If one will attempt to prove the saying “Politics is a continuation of economics and economics is the basis of politics”, then current relations between Russian and Ukraine can serve as the best proof of such expression.
Various problems concerning Russian gas supplies to the neighboring Republic and perplexity around the issue of Beltransgas have all eventually caused Alexander Lukashenko to make a rather sensational statement.
According to the newspaper “Vremya Novostei” [Time for News], President of the Republic of Belarus has threatened to break up all business ties between the two countries. “Kasyanov has mentioned canceling some clause [in the agreement]. If they intend to cancel the agreement, Belarus will also have to annul its contracts. Neither we nor Russia needs any of this,” declared Lukashenko.
The problem of Beltransgas has been poisoning relations between Moscow and Minsk for quite a long time. In June of last year, for instance, an important deal has been called off. Beltransgas (Ukrainian company) intended to sell 49% of its shares to Russian Gazprom.
The reason appears to be rather prosaic: both parties could not agree on the price. Back then, the Belarusian President has made a harsh remark. “Swindlers will not have our property for nothing. If you do not have any money, then stop begging for things in the first place.” It isn’t hard to guess who exactly Lukashenko meant in his address.
Interestingly, Gazprom completely disregarded such claim of the Belarusian president. At the same time, there is less hope that the parties will ever be able to reach an agreement.
In summer, Minsk has asked $4 billion for Beltransgas shares. Today, the price has already increased by $1 billion. According to Alexander Lukashenko, the shares have been priced by International auditors. “We are not that wealthy to throw around such sums of money. I cannot simply sell our national possession to another country based on today's economic conditions. I cannot commit such crime against my people,” declared Lukashenko.
In the meantime, scandals around Beltransgas and gas supplies to Belarus endanger future political perspectives of the Russia-Belarus union. Perhaps, one of the Russian political scientists was right in claiming that “Lukashenko and Putin are both politicians of different styles. Putin is a politician- bureaucrat, who strictly adheres to his personal principles and applies his logical thinking before every move. Lukashenko is a charismatic politician. He will have tough times getting used to the new 'adult' period of Russian-Belarus relations.” Such remark has been said about two years ago. But little has changed since then.