Car production plan for 2018 would either derail or become warehouse stock
According to the government forecast for 2018, industrial production in Belarus should increase by 3.6%, which would be facilitated by an increase in the production of cars to 25 000 units. In September 2017, the new Geely plant is expected to be launched. In January – July 2017, 1,600 cars were produced in Belarus. The car production forecast is unlikely to materialise due to the lack of high demand for such cars on the Russian market (in January – July 2017, only 1300 Geely cars were sold on the Russian market). Even if the Belarusian government envisages the renewal of the public car park in state bodies with Geely cars, the performance of Belshina and the manufacturer of batteries is unlikely to improve, since the share of domestic components is negligible. Due to high competition, Belarus is unlikely to sell 25,000 Geely cars in 2018 on foreign markets, hence, she is likely to revise the production plan or to increase car warehouse stocks.
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.