Belarus’ economic expansion may only be compared with the performance of the world’s giant China with an incredible 1.5 billion population, PhD in economy Oleg Cherkovets, a professor of Moscow State University, or the well-known MGU, writes in Russia’s weekly “FeldPochta” under the headline “Belarus’ Economy Develops at China’s Rate”. The author notes that Belarus and China, incomparable in quantitative parameters, have commensurable economic and technical achievements, but there is another similar feature, which makes the two countries even closer: neither Belarus nor China have any significant oil or gas deposits. Belarus’ oil production is 210 times less than in Russia in natural units and 15 times less in per-capita terms. So the Belarusian “miracle” is not a gift of Mother Nature, but a result of hard work and prudent economic policy, Oleg Cherkovets believes.
The professor underlines that Belarus reached the GDP growth rate of the last “Soviet” year, 1990, several years ago, and exceeded it 17% in 2004. As for Russia, it never managed to reach the 1990 levels. Belarus is the only CIS country that is on the list of the countries with a high human development index, according to the UN. “Our neighbors are moving steadily towards a socially-oriented mixed economy with great opportunities for private business, especially small and medium-sized business that is characterized by a large share of government-controlled enterprises and strong support for the social sector.”
Commenting on the agrarian issue, the professor writes the production of essential farm products per capita (including meat, milk, eggs, grain and legumes, fruit and vegetables) is enough to make Belarus the CIS leader. Exports of farm produce are also on the rise. Last year they rose 29% on the year. Russia accounts for 80% of Belarus’ food exports, and boosted imports from Belarus 30% last year. The remaining part goes to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Belgium. Exports to these countries are for the most part dairy products and meat, which account for 65% and over 25%, respectively.
“FeldPochta” calls Belarus’ lowest inflation since 1990 the key achievement of 2005. “Belarus’ economic model, based on extensive state investments in strategic and “socially-significant” sectors is not only economically successful, but also has a logical “arithmetic” impact, as it is less inflationary,” the author writes.