MINSK (Reuters) – An exit poll predicted Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko would win 74 percent of the vote in an election held on Sunday, and the long-term leader dismissed opponents’ threats to protest against the outcome.
The 56-year-old former state farm director has ruled the ex-Soviet republic with an iron fist since 1994 and, challenged only by an assortment of disorganized opponents, is poised for a fourth five-year term.
MINSK/KIEV (Reuters) – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko is assured of securing a fourth term in power next Sunday, defying the West which has tried to moderate his often harsh rule and Russian attempts to call him to heel.
On past performance, the 56-year-old former state farm director, who has run ex-Soviet Belarus as a command economy since 1994, could get as much as 80 percent of the vote. Like before, opposition groups are likely to allege electoral fraud.
MINSK (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez agreed on Saturday to supply the former Soviet republic of Belarus with 30 million tonnes of oil over three years from 2011 in a deal worth as much as $19.4 billion.
Belarus has slashed imports of Russian Urals blend oil and increased purchases from Venezuela since Moscow imposed export duties, a step that raised the price of Russian exports to Belarus by about 36 percent.
MINSK, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
agreed on Saturday to supply the former Soviet republic of
Belarus with 30 million tonnes of oil over three years from 2011
in a deal worth as much as $19.4 billion.
Belarus has slashed imports of Russian Urals blend oil and
increased purchases from Venezuela since Moscow imposed export
duties, a step that raised the price of Russian exports to
Belarus by about 36 percent.
MINSK (Reuters) – Belarus is likely to give few clues at least until after upcoming presidential elections on whether it will seek much-needed foreign investment elsewhere or concentrate on its strongly developing links with China.
The former Soviet state of Belarus, struggling to reduce its dependence on Russia and unwilling to bring in the sweeping reforms demanded by Western investors, saw its economy grow by a mere 0.2 percent in 2009, down from 10.0 percent a year earlier, according to IMF figures.
MINSK, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Belarus’s outspoken leader
Alexander Lukashenko, long at odds with the West but lately
quarreling with Moscow, said on Friday he wanted better ties
with the United States and berated his estranged ally Russia.
Lukashenko, criticised in the West over human rights, had
once pledged to build a “union state” that would combine Belarus
with Russia, but his relations with Moscow are now at a new low
as Moscow has cut economic subsidies to its Slav neighbour.
MINSK, June 27 (Reuters) – This week’s gas war between
Russia and Belarus will not cause a lasting split between the
long-time allies but will boost Minsk’s search for alternative
gas suppliers, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
A dispute over gas payments and transit debts triggered a
stand-off between the ex-Soviet neighbours this week and
resulted in Russia briefly cutting gas supplies to Belarus,
which in turn halted onward transit to the EU.
MOSCOW, June 25 (Reuters) – Tensions over gas between Russia
and Belarus flared up again on Friday with Minsk saying it could
still halt Russian flows to Europe within 24 hours as it holds
out for payment of a small debt which Moscow denies it owes.
The spat burst back into life just a day after Minsk fully
resumed gas supplies to neighbouring EU members after a partial
suspension on Wednesday in a gas pricing and fee dispute with
Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research).
MOSCOW, June 23 (Reuters) – Belarus threatened on Wednesday
to halt all Russian oil and gas flows across its soil to Europe
if Moscow does not repay a debt for gas transit, raising the
stakes in a row the EU said was an attack on the whole bloc.
“I demand that Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) pay $260 million to
Beltransgaz by 10:00 (0700 GMT) tomorrow,” First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Semashko said, referring to Russia’s gas
export monopoly and Belarus’s gas infrastructure company.
MINSK (Reuters) – Belarus moved to cut the transit of Russian gas to Europe on Tuesday in a debt spat with Moscow, with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko calling it a “gas war” echoing Russia’s 2009 quarrel with Ukraine.
The EU said Lithuania, Poland and Germany had been hit by the gas supply cuts, but Russia said it had no confirmation that gas levels leaving Belarus had been reduced.