The head of the Russian Finance Ministry Anton Siluanov told some of the details of the provision of an "anti-crisis" loan to the Belarusian authorities in the amount of $ 1.5 billion. This amount was previously announced at a meeting between the presidents of the two countries Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
According to Siluanov, the loan repayment period will be finalized in the agreements. But "the average length of our loans was about 10 years." “We will be guided by these terms when preparing the conditions for the provision of borrowed funds,” the minister stressed. His words are quoted by "Interfax".
Anton Siluanov added that Russia will provide Belarus with an interstate loan totaling $ 1 billion in two tranches in 2020 and in 2021, another $ 500 million, on which an agreement was previously reached, will be provided by the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD).
"The logic is that this year we want to provide $ 1 billion, of which $ 500 million at the expense of the EFSD and $ 500 million at the expense of the interstate, the next - $ 500 million at the expense of the interstate. The conditions are now being worked out with the Belarusian Ministry of Finance," he explained.
Speaking about the EFSD loan, the minister noted: "We will ask colleagues to make a decision on the minimum program of support for Belarus. Previously, there were two programs of $ 2 billion, now a proposal to quickly provide a loan of $ 500 million."
To provide an interstate loan, amendments to the Tax Code will be required to include Belarus in the number of countries to which the Russian Federation can provide such loans. "Such amendments have been prepared in the Budget Code. As soon as they are adopted, we will begin work on the provision of interstate credit," Siluanov explained.
It is planned that the EFSD loan will be provided in dollars, and the interstate loan in rubles. "In rubles, we will be tied to the cost of OFZ with a small premium, the rates in the EFSD currency are based on the average cost of bonds of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan," the minister also said.
Speaking about the purposes of providing the loan, he noted that "in general, this is anti-crisis support", including for the fight against COVID-19. "And in general, this will support the balance of payments of Belarus. According to estimates of the current situation, depositors have taken about $ 1 billion from banks, so the balance of payments will be maintained in this way," he said.
Answering the question of what Russia will receive when providing borrowed funds, Siluanov explained: "Russia will receive the stability of our partner's finances. We will support the balance of payments of our partner (...). We will receive guarantees of the stable fulfillment of obligations by Belarus to Russian counterparties, namely, this is how the terms of the loan so that Belarus does not allow delinquencies on the obligations of both the sovereign itself and companies where there is state participation, where the borrower is Belarus. We are also formulating a condition that obligations to our companies for the supply of energy resources are fulfilled in full. "
The minister also noted that Belarus pays off its obligations to the Russian Federation on time, there are no delays or arrears. In 2020, the obligations of Belarus to Russia on debt and interest are slightly less than $ 1 billion and about $ 460 million to the EFSD.
Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister of Belarus Andrei Belkovets said that Minsk had asked Moscow for a large loan in connection with a sharp reduction in foreign exchange reserves of Belarus in August due to a surge in demand for foreign currency from the population and companies during the "protest" August. "In August, there was a negative situation - there was an outflow of gold and foreign exchange reserves (by $ 1.4 billion per month. - Approx. "Interfax"), which was caused by significant volumes of foreign exchange purchases by the population and enterprises, "Belkovets said. According to him," first of all, the funds from the Russian loan will be used to maintain gold and foreign exchange reserves, which have noticeably sagged. "
At the end of August, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that some "internal scoundrels" against the background of protests in the country related to the non-recognition by citizens of the official results of the presidential elections are trying to destabilize the financial market, but the state has enough reserves to prevent a collapse of the national currency.
The Belarusian opposition believes that the loan issued by Russia will go to finance the repressive apparatus. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a contender for the presidency of Belarus, opposition leader, warned that if Lukashenka is removed from power, no one will return the debts. "I hope that Putin understands that it is Lukashenka, and not our people, who will have to give this loan <... wp_automatic_readability="10.750354609929"> This can prolong the agony of Lukashenka, but it cannot prevent the victory of the people, "Tikhanovskaya wrote on the Telegram channel.
She also addressed the Russians with a statement that their money, as taxpayers, would be spent on security forces brutally dispersing protesters. “Your taxes will pay for our beatings. We are sure that you would not want that,” added Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.