Socially oriented Gazprom as a positive image of a Russian investor in Belarus
Results of the Miller’s meeting in Kobrin at JSC “Beltransgaz” and a number of social events during the visit may indicate the intention to create a positive image for Russian investments in Belarus for their further facilitation.
On August 23rd, 2012 Gazprom Head, Mr. Miller visited Kobrin where he held a meeting about the strategic development of the gas-transport system in Belarus.
In early December 2011, when the sale of Beltransgaz shares was completed, Putin met with Miller, as a result, a statement was issued about tripling the Beltransgaz employees’ salaries. At that time, their wages were less than USD 300. On August 23rd Director General of Beltransgaz, Vladimir Mayorov, made a statement that the average wage at Beltransgaz by the end of 2012 was projected at RUB 31.2 thousand, or BYR 8.174 million. On the same day, a new apartment block, built for the Beltransgaz employees was officially commissioned. Price per square meter is about USD 540. Gazprom provided financial support for the construction, issuing loans to the employees.
These actions aim at fulfilling the following tasks:
1. To create company’s positive image in the eyes of the population. Belarusians, as well as nationals of other counties received a sensible economic signal: if we were the owners, your income would grow. Bearing in mind Russian efforts to acquire the Ukrainian GTS, it is also a signal to employees of Ukrainian enterprises. These actions help to reduce protest moods and simplify the takeover process of an enterprise.
2. To create an image of an ideal investor. The company fulfills its obligations not only in terms of increasing employees’ incomes, but also investing in the expansion and modernization of the existing enterprises. Expansion of export potential is linked to the increased payments to the state budget. A large taxpayer is a dream of any official in Belarus.
3. To end prejudice against investments from Russia. A large company, one of the leading in Russia is not trying to win favorable conditions for itself, while fulfills its obligations without making counterclaims. This image could also be translated to other Russian companies, increasing confidence in other investors from this country.
4. To train highly skilled labor force. The average salary at Beltransgaz will be twice as high as average wages in the country. This would preserve the human resources, and the most valuable employees could later be shifted to work in Russia. Such company is not likely to face a personnel shortage.
In the coming years Belarus will need major direct investments. Russian companies are one of the major potential investors. They are interested in taking part in a large-scale privatization of the petrochemical enterprises and in engineering. Gazprom actions reduce the potential discontent with one-way investment and at the low cost facilitate the subsequent purchases of large state assets in Belarus.