Russia’s loan has not saved Belarus’ gold reserves
In September 2014, Belarus’ gold reserves slumped by USD 284.9 million to USD 6 billion.
Belarus has received a USD 1.55 billion loan from the Russian government, which she used to repay a previously raised bridge loan from VTB Bank. Belarus’ international reserves are expected to further languish due to negative trends on the Russian market reducing foreign currency earnings of Belarusian exporters. The last tranche from the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund’s loan might be disbursed. The government might offer the population to buy the next issue of state foreign currency bonds, and interest rates on foreign currency deposits might go up. The Belarusian banking system may experience an outflow of Russian investors’ deposits due to an increase in the interest rates on foreign currency deposits in the Russian banks.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.