Belarus’ mechanical engineering production continues to fall
According to the National Statistics Committee, in April 2014 manufacturers of vehicles, machines and equipment reduced their production volume by more than 20 %, compared to April 2013.
Such a decrease is evidencing that crisis is building-up at Belarus’ largest machine-building enterprises. Engineering enterprises require additional government loans. In addition, stocks at the machine-building enterprises are expected to grow in order to keep up with the planned production volumes, as well as state programmes will be expanded to sell machinery equipment at a discount. The implemented measures will hardly save workers from mass lay-offs and shorter working week. Until enterprises receive financial assistance, they will experience problems with settlements with their counterparties, so as the industry is loss making.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.