Belarusian meat products supply to Russia could increase
On January 24th, African swine fever (ASF) hit Lithuania. This means that a ban may be placed on the supply of pork from Lithuania, and pork supply from all EU countries may be suspended.
EU supplies make up about 60% of pork imports in Russia. If pork supplies from the EU are completely suspended, meat prices will increase by 10%-15% in Russia and the demand for pork meat from Belarus will go up.
And on January 27th, Rosselkhoznadzor (the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) announced that temporarily imposed limitations on the supply of pork products from Mogilev enterprises had been lifted.
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.