Growth in bankruptcies in Belarus to enable reduced support for public sector
According to the Supreme Court of Belarus, as of January 1st, 2017, economic courts in Belarus were considering 3094 economic insolvency (bankruptcy) cases, including 106 cases against economically vital state-owned enterprises. During 2016, the number of bankruptcy cases against state-owned enterprises doubled due to reduced state support for the loss-making enterprises. Amid reduced budgetary capacities, bankruptcies of state agricultural and industrial enterprises are likely to increase in number, employment in the economy is likely to shrink, losses in some economic sectors are likely to increase due to the inability to reclaim debt from bankrupt enterprises; in-country migration due to the limited employment opportunities in the single-industry towns is likely to increase. Since unemployment benefits and retraining cost less than the lasting support of chronically loss-making enterprises, some city-forming enterprises are likely to declare bankruptcy and the state is likely to continue to support only the key enterprises for the national 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.