Commitments of developing countries to Russia exceeded $27 billion in 2020

The sovereign debt of developing countries to Russia at the end of 2020 amounted to $27.3 billion, follows from the latest World Bank data (the World Bank; Vedomosti studied them, the analysis used data on total external debt, including short-term debt).

At the end of 2019, developing countries owed Russia $25.2 billion. Thus, the portfolio of interstate loans for 2020 grew by 8%, or by $2.1 billion.

The five largest Russian debtors for 2020 have not changed: Belarus is still in the lead with liabilities of $8.3 billion (+3%, or $200 million). In addition to Belarus, the same Bangladesh, Venezuela ($3.2 billion), India and Vietnam owe Russia the most. Ukraine, with a debt of $600 million, ranks 9th on this list.

Russia is in 5th place among the largest sovereign creditors of developing countries. The first in this ranking are China (the debt to the country at the end of 2020 amounted to $171 billion), Japan ($126 billion), France ($46 billion) and Germany ($43 billion).

The Ministry of Finance of Russia does not disclose information on intergovernmental loans – the borrowing countries, as well as the purposes of loans, are in most cases classified. However, sometimes such deals are announced publicly. According to official data, interstate loans are usually provided to foreign borrowers to purchase Russian products, primarily defense products, or to pay for services for the construction of nuclear power plants (NPPs). The representative of the Ministry of Finance did not respond to a request from Vedomosti.

In April 2020, the G20 announced the launch of the Developing Economies Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to provide temporary liquidity support to low-income countries. The G20 countries have agreed to extend this moratorium until the end of 2021.

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