policy is based on the interests of tycoons. "It is a corporate raid policy, it is not the way the Union State should be built; we came near to pushing Belarus out of the Customs Union," the MP said. "We made the whole world laugh when we started having arguments soon after announcing the establishment of the Customs Union," he added.
"Russia should decide what it wants: to gain instantaneous profits or to have a strong ally by its side," Anatoly Lokot concluded.
The protocol on oil supplies was signed in Moscow on 27 January after several rounds of hard talks between First Vice-Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko and Vice-Premier of Russia Igor Sechin. The document amended the agreement signed by the governments of Belarus and Russia on 12 January 2007 to regulate the trade and economic cooperation in the export of oil and oil products.
According to the document, the Russian crude oil transported on the request of a competent body of Belarus for domestic consumption is exempted from the customs duty. The customs duty on the crude oil above the duty-free volume is calculated taking into account the rates set in the Russian legislation.
The ratification of the protocol will be considered at the extraordinary session of the Federation Council of Russia on 12 February.