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Politics and News from Belarus - Charter'97



Dictator’s bankruptcy
13:18, 02/08/2007

Minsk , capital of Belarus ,is not likely to have realized that joking with Russia is not safe .But be they may well understand that the two states are at the brink of the so called “gas war”. This week the Gazprom is to partially block the gas flow the Die Tageszeitung’s journalist Barbara Oertel writes in her news story.

However, unlike at the beginning of the year the dispute is not about the price hike but about the USD 500million debt which was not timely repaid by Minsk to Russia. Simultaneously the Belarusian government wanted to make a borrowing from the Kremlin, by the way, for repaying the above-mentioned debt-this is the way the creative post-soviet bookkeeping works.
It becomes clear again to which extent Lukashenka depends on Russia. The symbolic energy prices of the previous years were a sort of authoritarian Lukashenka’s survival guarantees. They allowed him to keep the population in check- by means of social programs and regular, though not considerable, payments of pensions and salaries.
However in an along-term perspective this course is impossible to restore and the moment when Lukashenka will find himself in a predicament is not far .And economic reforms may become the only chance for avoiding such route of development. But for the current regime such task is problematic. The belated liberalization of Belarus may give the impetus to the processes beyond the regime’s control and Lukashenka’s dictatorship will be doomed to failure.
A similar scenario is completely beneficial for Moscow. The obstinate Lukashenka has already been written off the Russian account. The Russian authorities may start patient waiting as, according to the periodical, it is evident today: Lukashenka’s successor issue is to be decided in Moscow.

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