December 11 – December 17, 2023
Belarus-Russia relations

Price Tags and Shortages as Signs of a New Perestroika

The situation got worse
Price Tags and Shortages as Signs of a New Perestroika

Belarus and Russia, despite their ambitions in space, self-made software, and the pursuit of innovative economic development, are currently grappling with familiar issues in the food supply.

Russia is facing a stir due to a shortage of chicken eggs, leading to a 30% price hike in three months. If the shortage persists, some ingredients for the New Year’s traditional Olivier salad might have to be imported as substitutes. The Russian government plans to address the shortfall by importing supplies, primarily from Belarus and Turkey.

Belarus is ready to assist Russia in this matter, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food stating that the country’s production of eggs and chicken exceeds domestic consumption by 20-25%. The minister clarified that Belarus supplies 60 million eggs to the Russian market, while domestically consuming around 140 million eggs. The situation regarding egg prices in Russia is believed to be stabilizing, according to the minister.

The sudden demand for poultry and eggs in the Russian market is not expected to impact the Belarusian food supply, reassured Anna Norkus, the General Director of Vitebsk Broiler Poultry Farm OJSC.

On the flip side, Russian agricultural producers may soon need to assist their Belarusian counterparts with veal supplies. A criminal case emerged when an agricultural enterprise in the Homiel region concealed the death of livestock, selling about 800 kilograms of meat from deceased calves to agricultural workers as wages.

These price spikes and shortages are reminiscent of the period in the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s when discussions often revolved around the need to liberate business and develop private trade. Today, the dialogue centers on integration and hopes for replacing critical imports – a form of perestroika without economic reforms.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian government remains optimistic, declaring that the implementation of import substitution projects with Russia is proceeding according to plan. Prime Minister Raman Galouchanka emphasized that the number of agreed-upon projects with Russia has increased from 16 to 23. “We expect that this year the output volume of import-substituting products will approach USD 29 billion. Two years ago, it was 26-27. We’re adding two billion, and next year we aim to reach USD 30 billion,” stated the head of government.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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