Policy briefs

Tue, 2007-01-09 20:39
The last three months in Belarus were characterized by the two dominant trends. On one hand Alexander Lukashenka appears to be desperately seeking new allies abroad, which could bring Belarus closer towards Europe. On the other hand the repressive course of domestic policy has continued or even further increased. The suggested re-thinking of the geopolitical orientation of Belarus - as expected - has not been accompanied by the political liberalization within the country. Meanwhile, substantial changes on the political map of the democratic opposition seem inevitable.
Tue, 2007-01-09 16:13
Deliveries of Russian oil via Belarus to points West suffered several brief interruptions during January 5 through 8, causing a slight decrease in the volumes scheduled for delivery to Poland and Germany. The problem has arisen following Minsk’s introduction of a transit charge for Russian oil through Belarusian pipelines, as a compensatory response to Moscow’s introduction of customs duties on oil supplies to Belarus (see EDM, January 8).

Confusion prevails regarding the responsibility for these delivery interruptions. On January 8, European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and the relevant ministries in the Polish and German governments issued statements noting a deficit of information from the Russian and the Belarus sides. The statements call on both sides to provide detailed and prompt information and abide by their commercial commitments regarding oil supply and transit, respectively.
Sun, 2006-11-05 21:02

Gazprom’s threat to quadruple the price of gas to Belarus after December 31 to $200 per 1,000 cubic meters was meant to force Minsk into ceding 50% ownership of the state gas transport company Beltransgas to Gazprom. However, the threat seems to have the opposite effect thus far. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is publicly expressing an anger bordering on defiance, and the Economics Ministry is ruling out selling any share in Beltransgas to Gazprom unless the price of Russian gas is what Minsk officials describe as a “normal price”

Sun, 2006-10-29 20:18

As local government elections are approaching, the current political development of Belarus may bring some surprising elements. First and foremost, the European Union current policy – tough on the regime and supporting civil society and independent media - seems collapsing due to the negative stand of the new member states reinforced by Italy on the suspension of trade benefits for Belarus under the GSP. This will leave the EU without any leverage on Belarus – when its strongman Lukashenka is actually disputing with Russia and preparing to occupy the role of the Belarusian national hero.