Foreign investments in the Minsk region
In the first quarter of 2011 the Minsk region attracted $ 20 million in foreign direct investment, said the Chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee Boris Batura during his press conference held on 13 May.
He noted that the primary goal was to attract $ 1 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2011. “All the calculations and 250 investment agreements, including more than 50 FDI agreements, make us believe that we will cope with this task”, said the Head of the Minsk region.
Optimism of the “governor” is questionable. Indeed, during April the volume of the FDI increased by about $ 13 million, which is almost double of the amount of the FDI attracted in January-February ($ 6.8 million). Nevertheless, the $ 20 million attracted in the first quarter is only 2% of the amount planned for the year. The Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee for Economy Alexander Ermak assessed the situation more realistically at a field meeting, held in late April in Dzerzhinsk, “Reserves are a significant however our inefficiency and sometimes reluctance to draft high quality proposals for investors brings no results. If this work is not improved, the foreign investment in the region will remain a distant prospect”.
“Reserves are a significant however our inefficiency and sometimes reluctance to draft high quality proposals for investors brings no results. If this work is not improved, the foreign investment in the region will remain a distant prospect”.
Among the projects already underway in the Minsk region is the construction of a logistics center with the participation of the Lithuanian capital in Rakov, and the logistics center “Prilesje” near the National airport “Minsk-2” with the involvement of the Iranian capital. Also, the JSC “Amkodor” attracts large amounts of foreign investment in Zhodino Molodechno and Dzerzhinsk, according to Batura.
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.