4

According to one Western source Russia was subsidizing 10–15 percent of Belarus' GDP around 2013 or so. Another source source quantifies that differently as "Between 2005 and 2015, Moscow pumped $106 billion into the Belarus economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)." Which seems a considerable sum.

Were Western sanctions on Russia imposed around 2014 relevant in the reduction of Belarus' GDP? It does seem noticeable in that regard, e.g. relative to Romania's, in the same time frame (graph pointed out to me by Tadeusz Kopec)

enter image description here

On the other hand, it does look like the reduction in Belarus GDP was around 2016 so I'm not sure if the effect was delayed or even caused by something else entirely. So did Russia reduce its aid/subsidies to Belarus after 2014?

1 Answer 1

5

It's hard to isolate the role of Western sanctions here. What's clear, from am early 2016 report for the European Parliament:

Following 19 years of positive economic growth, Belarus's economy contracted by 3.6% in 2015, partly due to the deep recession in Russia, the country's closest trading partner... Belarus's economy is very vulnerable to developments in Russia. The on-going Russian recession has dampened hopes for increased trade between the two countries. Moscow can no longer afford to endlessly aid its allies and has gradually reduced its oil and gas subsidies to Belarus. At the same time, the falling oil prices have resulted in lower revenues. The energy dependence on Russia seems hard to tackle without wide-ranging reforms: Belarusian heavy industries use very energy-hungry Soviet-era technologies, and Belarusian citizens have become accustomed to artificially low energy prices.

It is also interesting to note that according to Sergey Kozlovsky writing for Global Voices, Russian measures detrimental to the Belarus' economy including the increase in gas prices had their own political motivation. Aggression in Ukraine in 2014 led Lukashenko to begin asserting Belarusia's cultural autonomy, provoking Russia to retaliate economically.

So it's not as simple as Western sanctions causing Russia to cut aid causing Belarusia's economic problems, no. At the same time though, it's clear that economic problems in Russia have had negative impacts on Belarus.

3

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .