Clampdown on Russian media to hinder lending to Belarus

Restrictions on operations of Russian media in Belarus will negatively affect lending to the troubled eastern European country, a Kremlin source said on Saturday.

“Belarus has imposed new restrictions on Russian media,” the source said. “This decision will hinder lending to Minsk.”

On Thursday, Belarus signed a 10-year agreement on raising a $3 billion loan from the Russia-led fund Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) to stabilize its economy. Under the agreement, Belarus, which is in the midst of a financial crisis, will get the loan facility in several tranches during three years.

Belarus said it has also secured $1 billion in addition to the EurAsEC loan and will receive the money within a month.

In the first quarter of this year, the Belarusian ruble experienced pressure from a large trade deficit, generous wage increases and loans granted by the government ahead of the December 2010 presidential elections, which spurred strong demand for foreign currency.

MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti)

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