The fight against unemployment will only continue until the end of 2015
More than 18 thousand jobs will be created in all the regions of Belarus in order to guarantee employment to the population. This will allow to lower negative consequences of mass layoffs in industry and construction sectors in the first half of 2015. Most jobs created will be based on previously discontinued vacancies. After the elections the state will not have funds to support them.
In order to ease social tensions 18063 additional jobs will be created in the second half of 2015. In case the project will be fulfilled there will be an equal number of unemployed registered in social security bodies and a number of vacancies available through such bodies. As to June 1st, 2015 there were 18.8 thousand more unemployed than vacancies.
Negative tendencies on the labor market and the electoral campaign are two main reasons behind the creation of new jobs. According to Belstat, in five months of 2015 the number of hired employees is 254.9 thousand people, and the number of fired staff is 313.1 thousand people. 58.2 thousand employees were fired on net basis. Mainly there were mass layoffs in construction and industry branches. Pensioners were specifically targeted in the process of staff optimization. The level of registered unemployment reached 1%. Problems on the labor market may negatively influence the preferences of the electorate during the election campaign and lower the number of supporters of the incumbent president.
The economy of Belarus is unable to generate the appropriate number of jobs. New investment projects are inexistent. Economic recession makes enterprises shrink their activities. In such conditions the most likely option of fulfilling new requirement is employing the workers on earlier retrenched positions. Big state-owned enterprises will receive financial support from the state which will allow them to expand their capacities. A bigger volume of production will require additional labor resources. Housing and utility sector will employ additional staff for the heating season. The funding for industrial enterprises is limited. This funding will be enough for increasing production until the end of 2015. After the elections there will be no more need to demonstrate the stability of the current socio-economical model, the staff will be fired, and staff optimization will continue.
In such a manner the authorities have retreated to the old tactics of the artificial improvement of the situation in the economy by increasing the wages, pensions and employment before the presidential elections. The financial resources are, nevertheless, limited; a new emission of ruble will be needed, after the electoral campaign newly hired workers will be laid off, and a new correction of the currency exchange rate will be needed in order to overcome the consequences of the artificial stimulation of the economy.
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.