Only petrochemicals and tobacco still make money
As of May 2014, 61 enterprises, subordinated to the state, will be required to list BYR 463 billion (EUR 34.0 million) to the National Development Fund. Payments should be made in equal instalments each month until the year-end. More than 80 % of the total amount to be transferred to the Fund will be due by the tobacco factory Neman and Belneftehim companies. This implies, that other economic sectors’ performance is rather poor and that they will not provide the anticipated level of budget revenues in 2014. As well, investment opportunities for these enterprises will be restricted. To patch budget deficit, the government might increase the number of inspections and other check-ups meant to replenish the state budget, and implement tougher sanctions for law violations.
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.