Belarusian authorities discipline banks before denomination
Last week, the Belarusian law enforcement detained first deputy chairman of Belarusbank Gennady Gospodarik at the time of receipt of a bribe. The arrest of the second person in the largest Belarusian state bank took place before the denomination of the national currency. Most likely, the security forces have stepped up control over employees at large state-owned banks in the view of the upcoming denomination. Apparently, the authorities are attempting to take additional measures to step up discipline in the banking sector during the transition period in order to preserve stability on the foreign exchange market.
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.