Industry requires accelerated devaluation in Belarus
Belarus’ First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, who is responsible for industry, said on October 31st that the Belarusian rouble needed to be devalued more quickly.
Since early 2014, the Russian rouble has devalued by more than 30%, which means that Belarusian products have lost their competitiveness on the Russian market. Nevertheless, the National Bank is unlikely to listen to the industrial lobby – it does not plan changes to the currency exchange rate policy, which is tied to the US Dollar and a currencies basket, not to the Russian rouble. In order to help the industry, the National Bank might increase the volume of available loans, the government will restrict wage growth in the economy, and the number of enterprises operating part-time might grow. Devaluation processes in Belarus might accelerate only if the US Dollar weakens against other hard currencies.
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.