Lukashenka to ask 5bn from Putin
15:20, — Politics
A new loan a a life or death question for the Belarusian ruler.
Lukashenka is expected to talk to Vladimir Putin before the meeting of the supreme state council of the “union state” scheduled for March 15 in St Petersburg.
The participants are to discuss “approaches to solve the acute issues of the Belarusian-Russian cooperation”. The agenda includes ten items relating to the budget of the “union state”, trade and economic relations and polics.
Minsk is supposed to ask a loan from 2 to 5 billion dollars from Russia. The latter sum was mentioned by Russian politologist Andrei Suzdaltsev in an interview with Voice of America.
Russian experts have different opinions on the importance of the meeting in St Petersburg. Aleksei Vlasov, the head of the Information and Analytical Centre for Study of Political Processes in the post-Soviet Area at Moscow State University, thinks it would be a “routine event” that would hardly bring any breakthrough decisions.
“The main emphasis will be laid on economic questions relating participation in the Eurasian integration project. They have a kind of a pause now, because main documents are being implemented, the road map is being fulfilled and the year 2013 seems to be devoted to routine work,” he said.
“Loan is a life or death question for Lukashenka”
Deputy dean of the faculty of world economy and international affairs at Higher School of Economics, Andrei Suzdaltsev, on the contrary, doesn't find the meeting routine.
“The situation in Belarus is complicated. The awkward situation with the load of Belarusian petrochemical industry remains. This is money. About 40% of the country's profit is reselling Russian crude oil and products of it. There's the second quarter, but Belarusians don't have a balance for the year,” he stressed.
Suzdaltsev noted that Lukashenka would visit St Petersburg to ask for money.
“He needs it urgently. The National Bank of Belarus spent huge volumes of foreign currency to keep the exchange rate. For what? To show Russia that Belarus is stable and can take loans. In real case, there is no stability. No changes have been made in economy since 2011,” he said.
As far as he knows, Lukashenka is going to ask more than 5 billion dollars from Moscow.
“On conditions that factually require Russia to forget about the money,” the politologist added. “A loan is a life or death question for Lukashenka now.”
If Russia doesn't grant a loan to Lukashenka, the Belarusian ruble will collapse in the nearest time, the deputy dean believes.
“It [the collapse] will happen sooner or later. The Belarusian ruble will finally be devalued. But Minsk wants to do it slowly. If no money received, it will be a shocking one-time slump,” Suzdaltsev said.
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