Unpaid debts to Russian energy exporters totaled $470 millionat the beginning of April, and companies like Gazprom are refusing furthercredit and cutting back deliveries. With his government out of cash andunable to find willing lenders even at very high interest rates, PresidentAlyaksandr Lukashenka proposes to pay off his creditors with shares instate-owned companies. According to Russian press reports, Lukashenka hasoffered equity in Belarus’s Novopolotsk and Mozyr oil refineries in exchangefor an additional $180 million in new credits for Russian oil. …Lukashenka is also considering a decree to re-establish the Soviet-eragovernment monopoly over much of the country’s foreign trade. Access toforeign goods and markets, it seems, is playing havoc with government pricecontrols, as artificially cheap domestic goods (especially foodstuffs) areexported at a profit and artificially expensive goods can’t compete withcheaper imports.