Support The Moscow Times!

Belarus Pledges to Behave Responsibly With $2Bln Russian Loan

Just days after offering a $15 billion bailout to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will lend $2 billion to Belarus to help prop up its economy.

"The Russian government has decided to assist its Belarussian colleagues in connection with what is happening on the world's markets," Putin told reporters after a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko, who also spoke after the meeting of the Russia-Belarus State Council in the Kremlin on Wednesday, pledged that Belarus would behave responsibly with the loan. He said the country would not "eat it away for no special reason."

Belarus will receive the funds in the form of a 10-year intergovernmental loan that will not be extracted from Russia's state budget, said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

Putin underscored that Russia remains Belarus' main investor — with capital investments totaling $5.8 billion — and said that trade was gradually increasing even though this year's bilateral trade figures were "more modest" than last year's.

Russia's loan to Belarus was announced a week after Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, reached a $15 billion bailout agreement for Ukraine's economy. The Ukrainian deal, which followed a decision by Yanukovych to ditch a partnership agreement with the European Union, has fueled worries among some Ukrainians that their country is being drawn closer into Russia's orbit.

Putin also used the Russia-Belarus State Council to propose the establishment of an interregional forum between the two countries that could be inaugurated in February 2014.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more