An incident at the “Belaruskaliy”
An intergovernmental commission Headed by First Vice-Premier Vladimir Semashko was established in Belarus to eliminate the threat of flooding of one of the mining sites at “Belaruskaliy”.
In late June 2011 “Belaruskaliy” suffered from the flooding of the mine pits of the 2nd pit-management by brine contained in the rock. Following the incident the company built a temporary waterproofing bridge and started maintenance works. At the time being the officials reported the brine inflow has declined. On 28 July journalists from the state-owned media were allowed to report from the mine pits to prove that engineers had full control over the situation.
Regardless of the official optimism, independent experts say there was still a possibility of complete flooding of the mine. The incident, the scope and consequences of which are carefully hidden, implies that the market value of the company will go down, as well as interest of potential investors. At the same time, the government seriously expects to sell 20-50% stakes of the company at $ 30 billion. Uncertainty with the emergency situation at the “Belaruskaliy” finally takes off the agenda the issue of selling of its shares at least until the end of 2011.
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.