Russia’s natural-gas monopoly Gazprom is showing exporters toBelarus how to behave. When its overdue receivables reached $225 million,Gazprom cut its exports to Belarus by about 30% and threatened further cutsif arrears were not reduced. Now, Russian exporters generally want to bepaid in cash, at least for 70% of the value of their shipments. That’s abig change from the usual way of doing business. In 1997, around 90% ofRussia-Belarus trade was cleared through barter. Russian Customs is joiningthe trend, asking Belarus to pay up the $40 million in customs fees it owes,dating back to 1995. But Belarus can’t switch to cash because it has none –or as a senior Belarusan official decorously phrased it, “the Belarusangovernment has exhausted virtually all possibilities for the favorableresolution of this problem….”