Myasnikovich is lobbying Russian interests

Category status:
April 22, 2016 18:18

On the eve of President Lukashenko’s urgent visit to Sochi, Prime Minister Myasnikovich entered the Belarusian-Russian negotiations on Moscow’s side. Nevertheless, it was hardly the PM’s initiative: privatization and investment issues are entirely under the President’s control.

On September 14th, Prime Minister Myasnikovich said that in 2013, Belarus will give priority to Russian investors while implementing the National Investment Programme for at least USD 4.5 billion

Such a frank statement by Myasnikovich before Lukashenko’s visit to Sochi on 15 September,- a visit of great importance for the Belarusian economy - was yet another move in the complex Belarusian-Russian negotiations. It is highly unlikely that Myasnikovich did not agree his statement with the President in advance: otherwise he would be looking at near retirement. Myasnikovich’s statement allows Minsk to make promises without obligations, exercising “good faith”.

With the acute financial situation, and the final stages of the elections campaign in sight, President Lukashenko was forced to make a difficult decision in Russia’s favour. The situation is similar to the one before the elections in 2010, when he signed the agreements on the Common Economic Space.

It is likely that this time round, the decision will be to transfer control over the Belarusian Potash Company to the Russian company “Uralkali”. In particular, on September 13th, Belarusian state TV Channel broadcasted a show about privatization, with obsessive visuals from the “Belaruskali” mines. Also as a result of negotiations for a new potash trader “Soyuzkaly”, Russia will get to own the majority of stakes.

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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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