Lith Jenn sent me this article with the message "I believe you called it first. :)" Why yes, I did indeed call it on July 24 in my entry "What I don't get about Belarus"
The Economist then published this article the following day. Better luck next time, The Economist!
Here's a selection from johnny-come-lately's article "Preparing for Tougher Times":
Belarusian Pres. A. Lukashenka is reshuffling senior officials, at the same time as his energy minister is in Moscow for talks over an unpaid US$500m gas debt. The 2 issues are related, for cheap energy and a strong "power vertical" have been the bedrock of Mr Lukashenka's rule. Belarus says it doesn't have the resources to meet its debt, particularly as Russia has been slow to respond the Belarusian request for a US$1.5bn loan.
To judge by the published budgetary figures, Belarus's budget is awash with cash. In reality the position may be less strong. Revenues are sharply higher this year because of the Russian-dictated increase in export duty on oil products. However, 80% of the revenue is supposed eventually to be transferred to Russia, so in practice Belarus is less able to pay.
You Need Money, Belarus! Yout Don't Have Your Own Energy Sources And You Have Nothing To Sell That Europe Or Anyone With Money Wants! Time To Reform!
(Editorial note: Belarus is one of the largest exporter of weapons to African wars, somebody loves them.)