Inflation in Belarus in 2016 will exceed 2015 levels
The Belarusian authorities are planning to keep inflation within 18% in 2016 as the worst case scenario. As forecasted, inflation in 2015 was around 12%, which was possible due to price regulation, exclusion of some items from the list of socially important goods and reduced cross-subsidization of housing services. In 2016, the inflation rate is likely to exceed the forecast of 12%. Wage cuts will curb price hikes due to the unfavourable economic situation. In addition, importers will include currency risks into the price of supplied goods. The state will retain control on the consumer market, and if prices go up, it may apply administrative measures to control prices, which may lead to a shortage of some commodities.
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.