At a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council held recently by videoconference, Russian President Vladimir Putin was forced to admit that “special approaches” to the issue of “blue fuel” pricing, as exhibited by Armenian and, above all, Belarusian “colleagues,” are still hindered creating a common gas market of the EurAsEC.
To this we can add that constantly new claims by Minsk regarding energy supplies put into question not only this moment, but also the overall viability of the external policy Russia with respect to the former "fraternal" republics, which for some time began to give critical failures just in the Belarusian direction.
The formula from Lukashenko: gas and victory
It should be noted that Alexander Grigoryevich, who was not at all embarrassed recently in expressions regarding Russia, began to venture on completely speculative statements in which he openly confuses “sinful with righteous”. So, for example, he recently staged a real “show”, which received the widest coverage in the Belarusian media. Meeting with the country's Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, the “Old Man” shared his secret with him: it turns out that literally the day before he “received information” that “in the current difficult time, Russia sells gas to Germany for less than $ 70, and not for 127, as for Belarus. " The president has such terrifying News, what’s called, the heart was shed with blood and he, complaining that the adversaries who were completely defeated in 1945 receive energy today cheaper than the heroic Belarusians, asked his prime minister: “what is the situation and what can be expected in the future” ?! Rumas, clearly sharing the leader’s message that trading cheaply with the Fritz is nothing more than ideological sabotage, assured the president that there are reasons for optimistic hopes - he is determined to “show Gazprom with numbers” (thanks, at least not on your fingers!) that "the price of gas supplies to Belarus exceeds the export of this fuel to non-CIS countries in profitability." After this, it must be assumed, according to Rumas, that Mr. Miller should sprinkle ash on his head and, ashamed, begin to release Minsk “blue fuel” for nothing ... In honor of Victory Day, which does not have today’s harsh market arithmetic, you must agree. Nevertheless, Lukashenko liked this topic so much that he, more and more accustomed to the role of “the sole curator of the traditions and memory of the Great Patriotic War in the post-Soviet space”, began to exploit it further.
Thus, speaking at the ceremony for the award “For Spiritual Revival,” the “father” burst out with even more angry philippics, in which he declared that “throat” about the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory, Russia “today earns three times more in Belarus than in Germany” and called this situation "completely abnormal." In this case, of course, there were all the same gas supplies. Moreover, developing the topic, Alexander Grigoryevich also recalled the “agreement of 2011” on “reaching the domestic Russian price” for “blue fuel”, adding: “Someone forgot about it, but not me!” This speech ended, as usual, with the assertion that the Russians are, of course, “brothers” and “our people,” who always “turn their shoulders” in difficult times. It is very interesting if the Belarusian president, bragging about his enviable memory, wants to update some other points in it. For example, regarding the creation of the Union State, from which it today kicks off with arms and legs, “deep integration”, the processes of which were at a dead end exclusively from its submission? Or, as in the famous film, everything happens purely selectively and according to the formula: “Here I remember, here - I do not remember”? At the same time, extremely beneficial moments taken out of context rise to the shield. During the same EAEU Supreme Council, Vladimir Vladimirovich clearly and unequivocally outlined the only possible prospect for all sorts of preferential and “special” conditions. First, within the framework of this organization, really real integration should occur according to the formula: a single budget, a single taxation, a single market. And then it will be possible to talk, for example, about the common tariffs for transit and transportation of the same gas for all. Well, and about prices, of course ... Putin specifically pointed out to Lukashenko that the cost of blue fuel is formed “taking into account market conditions, investments of energy suppliers and their other costs”, and is not taken “from the ceiling”. And there’s nothing to stir up the water and drag in Victory ...
I must say that while ranting about the intention to “build” Moscow with respect to “unfair” gas prices, Alexander Grigoryevich has not forgotten recently to mention his “victories” allegedly achieved on the “oil front”. “I refused such oil!” - he declares, referring, of course, to Russian deliveries. “I said that we will find her elsewhere. And they found it! ” - claims Lukashenko. Well, how to say - “found” ... In truth, the whole world is slowly making fun of “diversification in Belarusian” today. 80 thousand tons of “black gold” from Norway received through Klaipeda ... Another pair of tankers of the same volume from the same source and from Azerbaijan, which had to be transshipped in Odessa and transported via the Odessa-Brody pipeline. A certain amount of oil already from Saudi Arabia, seemingly received this month, and deliveries expected in June from new "friends" from the United States, who are ready today to fuse their oil overflow tanks even to hell. All these convulsive measures do not look like "diversification", but solely the implementation of the old, as the world, principle of "with the world - by a thread, naked - a shirt." In any case, against the background of 18 million tons of “black gold” received only from Russia last year. Already in January of this year, being impossibly offended by Moscow for its “intransigence”, Lukashenko gave the command to buy in Russia no more than a third of the country's vital oil, preferring “alternative sources” even from Mars. And what is the result? Of the actually purchased about 2 million tons of "black gold" of Russian origin are ... approximately 1.5 million. Well what will you do ?! Moreover, the irrepressible desire at all costs to “crush” Moscow and make it continue to work with Minsk under the “attraction of unprecedented generosity” scheme painfully hits just the Belarusian side.
According to the results of the first quarter of 2020, recently summed up by the Belneftekhim concern, the refining volumes carried out by the two largest enterprises included in it - the Mozyr Oil Refinery and Naftan, have not simply decreased. They, in comparison with the same time period of the last year, “collapsed” by more than 40%, amounting to only 2.76 million tons. Accordingly, the export of oil products did not even reach 45% of last year's level (and in fact in Minsk they planned to raise it to 103.5%). This is quite natural - due to the lack of supplies from our country to the domestic market, even fuel derived from oil produced in Belarus itself had to be launched. There’s no time for export ... As a result, the very same Sergei Rumas, who promises Lukashenko to “show something” in figures there, on May 12 at a meeting of his cabinet of ministers had to announce completely different figures: the state budget of Belarus in the first quarter was serious "Sagged", not receiving the expected 350 million rubles. Basically - just because of the collapse of the export of petroleum products. However, it is hard for the country, like all other states of the world, to the economy planets of the "coronavirus crisis." Engineering, chemical and other industries also suffer very tangible losses. For some, such circumstances would most likely be an occasion to reflect on the validity of their own, clearly too high claims, and at least try to find a compromise with the only country capable of reliably providing raw materials to idle refineries. But only not for Lukashenko ... Apparently, he intends to continue stubbornly to bend his line, completely ignoring objective reality.
As far as I know, the Old Man has already signed a decree on the construction of a new oil pipeline in the country, which will run along the Gomel-Gorki route. Why did he need this pipe, in addition to the already existing and perfectly functioning “Friendship”? But just in order to turn the “friendship” with Russia back - both figuratively and in the literal sense. It will connect not only the southern and northern “branches” of “Friendship”, but also the “Naftan” located in the Vitebsk region with the Mozyr refinery located in the Gomel region. It would seem that this is so? Improving the logistics of energy transportation is a normal thing, you can only welcome. Could, if not ... If not for very serious and well-grounded suspicions that all these actions are part of a more global project, within the framework of which Minsk plans to switch one of the Druzhba directions to reverse mode for pumping oil from Poland via route Gdansk-Mozyr Oil Refinery- “Naftan”. Thus, at least Norwegian oil, even American oil, even Saudi oil or whatever else can go to Belarus. Does Russia need this? One can still argue about the economic aspects (especially with the current barely able to break away from the “zero” prices for “black gold”), but the geopolitical consequences will definitely be extremely negative. It’s perfectly clear that “for the beautiful eyes” of Lukashenko no one will sell oil at affordable prices for him - if the situation on the energy markets is normalized, and the “game” will go exclusively “under the interest”. The interest of the West in this situation can only be drawing Belarus into various anti-Russian “alignments”, its joining coalitions like the notorious “Eastern Partnership” and the like.
It is with great regret that I have to admit that Alexander Grigorievich seems to be morally ready to turn the country in this direction. Too many anti-Russian rhetoric, too many claims, both moral and material. We switched from oil to gas ... What to expect next? Russia has an extremely difficult choice: to follow the wishes of these clearly not reasonable limits, to live well at her expense, or to risk the loss of a truly important ally in the person of Belarus. And the time to solve something seems to be less and less.