Kaliningrad manufacturers by-pass Belarus – the “European Somalia”

Victor Borisenko CEO Telebalt

Kaliningrad manufacturers by-pass Belarus  Relations between manufacturers based in the Kaliningrad exclave and Belarusian border officials reached a new low yesterday after Viktor Borisenko, CEO of TV manufacturer Telebalt dubbed Belarus a pirate state and the “European Somalia.”  It is the latest sally in a row that has been simmering since December when Belarusian customs services confiscated several trucks full of electronic goods that were destined for Russia at its border. Belarus officials suspected that the goods originated in China and so contravened the terms of the Customs Union to which both Russia and Belarus (along with Kazakhstan) are party.  The officials have been accused of then selling those goods on the Belarusian market and pocketing the proceeds. Borisenko calculates that the financial damage to Telbalt and other Kaliningrad-based manufacturers of electronic and household goods stands at RUB45m, and while he is going through the courts to seek reparation, he has decided to avoid Belarus altogether from here on in. “We export our goods  through legal EU member states like  Lithuania and Latvia. now,” he says. “We avoid the Belarusian mayhem. They [the Belarussians] took advantage of the fact that we are outside of Russia and blackmailed us.” Rosbalt