Freezing Russian oil duties may sustain Belarusian budget
The Russian government has decided to freeze export duty on crude oil. The tax manoeuvre in Russia anticipated a reduction in duties from 42% to 36%, which would lead to a rise in oil prices for Belarus. As a result, Belarus’ budget revenues will increase, financial health of the refinery will improve, so as the volume of tolling processing from Russian companies. The price of petroleum products on the domestic market in the absence of the devaluation in 2016 may remain unchanged. Additional resources raised because of the Russian Government’s decision may be used to finance government programmes and social expenditures.
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.