Russia-Belarus gas dispute is over as Belarus has paid its debt. It's a common knowledge that debts should be paid off and obligations fulfilled. Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko attempted to ignore these rules and was surprised that Russia wanted its money back. First, Russia was delicate, like a neighboring state should be. The country's prime minister Vladimir Putin said:"We have repeatedly warned our Belarusian partners on timely payment. Gazprom has sent three notifications which remained unanswered. Then, President Medvedev and I had to remind about the payment and no response followed. "
Only when Gazprom began to cut gas supplies to Belarus, Minsk woke up and transferred the money, said Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov: "Currently, we see no problems with gas supplies to Europe and Belarus. Gazprom received the payment early Thursday and paid for the transit, though the transit issues are still to be regulated."
The conflict is over, but fears of Europeans to stay without gas remained. Luckashenko tried to use these fears to blackmail Russia , which is another fall of his reputation in Europe. Some tense in Russian-Belarusian relations also remained, as the attempt to manipulate Russia was too rude. Belarus pays the least for the gas, enjoys many benefits, and is still behaving without considering the interests of others.
Belarus will have the presidential elections in 2011. Lukashenko's chances depend on his social policy. Now he is generous due to cheap Russian gas not to reasonable economic policy. Maybe Lukashenko realized that his position was getting shaky and, thus, provoked the conflict. Still, the attempt failed as Russia can be negotiated with but not manipulated.