No concessions from Minsk in the ‘dairy war’
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev supported Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s initiative to launch an anti-dumping examination against Belarus on the dairy market.
In a way, it was the Kremlin’s reaction to the delayed privatisation of large Belarusian assets for the Russian capital’s benefit by President Lukahenko. Amid falling exports of industrial products, Belarus’ dairy exports to Russia grew in 2013 and made up a substantial part of the state budget revenues. If a ‘dairy war’ unfolds, Belarus will not yield to the pressure from Russia, because Lukashenko counts on President Vladimir Putin’s support within the Eurasian integration project.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.