Alexander Lukashenko’s administrative tools to stimulate exports
On 6 March Alexander Lukashenko signed a Decree No 126 to regulate the granting of export credits by banks.
For instance, the document provides for the granting of export credits in Belarusian rubles by banks with the interest rate of two-thirds of the discount rate of the National Bank. It also provides for compensation of losses to banks due to the provision of export credit in the loan’s foreign currency, extension of the waiting period of completion of the foreign trade operations and the payment of insurance indemnity under an insurance contract of export risks secured by the state without permission of the National Bank. In order to reduce the time of issue of export credits, the decree envisages that the compensation of losses to banks from the provision of export credit up to USD 500,000 in equivalent, will be authorized by the Finance Ministry’s and adopted following a procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Belarus. Thus, the planned growth of exports will be achieved via administrative support and concessional lending.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.