Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were all on the same trend of collapsing GDP and energy consumption (Figure 1). Belarus has no indigenous energy supplies, at least BP do not bother reporting production data, and must therefore import most energy from Russia. Since the mid 1990s the Belarusian economy recovered, showing strong annual growth and is now on a par with Turkey.
This is a very different story to Ukraine where the economy, that was showing feeble growth, collapsed again in 2009 and has not yet recovered. Economic malaise will no doubt underpin the civil unrest in Ukraine. EU and Russian leaders would do well to understand and try to fix the root causes for economic stagnation and to set aside the sabre rattling. The 2009 collapse took place on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s watch. She was subsequently imprisoned, recently released, she is now a candidate in next month’s Presidential election.
Figure 1 The trends on this chart all represent a time series where 1990 is to the right. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union Gross National Income (GNI) and energy consumption in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all collapsed along a similar trend, heading towards zero. In the mid 1990s each of these economies began to recover along much more energy efficient trends. Recovery in Ukraine was much weaker than in Russia and Belarus and the economy collapsed again in 2009 (the Ukraine point farthest to the left) and has shown only weak recovery since. Data from BP  and the World Bank .
Belarus is much smaller than Ukraine with a population of only 9.4 million and borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States. Unlike Ukraine, that has had a highly turbulent series of elections, putsches and presidents, Belarus has had only a single elected president, Alexander Lukashenko, since declaring independence in 1991. Belarus is allied to Russia and is run along similar autocratic lines. Stable, but not totally democratic.
The trouble in Ukraine is rooted to the fact that half the country wants to face west and to become a part of the EU and NATO whilst the other half wants to face east and ally itself with Russia. The current democratic model is bound to fail in these circumstances.
BP do not report any oil, gas or coal production data for Belarus and so it is safe to assume that any production is negligible. Nor do they report any nuclear or hydro consumption, suggesting that Belarus is devoid of significant primary energy production. Given the comparative success of the economy, this once again underlines the fact that indigenous energy is not necessary for economic success. But access to stable, secure and affordable energy is.
Figure 2 In line with all former Soviet states, energy consumption collapsed with the fall of the union. Prior to the 1990s, the economy was heavily orientated towards oil with lesser amounts of gas and coal consumed. Since the mid 1990s, Belarusian energy consumption has been transformed to using more gas and less oil. Coal consumption has been phased out and there is now a tiny amount of renewable production and consumption. Energy consumption is now growing slowly in line with the economy while the population falls.
Population and Economy
Figure 3 Belarus covers a large territory but has a small population of 9.4 million that has been falling slowly since independence. GDP in free fall from 1990 has recovered strongly on the back of market reforms along a more energy efficient trajectory (Figure 1 and 8).
Figure 4 In the past decade, Belarus has seen a major expansion in bilateral trade, I suspect mainly with Russia and other neighbouring states. A sharp drift into the red during the global economic crash has since been rectified.
Energy and economy
Figure 5 The fall and rise of GDP and energy consumption, cross plotted in Figure 6.
Figure 6 In 1990, at the end of the Soviet era, Belarus had extraordinary high per capita energy consumption for a poor country. Producing only $624 per tonne equivalent of oil consumed, Belarusians were failing to add any value from that consumption. Belarus evidently clings to many Soviet era state controls of industry, but market reforms have sent the country upon a much more efficient and productive path. Note this chart plots inflation adjusted data, chained to $US 2005 . Figure 1 plots purchasing power parity (PPP) in international $ (current) that is intended to remove economic distortions brought about by arbitrary exchange rates.
Figures 7 and 8 show the Belarusian per capita GDP v energy cross plotted with the other countries in this series of posts [4 to 10]. Figure 7 is the version of this plot I have been using that employs chained $US 2005 published by the UN . Figure 8 employs gross national income data published by the world bank (WB)  in current international $ that is deemed to provide a more realistic picture of actual national wealth and prosperity.
Figure 7 Per capita GDP and energy consumption with the former in chained $US 2005. This removes the effect of inflation but leaves distortions from exchange rate and other national variances.
Figure 8 Per capita GNI and energy consumption in current international $. I am unsure if the effects of inflation are removed. The WB data begins in 1980 while the UN GDP data begins in 1970, hence the GNI time series are shorter.
Employing the GNI PPP data creates an interesting picture that is beginning to emerge. The baseline defined by the decline of Soviet economies, passing through Egypt (early years) and the origin – no energy, no money – may characterise Zombie economies that produce little for the energy consumed. It is striking how market reforms in Russia and Belarus have transformed the efficiency of these economies. I wonder if the citizens feel materially more prosperous? The Ukrainian Death Spiral  has left that economy in a zombie state.
The islamic economies of Egypt, Algeria and Turkey are all superimposed on the same trend that is actually extremely energy efficient. Modern Turkey produces near $20,000 using 1.6 toe per capita while Russia used 4.7 toe to produce the same output.
The “post industrial” UK is of course anomalous for showing no correlation between energy consumed and GDP, for reasons discussed in reference . But it is interesting to observe that phantom GDP went up in smoke during the crash but that this was accompanied by a fall in energy consumption. GDP growth has been achieved without energy growth but GDP decline is accompanied by energy decline. The role of high energy prices and energy scarcity in catalysing the 2008 crash is a question that remains unanswered.
 BP: Statistical Review of World Energy 2013
 World Bank Data Indicators
 UN: National Accounts Main Aggregates Database
 Egypt – energy, population and economy
 Russian Power
 Post-peak Algeria?
 Libya – energy, population and economy
 Turkey – on its way to a mature economy
 Ukrainian Death Spiral
 Does the UK Economy Run on Energy or Hot Air?
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