Economy minister: "The less we talk about crisis, the less likely it is"
Can you explain today what caused the economic collapse in 2011? Are we better insured today from similar economic calamities? Euroradio asked Belarus' Economy Minister Mikalai Snapkou during his direct-line press conference at Respublika newspaper.
Mikalai Snapkou: Frankly? The less we talk about the crisis, the less liky it is to occur. The crisis happens in minds, in the first place. I am deeply convinced of that. Expectations, insinuations and exaggerations by experts in the media can by no means have a positive effect. Psychology is the most difficult part of economy. So, here is my answer: the less we talk about, it is the better.
I believe the government drew conclusions from 2011 and found a decent way of this situation. I don't feel like discussing here and now in 2013 why it happened. This issue was addressed by the Council of Ministers during numerous sessions. The president, too, evaluated the government's performance. Everything is objective; everything makes sense. We need to look into tomorrow, guided by our previous experience and making the rights conclusions from the mistakes we made in the previous years. In fact, one should not call them mistakes, because this is how we were developing.
Many countries still remain in this, so to say, non-development stage. The government will do everything possible from the viewpoint of a balanced economic development. As for economic agents (enterprises, population, each and everyone of us), the most important thing is to stop exaggerating.
Euroradio: Yet, could Belarus have avoided the crisis if people would not have dashed to currency exchange offices in 2011?
Mikalai Snapkou: I find it difficult to answer your question. This is part of the whole. It's is not the cause, and it's not the consequence.
Euroradio: Did our economy change course after that lesson? Did it begin to develop in a different way? Can you say that today we are better insured from a repetition of crisis?
Mikalai Snapkou: We believe so. Economic development today has more quality and is better balanced.
Let's recall the situation in the first half of 2011, when it became more difficult to buy foreign currency in exchange offices than to get a Schengen visa. Prices in shops grew twofold. As a result, the rouble had to be devalued. Many experts pointed to the following factors as the causes of the crisis: the artificial increase of average wages before the presidential election and the continued mortgage lending in Belarusian currency for preferential-price housing construction in spite of inflation.