The loan is granted as the allies emphasise logistics and culture
Russia will grant a sizeable ruble loan to Belarus for import substitution projects as Lukashenka continues to meet with Russian regional leaders, expressing complete confidence in the success of the import substitution strategy. Another monument to Alexander Nevsky will be erected in Belarus.
On November 16th, Russia and Belarus finally signed an intergovernmental agreement allocating a loan of RYB 105 billion (over USD 1.7 billion) to Belarus for import-substitution projects. The Belarusian leadership has been anticipating this line of credit for over six months.
At the end of 2021, Belarus requested USD 3.5 BLN from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development to restructure the national debt; however, in February, it became clear that Moscow was only prepared to consider USD 1 BLN.
With the rise in importance of anti-sanctions issues in bilateral relations, Belarus devised around thirty import substitution projects, requiring about USD 2.5 billion investment (in the form of preferential loans). Finally, in June, Lukashenka and Putin agreed on a comprehensive loan of USD 1.5 billion after five months of brinkmanship.
The status of any public figure is reflected in his social circle, so, for Lukashenka, frequent meetings with Russian regional leaders serves to offset his isolation from other heads of state. At a meeting with the governor of the Chelyabinsk region, Alexei Texler, he assured his counterpart that Belarus and Russia would succeed with import substitution projects. Belarusian companies are increasingly converting to using domestic and Russian components and raw materials. He also noted a significant increase in shipments of Belarusian engines to the Chelyabinsk region.
The allies continue to try to develop internal infrastructure. An intergovernmental agreement on unimpeded navigation of inland waterways was announced. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation to commence negotiations with Belarus on the matter.
Work continues on shared cultural and historical initiatives, mainly applied to symbols of real or imaginary military glory (a theme actively de-emphasised in European countries). Russian Ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, announced that a new monument to Alexander Nevsky would soon be erected in Minsk. A memorial to Prince Nevsky (and his family) already exists, erected in Viciebsk in 2016 in the millenium anniversary square. Whether the export of statues of Russian princes to Belarus will become a regular occurrence has yet to be clarified.
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Situation in Belarus