Ordinary Belarusians have a good attitude to Russia, but negatively to unification
Alexander Lukashenko not only made a cool mess in Belarus, but draws Russia into the crisis that has erupted in his country’s power and society. The cost of the negotiations, which were conducted all last week by the prime ministers, foreign ministers, ministers of the sectoral ministries, as well as the expected meeting of the presidents of the two countries, the head of the Minsk analytical center “Strategy” Leonid Zaika considers “the creation of a new Union State”. Since the former did not work in full measure and caused a lot of criticism from the same Alexander Grigorievich, then, according to the expert, “The Kremlin most likely offered to renew the union of the two states in order to preserve it, and in exchange, Lukashenka promised to resume oil supplies that Russia had previously limited, and at prices that suit Minsk. ”
“Belarus needs 7 million tons of oil per year. And it received for many years 22 million tons. What was not consumed in Belarus itself, after being processed at two oil refineries (refineries), was exported abroad, including to Ukraine. The profit was received by Russian and Belarusian companies and officials. When a couple of years ago, Moscow reduced oil supplies to Belarus to the limits necessary for this country, disputes began between Minsk and Moscow, leading to an obvious divorce of the two union states. Then Michael Pompeo appeared, who offered Belarus oil at a reasonable price, ”Leonid Zaiko commented on the situation to NG. In Belarus, on this basis, a crisis erupted, which was aggravated by a pandemic, the expert continued. “Lukashenka, who argued that there was no coronavirus, while more and more coffins were coming to the morgues, angered the Belarusians. And then the elections overlapped. And the country decided: “I’m sick of it.” But Lukashenko turned to Russia. And Belarusians treat the Russian Federation well. However, the Kremlin may make a mistake by deciding to restore the Union State on a new basis. As soon as he does this, he will receive the Union State, but without the Belarusians. That is, it will lose Belarus – the only country whose inhabitants really love Russia. In Russia, Putin may have a rival – Lukashenko, whom many Russians still sympathize with, ”said Leonid Zaika.
Former presidential candidate of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya remarked after the meeting of the head of the Russian government Mikhail Mishustin with Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk that “sovereignty is not a subject of bargaining.”
“Sovereignty cannot be negotiated or bargained for. I doubt that any decisions and agreements that Lukashenka may sign will be recognized by the new government. The reason for this is known: the people refused to trust Lukashenka, ”Tikhanovskaya said.
Expert Leonid Zaiko told NG that Tikhanovskaya does not play a significant role in the country’s political life, since “being able to fry cutlets does not mean being able to run the state”. But at the same time he agreed with her opinion on the subject of a possible bargaining between Russia and Belarus.
As for oil, according to news agencies from both countries, Russian oil companies have entered into negotiations with Belneftekhim on the terms of oil supply in 2021 and confirm the invariability of the pricing formula.
The BelTA agency reports that Russia supplies oil to the republic within the indicative balances, and for 2020 and the next years, the supply of 24 million tons of oil is envisaged.
“Although the volume of supplies is somewhat lower, taking into account the processing needs of Belarus. As for prices, they are again formed on the basis of commercial agreements between Russian oil companies and Belneftekhim. They have already entered into contract negotiations for 2021. I know that the negotiations are very constructive. Our companies confirm the level of prices that are valid in the current year. The price, of course, is formed on the basis of the market price conjuncture, taking into account the export duty, which is not paid. It means that the pricing formula remains unchanged, ”said Alexander Novak, head of the RF Ministry of Energy.
“Belarus has again sat down on the oil needle,” Leonid Zaiko said in this regard. And he added that now measures should be followed to revive the Union State.
This topic was discussed in Minsk by Mikhail Mishustin. He noted that at the meeting with Lukashenka they spoke “including on the issue … of the Union State, which will be based on the absolutely independent position of our states, but with appropriate economic measures that we agreed on.”
The Prime Minister of the Russian Federation specified that the above-mentioned measures are designed to remove unnecessary barriers both in trade and in cultural interaction between the two countries.
Let us remind you that Russian-Belarusian relations have the character of union cooperation: on December 8, 1999, the parties signed the Treaty on the Creation of the Union State – a supranational entity with a unified political, economic, military, customs and other spaces being gradually organized.
But twenty years have passed and a lot has changed, including in the intentions of the Belarusian society. Today it would like to maintain good relations with Russia – without borders, but the supranational structures of Belarusians are already frightening, they want Belarus not to lose its sovereignty. Moreover, even in a generally prosperous European Union, it turned out that the member countries have ceded part of their sovereignty to the new formation, and today many do not agree with this. Belarusians take this experience into account. And they have a negative attitude towards the deepened Union State. Moreover, earlier Lukashenka himself explained to them what was behind this new term. Naturally, the explanations were not in Russia’s favor. And although now Lukashenka repeats that he always considered Russians to be brothers, what was said earlier cannot be thrown out of the context of bilateral relations.
Of course, the main thing will happen at the meeting between Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. They promise to meet soon. After it, it will become clear what the Kremlin really wants in exchange for oil, trade and other preferences for the brotherly country. He cannot let Belarus float freely, like Ukraine, as he risks exposing our western border and posing a threat to Russia’s security. However, any bargaining involves the interests of two parties. And he becomes especially delicate when he is closely watched by the population. If his reaction to the decisions of politicians turns out to be negative, the agreements at the highest level may remain just agreements, which there will be no one to implement.