OREANDA-NEWSThe Russian government has traditionally kept secret financial and export loans issued to other states. Information becomes public only if Russia signs intergovernmental agreements, which are then ratified by the State Duma, if officials talk about such loans, or if the information is disclosed through the borrowing state.

The non-transparency of the state loan program is explained by the fact that, firstly, most of these loans are not purely commercial, but political in nature, and secondly, many loans are provided as part of military-technical cooperation, which is for the most part classified. Moscow, for example, credited Armenia, Venezuela, India, Indonesia precisely for the purpose of procuring Russian weapons.

The Russian media decided to collect all available information about the debts of other countries to Russia. The Ministry of Finance estimated the total debt under Russian state loans as of May 1, 2019 at $ 39.4 billion, of which CIS countries owe $ 15.8 billion. The general figures were disclosed in the June prospectus of Russian sovereign international bonds. More than $ 5 billion of total debt is the restructured debts of countries to the former USSR (Vietnam, India, Iraq, Yemen, Cuba), an analysis of the media showed.

The largest debtor to Russia is Belarus - $ 7.55 billion as of June 1, 2019 (the figure was provided by the Belarusian Ministry of Finance). Minsk's debt has hardly changed compared to the end of 2018, when it amounted to $ 7.52 billion, according to the Bank of Russia. Venezuela is Russia's main debtor outside the post-Soviet space, if we focus on open data. According to official figures from the Russian Ministry of Finance, Venezuela's main debt is $ 3.15 billion and should be paid off in 2027. And it goes back to the loan of 2011, which was intended to finance the supply of Russian arms to Venezuela.