Russia and Belarus should return to negotiations on the introduction of the Russian ruble as the single currency, said Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov. The National Bank of Belarus said that idea irrelevant, and experts — impossible, primarily for political reasons.
Against the backdrop of the financial crisis in Belarus, which was the actual cause of the devaluation of the local currency, and, in fact, the country's total lack of sources of external borrowings Russian Ambassador in Minsk Alexander Surikov offered to resume negotiations on the establishment of the monetary union of the two countries on the basis of the Russian ruble.
This possibility Russia and Belarus has been repeatedly discussed, in particular in 2004 and 2005, but further talks did not get. Now Belarus is trying to get from Russia and the Eurasian Economic Community loans for $ 3 billion, but the conditions of their publication is not consistent.
Experts in Moscow do not believe that at some foreseeable future Belarus will abandon its currency in favor of it is the Russian ruble. From an economic point of view, according to the head of the department of the Institute of CIS countries Belarus Alexander Fadeev, Russia is unfavorable decision, and therefore it can only be political:
Fadeev: If you take the objective circumstances, of course, the Russian side is disadvantageous transition to a single currency with any power that is in crisis — or its financial, banking and credit sector or the economy as a whole. In Belarus, most likely in the presence of the one and the other. Therefore, in such circumstances, the transition to a single currency can only be viewed as a political decision, as the assistance to the State. From the point of view of monetary and financial interests of Russia, of course, such a decision can hardly be considered beneficial.
As for Belarus, the question for her overly politicized. The country's leaders have long abandoned the introduction of the Russian ruble as the sole legal tender on the territory of the Union State.
So, from my point of view, any variants introduction of the Russian ruble in Belarus in the moment. Not because it is not profitable financial, credit and banking system of the country, but because it is a political decision — negative, negative. Reverse this situation is not possible, and a currency crisis, which is observed in Belarus, the influence it can not.
Radio Liberty: We discussed the allocation of a billion dollars from Russia, another two billion — from the Eurasian Economic Community. Can this amount is at least in the short term to solve the problems of Belarus? Or is it inevitable devaluation of the Belarusian ruble?
Fadeev: I would not associate the problem of getting these loans with the process of the devaluation of the ruble. Objectively, the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble is already underway, and it is a fait accompli. Another thing is that it is a one-time devaluation, which would have the idea to conduct the National Bank. But he shies away from it, and because of that position with the national currency situation is only getting worse.
Of course, the loans can help Belarus to get out of difficult situations. And at this point, the volume of these loans is sufficient to run a republic overcome their difficulties: in addition to external borrowing, the country has a direct income from the operation of its economy. This amount is quite reasonable, and adequate, could close that gap that exists in the budget.
Radio Liberty: It is clear that these loans causes by some Russian agreement to amend the economic policy of the Belarusian government. In your opinion, which, in fact, Belarus should do now in terms of economic logic to get these loans?
Fadeev: The Russian side can only recommend something to the country — to insist on anything she can not and, in my opinion, does not do that. The position of the Russian side, which has been designated for a long time, is that Belarus should drastically reduce government spending.
From the viewpoint of the Russian side
program of support to the agricultural sector, social programs, which are implemented in the republic of public funds does not correspond to the real economic income of the country. On other issues, it is limiting the growth of wages in the public sector — and, perhaps, reducing it in perspective. I do not think that Russia insists on it, but that the problem somehow ordained by the Russian side, I have no doubt.
Radio LibertyAll these wishes Russia to Belarus have a political aspect. Alexander Lukashenko is a quiet country as a republic, where all is well. But if he goes on the proposed changes, the image of the authorities will not change for the better.
FadeevYes, of course, the leadership of the Republic of Belarus has positioned as a socially responsible state. Of course, such measures are put into question the image of the people's government that cares about people.
In the language of economists, Polish, Belarus will have to pass the "valley of tears" because of reduced government spending, more rigid social policy, the dismantling of social programs. It's inevitable. Of course, this does not strengthen the political position of the Lukashenko regime, but rather to weaken: too much had been fastened on such populist policies.
Radio Liberty: In other words, Alexander Lukashenko has no other choice but to go to such reforms, with unpredictable consequences for themselves. Or is he again tries to somehow mitigate the problem, relying that they "dissolve" themselves?
Fadeev: Many years studying Belarus, its political class, I came to the conclusion that they are living today. In the past, Belarus fell into a very difficult situation in the economy and in the financial sector, but then somehow was able to get out of them due to a sudden change of the external environment.
I think that now in the Belarusian political class lives is the same hope that something will change, somewhere Belarus will be able to get the foreign exchange loans, there will be some investors who are interested in investing in Belarus. Such hope lives. As to whether the country will go to these harsh measures, its president, at least it promised.