Consumer prices grow slowly and inevitably
In order to eliminate the disparity in food prices between Russia and Belarus, the government is planning to raise prices by 5-10% every month. Mass-scale devaluation in terms of open borders within the Customs Union resulted in decreasing real incomes and also in vanishing of goods from shelves.
The Ministry of Economy has increased the price of natural gas and heating tariffs by 10% for some categories of consumers (hospitals, kindergartens, etc.) that pay for energy at the same rate as the population.
Selling prices for a number of socially important goods: bread, bread, milk, yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese, etc have been increased by 5%.
In order to eliminate the disparity in food prices between Russia and Belarus, the government is planning to raise prices by 5-10% every month. However in the current circumstances it could result in higher inflation and money growth. Therefore, the large-scale devaluation in terms of open borders within the Customs Union resulted in decreasing real incomes and also in vanishing of goods from the shelves. Belarus has no solutions how to fight against the mass-scale export of goods to Russia bearing open borders in mind.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.