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Losses from protests in Belarus reach at least $500 mln

Meanwhile, the majority of Belarusian private companies continue their operations

MINSK, August 19. /TASS/. Total losses of Belarus from the ongoing protests against the results of the presidential elections amount to at least $500 mln, Belarusian presidential aide Valery Belsky said in an interview with BelTA news agency on Wednesday.

"Losses from protests are not those 500,000 Belarusian rubles that were spent on restoring flower beds and lawns. The current damage has already amounted to at least $500 mln. The delayed one is estimated in billions. The foundations of the foreign lending system created over the years have been violated, the country's investment attractiveness has suffered, sanctions are being discussed," he said.

Belsky added Belarus would lose 25% of GDP in case of withdrawal from the Union State with Russia. "Imagine the country starts implementing messages worded by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. For example, ‘I believe Belarus does not need the Union State’. The predictable outcome is the loss of positions on the Russian market and the immediate transition to global oil and gas prices. Considering that cooperation with Russia forms over 50% of GDP, approximately half of this amount should be immediately written off from our balance sheet," Belsky said.

Meanwhile, the majority of Belarusian private companies continue their operations, he added. "Employees of state-owned enterprises chose the strike as the form of the political protest. The best ones, having the support by the decision of the head of state," the official said. "The majority of private companies continue working, strengthening positions on new markets that were lost by competitors during the COVID [pandemic] period," Belsky said.

Belarusian presidential elections were held on August 9. According to the final results provided by the Belarusian Central Election Commission on August 14, incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered his main opponent, came in second with 10.12%.

After exit poll results were announced on the evening of August 9, protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other regions of the country, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement. The protests continued over the following days. As a result, several thousand people were detained, dozens of police officers and protesters were injured.