Government declares “hunting for intermediaries"
Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting on anti-brokering. The State Control Committee proposed a draft decree, which prohibits the use of mediation schemes in the procurement of goods (works, services) at the own expense of state organizations, as well as joint stock companies with state share over 50%.
In the loose monetary policy and de facto recession at the largest enterprises of the country a new "guilty" for inflation and demand for currency is elected - intermediaries (wholesale and retail trade). And if intervention in the retail business started in 2011 on the eve of New Year celebrations, the 2012 starts with a fight with wholesalers (according to Lukashenko, “The state and the economy are suffering losses due to the fact that a parasitic layer, being in clover on speculations, has formed”).
Thus, it has once again confirmed that Lukashenko does not believe in private and free business; all brokers for him are speculators.
In addition, a new round of fighting with intermediaries emphasizes two more new emerging trends.
Thus, in the conditions of the public sector domination in production because of an unfavorable business climate, private business got concentrated in specific niches, mainly in the services sector, in particular - in wholesale trade. Now, under conditions of high import capacity of the economy, the government wants to supplant private owners of a profitable business. In addition, the desire to "order control" means the de facto collapse of the state in the fight against corruption and counting on a proven power unit of the Government (the State Contol Committee (SCC)). “This issue has become a criminal. First of all, because the mediators - are mostly relatives, children, retainers, friends of individual managers, who buy such goods, whether it is imported or Belarusian”, - said Lukashenko. Thus, under the guise of anti-brokering, begins a new round of a carpet nomenclature struggle, including for rents, declining during the economic crisis (slight return). Another finding of the new trends to enhance the administrative interference into the business climate is the lack of confidence in receiving the new IMF loan and the count on further preferences from Russia.
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.