Belarus to hand-control inflation
The Trade Ministry has suggested that retailers stopped purchasing products from suppliers, who sharply raised prices. Such a request is due to the anticipated reduction in the discount rate, the requirement to reduce the production costs by 25% and the need to meet the annual inflation plan at 12%. In January-March 2016, consumer prices in Belarus increased by 5.7%. In the near future, the range of goods is likely to decrease, administrative pressure on wholesale traders is likely to increase, profits of importers of goods are likely to decrease and inflation should reduce to 0.5-0.7% per month. The Trade Ministry will not apply sanctions for reduced assortment of goods if retailers refuse to purchase goods that are more expensive.
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.