Belarus increasing oil transit tariffs may lead to lower revenues from pipelines

October 10, 2016 11:06

According to the Antimonopoly Ministry’s regulation No 30 of September 28, 2016, as of October 8th, 2016, Belarus increased oil transit tariffs by 50%. Such tariffs are regulated by intergovernmental agreements. Belarus has increased the tariffs not so much due to the devaluation but due to the need to step up her positions in oil and gas talks with Russia. Belarus may revoke the increase if a compromise with Russia is achieved. Meanwhile, Russia may partially redirect oil transit through own ports in the coming years, which means that pipelines’ revenues would shrink and the pressure on Belarus would increase in terms of exporting Belarusian oil products through Russian ports. If Belarus manages to preserve high tariffs until 2016, her additional revenues could total USD 20 million. That said, Kazakhstan and some Russian mining companies might stop transporting oil through Belarus, which, in turn, could lead to proceeds falling by at least USD 50 million a year.

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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.