Economist: Lukashenka cost Moscow too expensive

The current dispute between Moscow and Minsk hydrocarbons is fundamentally different from the previous one.

In the framework of the current Belarusian economic model cannot resolve the existing problems and imbalances. Moreover, exacerbate the problems created over the last decade, in addition to the Soviet heritage enterprises-“zombie” companies-“white elephants”, the high-profile projects that require endless support, said tut.by independent analyst Syarhei Chaly.

Good news. But to withdraw allowances

To start a conversation is always nice with the good news. There is a version that because of political events in Russia, the change of government, from Belarus behind, the option of incorporation was dropped.

— I think the problem of incorporation and was not so, — said Sergei Chaly. — However, there is a feeling that we Moscow is very expensive. To say that all was well, once this option is missing, not quite right. More importantly, Russia is over a very long period. As told Gorchakov that “Russia is concentrating” (famous phrase of foreign Ministers of the Russian Empire in the years 1856-1882 Alexander Gorchakov: “Russia is reproached for the fact that it is isolated and silent in the face of such facts which do not harmonize neither with the law nor with justice. They say that Russia is angry. Russia is not angry, Russia is concentrating”), they was a period of regime besieged fortress, when they realized that sanctions are not when “they beat us, we grow stronger” and “do not tell Iskander”. Sanctions are hurting economically, it’s a big risk for the ruble.

In the end, the country has accumulated reserves, a budget surplus, it was intended to minimize the possibility of external threats.

— However, the income of the population thus stagnated in 2012. That is, the population of that little battered — and the abundance of the social sphere in the last message of Putin — is the signal that would be nice, and to think about the people. Russia goes into another mode. Saving is not so important for the government.

Here, said Sergei Chaly, revealing not a figure of the Prime Minister mishustina, and the person of first Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov — typical of a Keynesian, a supporter of lower interest rates, increased budget spending, implementation of national projects. This is a symbolic step, the analyst believes.

— In the framework of this new format of Crimea and similar steps has caused no rise, and the irritation. Every time to pay such a high price for the area — wrong. It gives us a break. But to withdraw allowances. Although attacks on sovereignty will not. In General, we give a signal to live in the “as is”, — the expert believes.


Photo: Reuters

The oil dispute, the era of

Analysts believe that the current dispute of Belarus and Russia on hydrocarbons — is fundamentally different from the previous one, which was a lot. Alexander Lukashenko also understands is the end of an era, like that of Russia, we have not too interesting.

— Previously, Belarus has never set goals to reduce the share of Russia in oil deliveries to 30-40%. It is clear that it is not real as our plans for export diversification in the volume of third-third-third. Always trade more neighbours — especially if we are talking about oil. Experts say that there is no need to reduce to 30% the share of Russia, especially since we have a significant piece of equipment purchased under a “heavy” Russian oil, — the expert argues.

He believes that Belarus needs, for example, quarterly stock that we could survive another “business dispute”.

Seriously Russia to go on oil will not work. Oil is needed, the options to stop NPZ — bad, “Naftan” provides the raw material all the chemicals, and at the Mozyr oil refinery is easier to establish alternative supplies, and the Russian owner may care to download it at least a raw material, as has been done before — said Sergei Chaly. — There is another problem: when the supply of oil at world prices, the question arises about what will happen to our petrochemicals. If you sell at a realistic price, manufacturers of chemical fibers will be unprofitable.

— Well, if you buy the world and sell it — below, then losing becomes the “Naftan”. And his profit was modest (in 2018, the company has reduced net profit in 2,3 times to 4.6 million rubles).

— Yes, with a serious alternative volumes of oil, this question arises necessarily.

Crisis, searchlights, state support, state support, state support

Special attention to Sergei Chaly drew on two recent trips of the President, in Shklov and Vitebsk oblast.

— Lukashenko for the first time begins to talk about that “us tilt” and “we won Germany, and you can sell it better than us” and that we’re going to do when the present order will become the new normality. He has a favorite technique, which in “Our Russia” called “who did it?”. Each time his criticism is addressed to someone, all the blame, but not me. Indeed, there is no war, money in bulk in the world, interest rates even negative, and we have a crisis! Who is to blame? — ironically expert.

“Indeed, there is no war, money in bulk in the world, interest rates even negative, and we have a crisis! Who is to blame?”

He stressed that in Belarus, as in Russia, ended a large economic cycle, leaving a whole era.

My generation was lucky to see from start to finish all the development of our unique economic and political model. This is the story, how is economic growth, taken over as the “Asian tigers” — with faster investment, a large norm of domestic savings, a large proportion of the reallocation, priorities, projects. All some time works, and then comes the hangover of a long stagnation. And we come to this.

According to the expert, it was evident from the meetings on investment projects, where Lukashenko said that we are the lads, we built. And you only have to ask someone why what we built is not working as I would like. For example, the Czech Embassy to ask for a Czech supplier of equipment, some of which turned out to be wrong.


Photo: Olga Shukailo, TUT.BY

Chaly recalled that on the Shklov paper project mentioned in the official news of the last decade. First, the improvement in 2010 was that, it seems that this year will be the first time the whole industry will work with profit.

But since 2011, starting with the gigantic, and in many industries, not only in the woodworking and pulp and paper industry, it is clear that organic growth phase just 2010 year ends. And just the idea of modernization appeared — perhaps in the background of dizzy with success. Let’s have something to construct, importozameschenie… I looked at the construction of Shklov newsprint plant. 2008-the year of the running! 2010 is a year leaves on designed capacity and breakeven! Everything is fine. Replaced domestic demand for newsprint. It would seem that it is time to calm down on this. But we on the horizon — the modernization of woodworking, and decided to produce MDF, they need a base paper for these materials…

This production will be put into operation by the end of 2013, which fails in 2014, only start installation of equipment. By the way, the expert said, even in 2011 Lukashenka warns of the need to carefully consider the choice of supplier of equipment for a serious amount of 70 million euros. The payback period is stated in just 4-5 years.

But then the project hangs — raportuya about commissioning, then run in test mode with careful instructions, some equipment requires replacement (and transferred a lot of equipment).

— The 2013-2014 year — the enterprise is in losses. And of, course, the external environment — the price fell. The timing of the issue already relegated for the first quarter of 2017 and then begins: state support, state support, state support. Last time at the end of last year. The period in which it is necessary to start production of base paper for decorative coating materials with a capacity of 30 thousand tons in the year 2023.

Is the result of our megalomania with an emphasis in import substitution — money disbursed, but the project requires constant new investment, it needs government support, you need raw materials, and with it too not all is smooth. We kept saying that 60-65% should be on export talk. It’s some kind of magic number — as 83% in the elections…

Right “Golden section” of the Belarusian economy.

— Yes, the Fibonacci number — ironically Chaly, noting that as a result of economies of scale is not obtained, the cost does not add up, to attain the planned volume of export of difficult because we still do bring down prices by throwing on the market large amounts of products, for example, cement.

Sergei Chaly emphasizes that the organic development of the economy of Belarus ended in 2010.

— The essence of this political-economic cycle — a super-idea, to show that can exist whether socialism with a capitalist face, or capitalism with a socialist. Supposedly, they pocket your work, and we — for the benefit of the country. But in the end with this idea begins the story of failure. Even successful enterprises to “hang” the junk shop, creating problems. As a result, foreign manufacturers, investors, are not example, and villains, spoil us a picture.


Photo: the newsprint Plant in Shklov

The expert cites the example of Lukashenka’s statements in the Shklov district:

— Some “Kronospan” (Kronospan is an international company that produces wood boards and laminate flooring, has several productions in Belarus — Ed.) its policy is carried out and dictate! Forget sternly said Lukashenko.

“As a result, foreign manufacturers, investors, are not example, and villains, spoil the picture.”

Chaly noted that Lukashenko had failed to find a success story and butter factory (it claims to have a nearby private producer of “Danone Shklov”), and flax. It is reported that Lukashenka “in total, spent about ten minutes but that was enough time to remind the leadership of the company on the previous assignments and to announce new ones”. Special attention Alexander Lukashenko asked to pay for raw materials. In his opinion, if the plant is unable to cope with a long flax fiber, it should give other companies in the country, such as Orsha linen mill.

But the question arises — and it shklovskoe the company then why? — the expert is perplexed. In the end all vanity projects are problematic. The question arises — what is the memory I’ll leave, I’ve created a production! So it is necessary to understand why this does not work, profit does not receive.

Zombies, elephants, debts

In the end, the cycle is completed, the finished history of “frills”, which was to provide Belarus growth, but were not needed to the market.

— Before the speech was about what enterprise-zombies — is mostly Soviet enterprises, which were built in another time, they were not evaluated from the point of view of profitability. Needed the shaft at any price, and they did provide. Question of microeconomic efficiency was not. But in this decade not only tried to clean up previous debris, and set up new businesses-zombies, “white elephants”. Classic example: in India, when the Emperor sent you to the province of the beloved white elephant, this should be seen as a mercy, good elephant so costly that the province was bankrupt. And we will “white elephants” set it, and now the Vitebsk region must somehow 3 billion back. By the way do not really understand from whom they take. You can remove them from their balance, as they said, to conduct a “technical clearance”. Sounded the same as the regional budget to answer for it should not. The Republican party either. And who will pay? Maybe quitrent or tribute of the people to impose?

We are talking about the fact that someone is profitable for the sale of products — continues to Sergei Chaly. — A financial result of bad — debt burden, they need to put out. But, of course, if the debts are not paid, then everything works and is profitable. And since almost everything is built with wood, cement! With the same the Vitebsk region, where everything works well, if not debt. But they can be removed from the balance sheet.

— Sorry, so individuals impossible — to remove debt from the balance sheet!

— That’s it. And it would be good! All are fit, if not for mortgage, a car loan on! But it is obvious that it does not jibe debt to someone for these upgrades, optimization and megalomania to pay.

What is the force? In handcuffs!

In the end, the problem is obvious, and the blame for everything, from Russia, began a tax maneuver in spite of us, to lazy workers on the ground. And what you propose to do?

— Recipe traditional, businesses merge, all to get to work. And to pay for it. Or not. This is similar to the idea of collectivization in the 20s of the last century. In Vitebsk region there was the classic manipulation is all well and good, each in his place must conscientiously carry out its work. What is it about? That structural changes are not needed. Everything is lined up fine, just each element should do and everything will work. Will not change and they are not needed. It’s like the analogy of a concentration camp: you don’t like how you live? You just need everyone in the workplace work well! But the question is not how much effort you exert, and that the system is built so that the reward for your efforts you receive. And you’re doing something that is not necessary — argues Sergei Chaly.


Photo: Olga Shukailo, TUT.BY

He recalled that earlier Lukashenko talked a lot about justice. Like, you need to be fair to people, and that he can provide.

This time around a very long speech offer from Lukashenka’s one thing I know how to make it work. And how to make? Putting handcuffs on the table! Six months ago, to the question, “in what force, brother,” the answer was justice. Today the correct answer is cuffs. The power is in the force.

— Power is fine. But it is possible, even by force, to make the Vitebsk region to get the money back?

— Where?! Well, let the people’s IPO are held, skins. But the clearing balances will only one will give you the opportunity to take new loans. The main task will be — as quickly as possible to get as a lot of debt…

“Six months ago, to the question, “in what force, brother,” the answer was justice. Today the correct answer is the handcuffs.”

We witnessed the full cycle — from inception of the model prior to its prosperity and decay, concludes the analyst.

— Our current stage…

— Already rotting. Yes. Physically burning, decay, decay is one process, the oxidation. There is no problem to understand how to do something and improve something. Task — to stretch the end of the maximum period. This is a favorite Russian metaphor — freeze process to slow down.