LUKASHENKO COMPLAINS ABOUT 'RUSSIAN RASCALS.'

Author: Olesya Yelkova

LUKASHENKO COMPLAINS ABOUT 'RUSSIAN RASCALS.' (By Olesya Yelkova. Izvestia, Sept. 11, 2013, p. 2. Condensed text:) Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has for the first time publicly commented on the potash conflict [see Current Digest, Vol. 65, No. 34-35, pp. 13-15, and No. 36, pp. 10-11], expressing hope that the Russian authorities "will make a decision" that would allow Uralkaly [Urals Potassium] to resume cooperation with Belarus. Lukashenko did not specify what kind of decision he had in mind. More than likely, he asked Vladimir Putin to help replace the owners of Uralkaly. Lukashenko had harsh things to say about their actions.

"Today, because of the indecent conduct of these Russian rascals, we are experiencing some problems selling potash fertilizers," the Belarussian leader told Belta news agency.

The head of state's concern is understandable: Potash fertilizers are one of the most significant contributors to Belarus's cash proceeds. . . .

"We are determined to sort out this situation," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. "For some reason, I'm convinced the Russians will take appropriate action, and the leadership of Russia will not ignore such a powerful Russian company. Sooner or later, in order to restore the status quo, the Russians will come to us. At the very least, we are not against working to generate large revenues."

The president's press service did not outline his position in greater detail.

On the one hand, his statement contains the hint of a possibility for reconciliation. But while Uralkaly, in the person of board chairman Aleksandr Voloshin, did not rule out the possibility of resuming joint activity with the Belarussians (despite the arrest of Uralkaly head Vladislav Baumgertner and the placing of the main shareholder of the company, Suleiman Kerimov, on a wanted list), representatives of Belaruskaly [Belarussian Potassium] have said that restoring relations is impossible. The Belarussians have even created their own company, BKK [Belarussian Potassium Company], in the form ...

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