Fuel prices in Belarus to beat those in Russia
Belneftekhim concern has calculated that the optimal fuel price on the domestic market should be the price in the Russian Smolensk region plus 5-10%. In March 2017 alone, fuel prices in Belarus increased five times by BYN 0.01 due to the need to modernise refinery and reduce the oil-refining margin amid a decrease in oil supplies in Q1 2017. Fuel prices are likely to continue to increase until they beat those at petrol stations in the Russian regions bordering Belarus. Belarusian refineries are likely to improve financial health. Belarus is unlikely to sell less fuel on the domestic market due to higher fuel prices, however transport costs at enterprises would increase, leading to a possible hike in the tariffs for road transport in Belarus. Fuel prices in Belarus do not depend on the world prices, if need, the government would agree to a further increase in fuel prices to fill the country's budget.
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.