Lower gas prices for Belarus will strengthen Russian rouble influence in Belarus
According to preliminary information, Russian natural gas price might change for Belarus from USD 132 per 1 cubic metre to USD 100 per cubic metre and payment would be due in Russian roubles. Belarus has stopped paying for natural gas deliveries due to her disagreement with the price for gas and the dollar component of the gas transit through Russia, which did not depend on the current prices for hydrocarbons. Belarus’ current overdue payments for gas make USD 300 million. In the near future, this issue is likely to be resolved and oil supplies to Belarus are likely to resume in full. However, Belarus is likely to become more dependent on Russian rouble exchange rate fluctuations against foreign currencies, as she makes payments in Russian roubles. After the new gas price is agreed, energy prices for industrial enterprises are likely to be revised too in order to reduce costs of energy-intensive industries.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.