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M. Delyagin: "Gas war" with Belarussia can ruin Russia

Anna Kolchak 16.04.2006

- On the eve of the 10th anniversary of creation of the Allied state of Belarus and Russia "Gazprom" informed about  more than triple price increase for gas starting from the year 2007 for Minsk.

- Moscow sells to Belarussia gas at the price of $46,68 for one thousand of cubic meter and triple increase of the rate certainly doesn’t look like brotherly gesture. It resembles "graceful" invitation to the beginning of negotiations about transfer of “Beltransgas” to "Gazprom" in exchange for the low prices. However in all other languages it can be qualified as blackmailing, submission to which is inadmissible simply because of its form. Once having allowed to talk to itself in this way all remained life can be spent in "doggy-style" position. Second time in a run representatives of ruling bureaucracy make out proper requirements in absolutely unacceptable form discrediting Russia creating enemies on an empty place and – in this very case with Lukashenko on the other hand - excluding probability of success. Lukashenko is a strong figure supervising position in the country. Blackmailing is not simply useless but also dangerous.

- Why do things that are possible to do with the Ukraineis impossible to do with Belarussia? Now we are in fact "the Power Empire" so the national idea can be described in one word: counter.

- German friends who also once possessed exotic enough empire have not transferred to the Russian colleagues understanding of perniciousness of war "on two fronts". The Ukraineand Belarussia - two alternative transport corridors. Untying "gas war" against one of them Russiashould appease another. Today the Ukrainedespite of dislike of the Western countries to Lukashenko will support him supporting thus himself. Lukashenko's answer can be deafening. Belarussia is important for Russiafrom the point of view not consumption but transit of gas. Reciprocal price increase for transit is capable to solve the basic part of its financial problems. At the same time the Belarussian customs posts can start working "under instruction" passing one truck (or a trailer) at an hour thus having reduced deliveries of cargoes to Russiamore than in 10 times. If it will be accompanied by examination of a cargo that possibly could lead to excitation of criminal cases which will even more strongly slow down deliveries. Besides the damage to the Russian business as well as to representatives of ruling bureaucracy who are also engaged, as you know, in the process of “protection” of the major part of such deliveries, restriction of transit from the Europewill influence Moscowmarket in a week.

- That resembles civil customs war  in framework of one separate state.

- Not only customs. Serious inconveniences will be created also with possible closing of air space of Belarussia for the Russian planes. Repair of the railway from the Belarusian side which connect Kaliningradwith other Russiameans blockade. As the ferry from St.-Petersburg has more agitational than transport value while organization of "the air bridge" demands the responsibility unattainable for present Russian bureaucracy (we are not talking about great expenses), it can push outKaliningradto the Europe. The fact that air defense of Russiaon the western border simply does not exist without the Belarusian site is not important only for the economic consciousness that doesn’t believe in possibility of attack from NATO. We are reigned by those who have militarized conscious for whom switching-off of air defense - is more serious than switching-off the light in a maternity hospital.

- You are drawing entire apocalypse of allied value. May be we will gain love in Europeat least?

- That is not true, Russian ruling bureaucracy does not understand that "the gas weapon" is not its monopoly. Having no obligations before Europewhich is deeply despised by him Lukashenko at last can resort the "diplomacy of a latch" and under a pretext of repair to stop gas transit on the territoryof Belarussia. By virtue of peculiarities of his regime he will be rather insensitive to the decrease in life standard of Byelorussians and will get support of the antirussian part of opposition. Gas sales on the western border of Belarussia is a problem of "Gazprom" but not of the Europe. The West will be on Lukashenko’s side even hating him: he is a victim and he is weaker. "Gas war" is untied in the ideal moment for the West - before the summit of the Big Eight. The American “hawks” should pray on the Russian bureaucrats selflessly swinging by "gas bludgeon" as today any ideas of diligent cooperation with Russiacan be killed by a phrase: "Look what he is doing with his allies! What will he do with us if we let ourselves be dependent on him?”

- You tell awful things. I mean that if everything You are talking about come true, Eltsin’s period followed by break-up and brothel will seem an island of stability and relative prosperity.  

- “Gas war" with Lukashenko will end the idea about Uniform economic space transforming the agreement with Nazarbaev in a tragicomedy. It will not be the beginning of return of Russiato the Post Soviet space but touching, having no importance “chat-in”. Probably the reason of so scandalous nonsense can be found in position of "Gazprom" which is more and more often treated as "pocket" of ruling bureaucracy whence it has got used to scoop money. But most likely self-destructive "gas war" is a result of the blow of the “oil-and-gas cocktail” into the heads of ruling democracy. Its moods remind of the beginning of the year 1941 which can be described by the phrase “and on the enemy ground we shall crush the enemy, by small blood and mighty impact” and non-willingness to think about the outcomes of its actions.

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