MINSK, 5 December (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the post-Soviet period in Belarus as he met with MPs on 5 December, BelTA has learned.
The president recalled that after the collapse of the Soviet Union people of Belarus were to build a new economy without having reserves of gold, oil and gas, although during the Soviet times Belarus took part in well-drilling in Siberia and extraction of oil and gas. As to Belarusian oil, it was sold abroad during the Soviet period although this oil was of a better quality than Russia's. This could be explained by political ambitions of the then leaders of the USSR.
“Oil produced in Belarus was better than Russia's, it was light crude oil. But we pumped around nine million tonnes to the West because our party leaders wanted promotions. Today only two million tonnes of oil is left and this is not enough to meet our economic needs,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
At present Belarus has to look for oil to keep its oil refineries busy. “We would not have built them had we known that we would end up like this. We do not have the 25 million tonnes of oil our enterprises can refine. We would not have built BelAZ, either, as only 1.5 BelAZ dump trucks are used in Belarus. All this, just like the entire economic power of Belarus was meant to meet the needs of the huge Soviet Union. Back then, resources from Siberia, Far East and other places flocked westwards. The technologically advanced West received our raw materials and end products. We could provide not only for the Socialist countries, but also Western states. As we shipped commodities there, we could impose our conditions on them: if you want to buy our oil and gas, then you should also buy our tractors, vehicles. We, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic Sea states, hi-tech countries with good logistics, we processed all these resources and manufactured products to sell them outside our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Everything changed dramatically when the Soviet Union collapsed. The head of state recalled speaking about those hard times: “The country disintegrated and we, a bleeding piece of that country, were left without gold reserves and with the Soviet money. Russia swore that it would not withdraw from the ruble zone and that the Soviet ruble would remain our currency, but later on they just threw us under the bus. Everyone remembers that period and our money with animals depicted on banknotes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Empty shelves in stores, nothing to eat, nothing to wear. The money we had received for our export turned into dust overnight. We had to scramble for a living. We were left with nothing, but the worst thing is that we had no economic model that could help us build an independent and sovereign state. We had to build it from scratch. Back then our Belarus was a bleeding chip of the Soviet empire,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He emphasized that Belarus managed to pull through and is now pursuing its own sovereign and independent policy.More about President