On 9 June a loan agreement was signed with the EurAsEC for $ 3 billion with interest rate of 4.9% per year for 10 years, a grace period of repayment of principal debt is 3 years. The first tranche is expected this week.
The delayed loan decision and its allocation in tranches do not allow for its effective use for the purposes it was requested i.e. to stabilize the currency market and to delay privatization.
The first tranche of the loan will be used as a lever to obtain other loans, given the first tranche will be spent on the GCR.
The National Bank has to carry out accurate interventions at the Foreign Exchange and a part of the loan will be spent on these purposes. However there will be little effect from these interventions and the exchange rate will not stabilize.
It is obvious that the leadership understands the poor effect of the EurAsEC loan, and that is why, immediately after the information about it the authorities spread information about another USD 1 billion to come from another source. In its attempts to bring down the devaluation expectations the government spreads the most incredible rumors (as if it will come from Turkmenistan or Israel), while the only plausible source of new billion is co-owner of Uralkaliy Suleiman Kerimov.
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.