Belarus may receive USD 1.55 billion from Russia in September
The Russian Government issued a regulation that if a relevant agreement was signed within 15 days of its publication, Belarus would be issued a USD 1.55 billion loan for a 15-year period.
The loan’s interest rate would be floating and depend on the cost of Russia’s government securities on the Russian market. The loan’s repayment would be deferred for five years thus not immediately putting additional burden on Belarus’ budget. Most likely, the share of the Russian ruble in mutual payments between the countries would increase. Belarus would use the loan to repay the bridge loan from VTB Bank and will not affect the size of her international reserves.
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.