Reduction in railway tariffs by Russian Railways will not affect short-term logistics of petroleum products
As of October 19th, 2016, Russian Railways introduced a 25% discount on the transit of oil from Barbarov and Navapolatsk to the ports in the north-west of Russia until December 31st, 2018. The discount would increase competition for Belarusian freights and reduce the flow of goods to the Baltic ports. In response, Lithuanian and Latvian railways are likely to offer discounts too. Russian companies may redirect part of their flows, however, a complete reorientation of oil cargo to the ports of Russia is unlikely. In the short-term, Belarusian oil products are likely to be shipped via the Baltic ports. The shipment via Russian ports requires building of supply chains and solving all the issues of shipping and cargo handling in the Russian ports.
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.