Petroleum goods prices raised
As of 21 July the retail prices for petroleum products have been raised. Prices have increased by 3%. The “Belneftekhim” reported that “the revision of prices for petroleum goods is linked to gradual price adjustment within the Customs Union”.
At the same time “Belneftekhim” noted that “the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
“the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
While maneuvering between social (price) stability, and improvement of the financial state of the largest exporters, the authorities have chosen the latter.
The promise of the President of 8 June regarding unchanged petroleum prices in the coming quarter lasted just over a month.
Indirectly it confirms the sill critical state of the Belarusian economy. Moreover, increasing petrol prices by a symbolic amount the authorities make an attempt to test the loyalty of the public reaction (drivers are one of the most active part of the population). By hard-suppressing and preventing any kind of protests (an action “Stop: petrol” took place on the day the petroleum prices were increased) the authorities are preparing the population for future increases in prices and tariffs, which will affect the wealth of the average Belarusian to a greater extent than the increase of petrol price by 3%.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.