Chinese loans unlikely to become popular in Belarus
Belarusbank will use a loan from China’s State Development Bank to support projects in Belarus. The loan has a five-year grace period for deferred payment. However, due to high interest rate (6% + 6 months Libor rate) only few projects would be implemented. Implementation of the projects will be accompanied by growth in imports from China, due to the 50% Chinese component requirement. In addition, Belarus would try to attract other investors to the ‘Great Stone’ technological part in order to demonstrate favourable investment climate in the country. Meanwhile, Belarusian private sector is likely to apply for untied loans at a higher interest rate, which would not require compulsory imports of Chinese goods and services.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.