Enjoy a series of webinars “Belarus and Russia. Expert Talk on Economic Ties and Future” with Belarusian and Russian economists on what Belarus means to Russia, and vice versa, from the economic perspective.
A deep political crisis in Belarus puts on the agenda a number of questions about role of Russia for Belarus. Looking for answers, CASE Belarus and the “European Dialogue” Expert Group (Russia) initiated a series of webinars “Belarus and Russia. Expert Talk on Economic Ties and Future”. The aim of the initiative is to create a direct communication channel between economists and experts from Belarus and Russia to discuss current and future issues and opportunities in relations between the two countries.
The first webinar is titled “Interrelation of the economies of Belarus and Russia”. The experts discussed key sectors of dependence of the Belarusian economy on Russia: energy subsidies, export of goods, external debt and ownership of Belarusian enterprises and banks.
When: Friday, December 17, 2020
For many years, Russia’s generous energy, economic, and financial support “in exchange for air kisses” made it possible to ensure Belarus’ economic growth without major structural reforms. Belarus has used its opportunities ineffectively, mostly spending those large energy subsidies and concessional loans to support the unreformed state-owned sector. On the other hand, about half of the value added in the Belarusian economy is generated by the private sector, which has grown significantly in recent years.
A strong economic dependence of the Belarusian economy on Russia predetermines, in the opinion of the majority of the participants of the discussion, close partnership between the two countries in the future. But such a partnership should also encourage reforms for the Belarusian economy. At the same time, Belarusian experts emphasized that the current political crisis is a purely internal political confrontation and in the future Belarus needs to build strong economic ties with the European Union as well. The choice of such a foreign policy course will require, as noted, a discussion of the prospects for the Union State between Belarus and Russia. Another hot topic is how to manage external loans, which are currently taken by the illegitimate authorities of Belarus. The role of free trade unions in future Belarusian economic reforms, which should, in the general opinion, have a pronounced social context, was also touched in the webinar.
The next webinar is planned for January, 2021.