Inflation on a short-term break in Belarus
According to the National Statistics Committee, consumer prices in July 2014 rose by only 0.9% since June 2014, the lowest monthly growth in 2014.
Due to the possible increase in demand for dairy and meat products from Russia, as well as the planned increase in transport and utility tariffs, inflation is expected to increase in the coming months. Inflation will only partially be corrected by the seasonal decline in vegetable prices. Prices on imported products may soar due to the additional costs for importers of consumer goods, i.e. when Council of Ministers regulation No 361 takes effect. In addition, the recently enacted restrictions on the share of chain retailers on the regional market will reduce price competition in the regions, thus not constraining price growth on the regional level.
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.