VAZ refused Borisov generators, Minsk region
Workers of the Borisov Plant of Automotive Electrical Equipment (JSC “BATE”) say, the Volga Automobile Plant (AvtoVAZ) refused delivery of a large batch of automobile generators manufactured in Borisov, quoting their unsatisfactory quality.
A delegation of BATE experts was sent to Toliatti however failed to overturn the decision.
This was not the first industrial dispute of the kind. Traditionally, Borisov plant is one of the largest suppliers of starters and generators to the assembly line of VAZ. The Russian auto giant aims to have several suppliers of components and mounts to avoid price dictates and deterioration of quality and to encourage competition among suppliers.
The delivery refusal of generators from Borisov could seriously impair the financial and economic situation at the BATE, particularly during the foreign currency crisis in Belarus.
This Borisov company is one of the largest in the city (3.5 thousand employees), it managed to stay afloat largely because of the secondary market. Given the lifetime of starters and generators manufactured at the Borisov BATE was usually less than the lifetime of a car, there was a steady demand for these products from the owners of old cars from Russia and other CIS countries. Therefore, the affordable price of Borisov starters and generators, and perhaps surprisingly, their relatively poor quality, contribute to their sales at the secondary market. Nevertheless, a temporary moratorium of the AvtoVAZ, the main consumer of the BATE products, on the deliveries of generators, indeed, severely damages the image of the Belarusian enterprise.
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.