Russia increased energy prices to make Belarusian goods uncompetitive -official

MINSK. Feb 7 (Interfax) - The recent increase in prices for Russian oil and gas for Belarus was aimed at making Belarusian goods less competitive, Belarusian presidential secretariat first deputy chief Anatoly Rubinov said.

"Russia has undoubtedly acted not as an ally or as a friend in relation to Belarus," Rubinov said at a meeting at the Belarusian Academy of Sciences in Minsk on Wednesday.

Setting energy prices for Belarus higher than those within Russia is "an absolutely non-market method of administrative pressure with the aim of ousting Belarusian goods from Russian markets," Rubinov said.

Russia bears historical responsibility for Belarus, as the Belarusian industrial potential was designed for cheap energy within the framework of the Soviet economy, he said.

It would have been fair during the USSR's breakup if Belarus had been given access to oil and gas in proportions equal to the ratio between the Belarusian and the Soviet economies, he said.

In addition, the crisis surrounding the prices for Russian energy for Belarus prompted the people "to consolidate around the president of Belarus even more," Rubinov said.