An unpaid bill which led to Russia pulling the plug on Belarus’s electricity has now been paid. Supplier InterRAO said it disconnected the grid because it was owed 30 million euros.
That takes some pressure off Belarus, but its relations with Moscow are at a low ebb, and the people are grappling with one of the worst economic downturns in nearly two decades. Had Moscow been using energy as a stick to beat President Lukashenka with?
InterRAO says no, and that it was simply a case of the company and Belarus signing a payment date agreement, and one had been missed.
Prices in Belarus are soaring, sparking panic buying of essentials and hyperinflation looms on the horizon; plus there is a balance of payments crisis that forced Kiev to slash the value of the rouble by more than half last month.
This has led to Lukashenka putting some of the state’s economic crown jewels up for sale, and Russia is keen to buy many public assets.