Karbalevich: Europe can't give Belarus what Russia gives
"Europe can't give Belarus what Russia gives - cheap oil and gas. It turns out, almost half of the income from foreign trade Belarus gains from the export of petroleum products". Political analyst Valery Karbalevich sure the official Minsk in this situation has no sense to turn face-to-Europe.
On July 18 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Minsk. The head of the Russian government instantly outlined the issues discussed: Belarus "will not get out of" the privatization of "Belaruskali", he demanded to deal with the smuggling of petroleum products and said the union of MAZ and KamAZ need to be completed "in the short term". An agreement on the allocation of 10 billion dollars to build nuclear power plant in Astravets was signed, there were also high promises to provide a fourth tranche of the loan from EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund by the end of 2012.
What is the meaning of the Russian Prime Minister's visit in Minsk? Political analyst Valery Karbalevich discusses this in an interview with UDF.BY.
- Valery, the range of issues discussed Dmitry Medvedev has outlined at once: "Belaruskali", the union of MAZ and KamAZ, smuggling of petroleum products. But what was the real case of Russian Prime Minister's visit to Belarus?
- There are several meanings in this visit.
The first meaning is a demonstration that the project "Union State" exists, it is not dead, it is Russia and Belarus which have the most intimate and exclusive relationships. Medvedev's arrival should be seen as a continuation of the mission that began with Putin's visit as the head of state on May 31 in Minsk. This is the main point, the main task and the main goal of Medvedev's visit.
There are no urgent problems that required his presence in Belarus, - otherwise Lukashenko simply would be summed in the Kremlin on the mat. In addition, Medvedev statements were quite of loyal nature. They shook their finger at Minsk, and nothing more.
Look: Belarus have committed itself to privatize state property. Agreed to merge MAZ and KamAZ. So what? They would like the union of MAZ and KamAZ to happen faster, but no one pushes Minsk towards it.
It seems that Russia was investigating the smuggling of oil from the Belarusian side. The investigation seems to be completes, but results are unknown. Russia would like to see Belarus not involved in the smuggling of petroleum products, but it does not insist on it, just need more time to consider this issue.
In general, Medvedev's visit confirms the tendency in relations between Belarus and Russia, which has developed a little bit less than a year ago.
- So, this visit was of ritual character?
- Let's say: the element of ritualism prevailed. Specific issues, that required the participation of two prime ministers, were not considered. Signed the agreement on a loan to build the Belarusian nuclear power plant - but the document was not signed by the prime ministers.
- So, Medvedev's visit is only a confirmation, the course chosen by almost a year ago by the Belarusian and Russian leadership remains the same?
- I think so. Russia has a very loyal attitude to Belarus. And these trends will continue. Of course, conflicts are inevitable, but I think they will be resolved also in a loyal way.
Belarus wants to fulfill the obligations in the sphere of privatization, but the loan of EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund they promise to give further; Belarus involved in smuggling of petroleum products - Medvedev said the issue should be discussed one mire time. Russia is not going to condemn Belarus for such actions in a serious way.
- In these conditions, it seems, Minsk has no sense to turn face to Europe?
- There is no sense. Europe can't give Belarus what Russia gives - cheap oil and gas. It turns out, almost half of the income from foreign trade, Belarus gains from the export of petroleum products