Belarusian-Russian food confrontation has not passed acute phase
As of August 13th, 2016, Rosselkhoznadzor temporarily restricted imports from JSC "Bellakt", JSC "Rogachev Milk Canning Plant" and PUP "Kalinkovichi Dairy Plant" for "numerous violations" of Russian and EEU veterinary and phytosanitary requirements. Russia’s frequent complaints about the quality of Belarusian foodstuffs have objective and subjective reasons. On the one hand, low profitability of Belarusian exporters and agricultural production as a whole due to reduced state support and requirements to cut costs by one-fourth, have prompted dairy companies to "optimize" their mass production, including through using cheap raw materials, violating technology and recipes. On the other hand, the Russian authorities have toughened competition for Belarusian exporters on the Russian market, so as sanctions have encouraged Russia to support own agricultural production. Finally, Russia is using administrative means to restrict Belarusian exports in order to put pressure on Belarus in military-technical cooperation, foreign policy manoeuvres and to prompt her to comply with the food embargo.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.