Russia has refused to supply Belarus and Armenia cheap gas

foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow does not intend to revise gas supply contracts concluded with Armenia and Belarus, where “blue fuel” cost three to four times more expensive than now (40-45 dollars against 127 for Minsk and 165 for Yerevan). According to him, at the time of conclusion of the contract, Russia offered the most advantageous terms to its allies, and now you just need to fulfill the assumed obligations. How this position fits into the logic of Eurasian integration in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic crisis, “MK” has found out from the experts:

Konstantin ZATULIN, Deputy head of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and relations with compatriots:

– Russia faces a choice, either to follow the requests of our customers and partners, and thus to facilitate their situation, in particular, to enable them to save money, or we need to take care of filling the budget, the main source of which is energy exports. Contracts that were signed with Armenia and Belarus require a certain algorithm for the solution of this question. The price of gas is not constant, but changes occur with a certain lag. In fact, the cost directly associated with the performance of the obligations under the contract. In particular, Russia has already incurred certain costs associated with the production of gas, which no one were not returned.

the Contract must be fulfilled, such is the international rule. Gas cheaper but not immediately, but after a few months, were able to offset those costs that we bear.

Alexander SHPAKOVSKY, a Belarusian political analyst:

– the Impact of fuel and energy complex in the state policy of Russia is extremely large. Sometimes it seems that is not a Corporation – a national treasure of Russia, but rather Russia – property of the state Corporation and its managers. Of course, the issue of changing education, gas prices in the conditions of the previous contracts is a sphere of good will of the Russian leadership, but it is absolutely illogical when the current situation of global crisis, Russia sells gas to its allies in the integration block of the EEU 2-3 times more expensive than the competitors from the EU. Especially considering the fact that both Belarus and Armenia at the time, has transferred “to Gazprom” national gastransport system. In the current environment, the decline in gas prices in line with world market conditions have been apprehended in Minsk and Yerevan as help from the main ally in challenging conditions, and definitely would strengthen Moscow’s position. However, the desire to get a quick profit on the partners in Eurasian integration, since it is impossible to earn in the West, increases the potential opponenthe comrade of Russia in Belarus and Armenia, weakens the Union makes political circles of these countries to seek alternative sources, not only oil, but gas. In fact, we can say that tactical commercial interests of the commodity monopolies prevail over the strategic interests of integration. Although the environment division of the world Russia really need its own integration group, as globally, the Russian economy is insignificant, if not to speak about political and military-strategic aspects. In addition, in the Belarusian context, it is necessary to remember that at least 50 % of manufactured goods Minsk sends to Russia, the Belarusian industry works in close cooperation with the Russian, so the decline in gas prices and objectively corresponds to Russian interests.

Hrant MIKAELYAN, researcher at Armenian Institute of the Caucasus:

– the Russian side in April 2020 planned negotiations with the aim of increasing the price supplied to Armenia, the gas. The Armenian side is supposed to preserve gas prices, as this is a very sensitive issue for the population in conditions of relatively low incomes and high cost of transportation and distribution gas network. However, since March this year, the situation began to change: the oil (and the next, and gas) became cheaper in international markets and conditions have changed. Now the Russian side wants to maintain the price, and Armenian – to reduce it. The fact that the Russian gas supplied to Armenia, as a rule, were much cheaper than supply in European countries, but now it is not so: on the basis of more flexible conditions, where prices are revised down. Contracts with Armenia usually was on a long term basis, but at the moment, time to revise the contract has come. Therefore, Armenia expects that, in accordance with the change of international market and prices on the market, the price will be revised and for her. Sergei Lavrov said that Russia has always adhered to long-term contracts now, when the price is disadvantageous for her as a provider, are not willing to renegotiate. The issue of gas prices has always been sensitive for both sides. Especially for the Armenian. Now it is even more so. There is nothing fundamentally new there. But certain negative tone in the relationship, this issue can make.