Car production capacity in Belarus unlikely to be utilized in full in 2017
In January 2017, 169 cars were assembled in the Minsk region at facilities with production capacity over 850 units a month. In 2016, 967 cars were sold on the domestic market and 4700 in Russia, taking into account the production volume of more than 10 000 cars. 4000 cars were not sold and placed on dealer lots. In 2017, car production is likely to decrease compared with 2016 due to the lack of growth in sales on the Russian market. The authorities are likely to apply administrative measures to stimulate car sales on the domestic market, for instance, they may prompt procurement orders for domestic passenger cars at the state administration bodies and public enterprises. In addition, Belarus may seek to sell her cars on markets outside the EEU, for instance, in Ukraine, which looks most promising. In 2017, Belarus will launch a small component assembly line, which will increase the production capacity to 60 000 cars, however, taking into account the car market situation, most of the new capacities will not be in demand.
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.