Stabilization loan

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April 22, 2016 17:54

Last week the Finance Minister of Russia Alexei Kudrin said that Russia does not consider the allocation of a USD 1 billion loan from its budget and that Belarus could rely on the funds of the EEC Anti-Crisis Fund only ($ 1 billion in 2011-2013).

The Belarusian delegation departed for Moscow on 13 May to start technical arrangements for a loan agreement with the Eurasian Economic Community Crisis Fund for USD 1 billion. 

Comment 

What is behind this statement? On the one hand, it could be informational setting for Belarus on the eve of the visit of V. Putin. He can make a diametrically opposite statement and announce the speedy issue of the loan under certain conditions. In his statement Kudrin on behalf of Russia, for the first time voiced direct reference to the possibility and necessity of raising funds from privatization. There was no privatization in the country yet, because, again, the officials are simply afraid to go to the President with the price-offers made by investors. 

Regardless of the fact that there are fewer objects atrracting Russian investors with every passing year, there are strategic assets that will always be of interest to Russians (Energy, Engineering, potassium, some infrastructure companies). It is possible that Russia named the price for a few facilities of their interest - $ 2 billion. 

On the other hand, it could be a balanced strategic decision, which means that Russia is not going to throw money down the drain because of the lack of political will or crisis management skills of the current government. That is, Russia is consciously shifting from politics to economy and is not willing to pay for politics any longer (Belarus has already signed all the necessary documents). A possible demarche and withdrawal of Belarus from the integration projects with Russia, threatens Belarus with greater troubles. 

At the same time, even small loans like this one are vital for the country. But, there are no grounds to believe that the country will get this money before the end of May, as the Belarusian government hopes, given the conditions for granting the credit were not agreed upon. The Russian-Belarus relations will be clarified next week, during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Minsk.

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Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries entangle in confrontation spiral
October 02, 2017 11:57
Фото: RFRM

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.

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