Online guide for journalists writing about Belarus. Find out who's who in business, society or politics, get practical tips and contacts, and read about other journalists' experiences. Got some more questions? Get in touch with us.
With MLRS Polonaise Minsk has more room for manoeuvre

Initially, MLRS Polonaise has been developed in order to replace Soviet missile legacy. As a result, Belarus has a missile system, which is... | 29.08.16 

OverviewFinalistsJudgesRulesArticlesHow to enterBelarus in Focus 2011

Articles

16 Jan

Lukasz Grajewski, Eastbook.eu, July 6, 2012 (Poland)


506

Rebuilding Minsk – Counting in Yuans

The Minsk airport is to be rebuilt – the planned extensions include a new runway, a terminal and a hotel. Costs of the investment will be covered by a loan from China. This is how the Chinese investment expansion in Belarus begins.

The Minsk National Airport, commonly called Minsk-2, was opened in 1982, intercepting the majority of flights from the older airport Minsk-1, built in 1931. Minsk-1 (10 minutes from the capital’s centre) was not big enough and capable of servicing the growing number of flights. Minsk-2 is located 42 kilometres from the capital and operates as an important transfer airport between the EU and Russia, serving more than 1.4 million passengers in 2012 (in comparison, the biggest airport in Warsaw, Poland, served 9.3 million people the same year).

The airport will gain a new runway, a terminal and a hotel. Nasha Niva, a Belarusian portal, revealed plans of extensions made by Belarusian-US investment company “Aleksandrov Group”. The building in a form of two overlapped discs is to be erected by the end of 2012 and the whole project will be financed by a Chinese line of credit – the estimated costs are USD 600 million and all commissions go to Chinese companies and workers.

Thus far we have been observing the Chinese investment expansion taking place mainly in African countries – China gives loans amounting to billions of dollars to poor countries on preferential terms, frequently writing them off after a short time in exchange for access to deposits of energy sources. In addition, the trademark of loans signed by Beijing is hiring Chinese companies to do the job. Therefore, Chinese economy wins a double: gains an access to cheap energy and extends the territory for expansion of Chinese companies.

In 2011, China gave a loan of 1 USD billion to Belarus in the very moment when Minsk could count on a cash injection neither from IMF nor Moscow. Unlike Western institutions focused on financial stability, China does not require any changes in the spheres of human rights or economic reforms.

According to Stratfor, a big number of joint Belarusian-Chinese investments will be launched in the coming years. Thanks to the Chinese line of credit (USD 16 billion) the projects that companies from “the centre of the world” will run in Belarus will include building numerous roads, a luxurious hotel, two heat and power stations, a cement plant and modernization of a railway network.

Originally published: http://eastbook.eu/en/2012/07/material-en/information-material-en/belarus-rebuilding-minsk-counting-in-yuans/



Winners of Belarus in Focus 2011

Recent competition articles