In H1 2014 Belarus’ industry lags behind H1 2013
According to the National Statistics Committee, industrial production growth in H1 2014 amounted to BYR 326,0 trillion, which is 1% less, compared with H1 2013. The negative trend was due to a drop in mechanical engineering and rubber industries’ production.
Only chemical and petrochemical industries have demonstrated some growth, which could also affect the overall industrial production in 2014. Engineering industry is still heavily subsidised by the government and food industry is highly dependent on a stable supply of raw materials. Most industrial enterprises stock their products in warehouses in order to fulfil the projected production indicators. In addition, reorganisation at the largest enterprises might result in qualified staff outflow and reduced number of employed workers.
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.